A Plague Tale: Innocence
Perhaps in ill taste now that we are going through an epidemic currently but A plague Tale: Innocence takes the reality that we are living. Then doubles down on the horror, the stakes, the violence and the emotional toll on the player to give an experience that tugs on the heartstrings and gives a gruelling experience that comes with a plague-ridden environment.
This game plays like over the shoulder 3rd person RPG games such as Horizon Zero Dawn or The Last of Us. Though has a plotline that takes inspiration from games like Dishonored or Pathologic. These games focus on navigating a plague-ridden environment as well, working with others to survive and get the best outcome possible in a dire situation, which is exactly what A Plague Tale: Innocence is all about.
Gritty Yet Beautiful
The first thing that will grab you immediately when inhabiting this troubled world is the amazing art style. The lighting, textures, character models and environments are all hyper-realistic, really allowing for a great deal of immersion for the player. The game also uses set pieces and over the top crowd AI with the multitude of rats present in this game to really highlight to peril that the world is facing. In many cases this is wonderful. Though if being critical, the animations aren’t as sharp as the rest of the presentation. Some movement is jarring and takes the player out of the experience. Overall, however, it’s the world-building and art style that carry this title.
High Stakes, Poor Execution
In terms of story, the game does a great job of building tension, suspense and driving the narrative forward. It’s partly the great writing and partly due to the serious nature of the subject matter. Though when the player is given control, the scenes can range from competent to lacklustre on a whim. It lacks consistency.
The game asks you to favour stealth and only fight when absolutely necessary. Making the player feel vulnerable throughout the gameplay. This works well for the setting though the issue is rather easy and forgiving stealth mechanics.
Puzzles also offer the same flaw. In principle, the concept for these puzzles are great. The rats are repelled by light and over interesting traversal and enemy dispatching opportunities. However, these rarely feel challenging throughout.
Stunning but Disjointed
The game also tries to wedge in things that go against the overall feel of the title. In a game that has consistently favoured stealth and puzzle mechanics. The boss battles that occur throughout with a closed in camera and one to one combat are completely juxtaposing to the rest of the title. This disjointed approach also seeps into the level design. Resources are plentiful and the game often makes solutions routine and as clear as day. Holding the players had throughout and really taking away from the amazing work of the artists who make the world look so dangerous.
A missed opportunity
This game had all the makings of a truly generation-defining title. Though sadly, this title fails to hit the lofty heights that it aims to. The art direction and story are what make this game worth finishing. The dialogue and world design are superb. The world is a bleak and desolate one that constantly keeps the player feeling on edge.
It’s a shame then that the gameplay is so inconsistent, forgiving on the player and asks little in terms of independent thinking from the player. The core mechanics and concepts are outstanding, it’s simply the execution that is lacking in this case. This coupled with the strange inclusion of boss battles as well drags this game from a great game to a simple average one. We urge you to explore this world and take in the story. Though don’t expect much of a challenge as you do so.
- Outstanding world design
- Concepts are interesting
- Great story and dialogue
- Gameplay far too forgiving
- Boss battles wedged in awkwardly
- Puzzles and stealth underwhelming