I forget where or when I first heard of A Plague Tale: Innocence, it was always a game I had stored somewhere in my brain. When I saw that it had finally been released I was very excited. I had spent a few weeks on a Sims 4 binge and was in desperate need for something a little more stimulating.
Set in the mid 1300s, A Plague Tale follows Amicia and her brother Hugo, children from a noble French family. This particular story starts off bright and warm but as the game title suggests, things get really bad, really fast. I knew very little of the actual story going into the game (other than there was rats) so there were plenty surprises for me along the way. Without giving too much away, the story even subverts one of the tropes that is one of my biggest personal annoyances in fiction. It was also nice to have an older sister and younger brother dynamic in a world of grisly action dads and their apocalypse daughters.
You play mostly as Amicia, using her slingshot to distract or take down human foes. I am awful at keeping to stealth where there is an option to take out a room of people. Still, not everything can be handled by sneaking around, and it is in these sections that the kill really weighs heavily on Amicia. I appreciated the way this was handled as it brought a richness to both the narrative and Amicia as a character. Eventually you get the option to craft different ammo for your slingshot which allows you to do things such as melt metal or set fires. You are also not confined to your sling. Along the way you will have to utilize torches, sticks and flammable carts to clear areas of rats.
One thing I really did not expect was the characters that Amicia and Hugo meet on their journey. These characters essentially become party members. This really helps to switch up the gameplay as each person has their own talents. Not only do you get to collaborate with these characters to get through areas, but they all each have their own fully fleshed out stories. This adds even more layers onto the story and keeps it fresh and interesting. Even Amicia’s little brother Hugo has parts to play both with and without her. He very well could have been left as just an object to be protected but he has agency and purpose.
If I had to make one complaint about the game it would be that there were some areas where it was very unclear as to what you had to do. It did not happen very often but it could be quite frustrating. Other than that I was very happy that my brain made note to keep an eye out for the game. It is definitely one for if you want something that’s not too long but still something you can get emotionally invested in. Honourable mention goes to the setting because we definitely need more games set in places like rural France.
Below is one of my favourite moments with Amicia. A queen.
All screenshots and video captured using Xbox One DVR.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is available on PC, PS4 and Xbox One.