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A Plague Tale: Innocence review
by Basilio Guzmán Gómez

A Plague Tale Innocence PC Review (Finished on 09/20/2020)

Pros

+Decent graphics, UI, and overall visual presentation. The game presents accurate polygonal dimensions in terms of characters and the rats, both with a decent amount of graphical fidelity, the levels present good detail of atmosphere, good emulation of effects such as rain, snow, the rat's nest, an exact representation of the day and night cycle, both with their illumination in the day and black level in the night, the fire quality when a torch is lit or when an explosion occurs, the corpses showing their skeleton form or with the remaining of flesh removed, the damages the characters suffered such as the Macula within Hugo's veins, the body damage of Beatrice, the carved and old flesh of Vitalis, the armor details such as the shining metal, the light reflection, the leather quality is very noticeable such as the fur rendering, the hide mesh quality, etc.

The user interface is exceptionally clean and matches the theme of the game as the game uses the Sura font for the menu and the Belleza font for the subtitles, giving a style from the 1300s, 1400s tied to the setting of the game.

+The gameplay is decent. A Plague Tale Innocence is a third-person action-adventure centered in horror and stealth themes. The players make use of the two protagonists, Amicia and Hugo de Rune to traverse through the more than 10 chapters of the game in a linear format. While traversing through levels, Amicia and Hugo are together in a great portion of the game, where the two interact with their environment to resolve the puzzles needed for advancing through each section, in a cooperative fashion. Some sections only let the usage of Amicia, while a minimum portion let you the exclusive use of Hugo.

While Hugo only serves as a second character to solve the puzzles at hand, Amicia on the other hand is equipped with a slingshot which let her throw collected rocks and is able to craft and upgrade, a number of tools such as containers to break to distract the enemy, the ignifer, a blazing shot capable emanating fire, the luminosa, an explosive capable of killing the rats around, the odoris, which triggers a green miasma capable of rerouting the rats to that location thrown, the somnum, a powder capable of causing the enemies to sleep, devorantis, an acid projectile that can melt the metal helmet of some armor enemies, as they are other armor enemies unaffected by this, exstinguis, capable of extinguishing the flames of a torch and after certain chapters finished, Hugo can obtain a power called imperus, which let him control the rats around when tagged with Amicia. The game comes with an auto-save feature in all the important sections of the game considered as checkpoints, alongside the development of a one-hit kill mechanism in which if Amicia gets hit once by the enemy, she will die.

+The port is well optimized and stable. The game did not present any crashes, graphical or sound issues, no slowdowns in-game, when switching applications or under heavy load in both mid-end to high-end computers and also can be played well with a controller or keyboard/mouse combo as the transition between both is seamless. It also presents many options for customization based on the spec of the computer of use such as ambient occlusions, anti-aliasing, bloom, chromatic aberration, contact shadows, depth of field, draw distance, light shafts, resolution scale, screen-space reflections, shadow maps, texture quality, and volumetric lights.

+The sound effects and voice acting were detailed while the OST is a good representation of the era. The sound effects ranging from the sound of the wave of rats, the explosion of the projectiles, the burning sections of the game, the activation of an alchemy mixture, the pouring of the rain to the enemies being hit by a rock, or being caught with the somnus for a sudden sleep, the rats eating anybody close to their range, were crisp and provided high-quality samples in any setup the player consider is their favorite from using headphones or multiple speakers. The voice acting reflected the European accent of the time, with a lively and natural representation on the way they sound and their composition of sentences thanks to the participation of Charlotte McBurney as Amicia, Logan Hannan as Hugo, Edan Hayhurst as Lucas, Tabitha Rubens as Melie, Mark Healy as Nicholas, Stephane Cornicard as Vitalis, Katherine Pageon as Béatrice De Rune and many more. The OST offers a mixture of cinematic scores alongside instrumental songs mimicking the era’s default offering to accomplish a thrilling, atmospheric and touching experience targeted at the best and worst moments of the game.

+The story does leave a good message and is a decent plot. The game tells the story of the two children of the prestigious De Rune family, Amicia and Hugo, living in Aquitaine, a historical southwestern region of France in late 1348 in the middle of two events. France was suffering the invasion from the English Army due to the Hundred Years War, and the second was the sudden appearance of the bubonic plague. Amicia and Hugo were forced to escape their home as the Inquisition, one of the royal militia formed to serve the representative of the Roman Church in the region, Monsignor Vitalis Bénevént, tasked with curing the bubonic plague by any means necessary. After their escapade, the De Rune brothers were able to understand that the reason for the raids of the Inquisition was to capture Hugo De Rune due to the supernatural phenomenon he hosts called The Prima Macula, which is said it can be the catalyst to stop the plague.

The plot let players witness the hardships, the trials of two inexperience and very young individual desperate to understand what is happening in their town, how to survive it and how Amicia is tasked to protect his younger brother Hugo at all cost, which is battling for his life due to the side effect of being the host of the Macula and also to protect him from the Inquisition that initiated a hunt for the boy, showing in the process subtle moments of family bonds, the price of happiness when everything seems to be lost, the meaning of protecting your love ones and what humans need to endure in order to survive.

Neutral

+-The cast of characters do suffer from a mixed selection in terms of representation and evolution in the game, as they are good characters, but also bland or not so good characters:

Amicia De Rune – The game main protagonist and the eldest child of the De Rune family. She is a young girl persecuted by the Inquisition after the religious group killed all the members of his house but his mother Beatrice, and did everything in her power to protect her brother Hugo De Rune from both the bubonic plague and the Incursion.

Arthur – An assassin and Mélie's brother. Arthur was the mastermind behind Amicia, Mélie and Hugo escape from the Inquisition and later he escaped himself, informing the group Beatrice, the matron of the De Rune family, was indeed alive and captive by the Inquisition, as she’s key for the control of The Macula inside Hugo for which he warned the protagonists that they need to continue their escapade from the Inquisition as soon as possible.

Beatrice De Rune – The mother of both Amicia and Hugo. Beatrice was a well-known Magister in the arts of Alchemy. A beautiful and well-mannered woman, Beatrice was the only spared member of the De Rune member after both Amicia and Hugo escape as the Inquisition took her captive so she can provide her alchemy knowledge to further the agenda of The Inquisition.

Hugo De Rune – The game co-protagonist, the youngest child of the De Rune family. He was born with a strange illness, causing him strange headaches and his veins to be greatly noticeable almost like roots in his body. A child with immeasurable love for his mother is persecuted by The Inquisition due to him possess something called The Macula inside his blood, capable of curing the bubonic plague once and for all.

Lucas – The alchemist apprentice of Laurentis, a wise Magister practitioner of Alchemy, is one of the main support characters. A brilliant boy with a gift for alchemy, Lucas is responsible for slowing down the illness in Hugo after he and Amicia found a secret book called the Sanguinis Itinera and was also responsible for creating two of Amicia weapons, the ignifer, a shot capable of initiate fire, and the luminosa, an explosive shot capable of killing rats.

Mélie – A thief and brother of Arthur. Mélie is a young girl responsible for freeing Amicia when she was captured by the Inquisition. Mélie initially was approached by Lucas about the rescue of Amicia with the promises of a reward but later became an invaluable ally to the De Rune protagonists in their fight against Vitalis.

Nicholas – A sub-boss and captain of the Inquisition. Nicholas is a merciless soldier capable of obtaining his objective by any means necessary because he believes Vitalis and the Inquisition are the ones who will be responsible for curing the bubonic plague and it doesn’t matter for him how much blood needs to be spill for them to succeed.

Rodric – A blacksmith and one of the support characters. Rodric's father was killed after he constructed a secret door inside the Cathedral of the Inquisition, leading to where the Sanguinis Itinera is hidden and later was freed by the help of Amicia after he was in pursuit by orders of Vitalis.

Vitalis Bénévent – The main antagonist of the game. Vitalis holds the rank of Monsignor within the Roman Catholic Church and is the head of the Inquisition, the group in charge of eradicating the bubonic plague and for the mass murders of many villages to contain the plague. Vitalis is also the one who orders Nicholas to retrieve Hugo from the De Rune family so he can accomplish his goal of controlling the Macula inside him.

Cons

-Absence of multiple difficulties to choose and no permadeath available. They should have included multiple difficulties so players can tailor the difficulty to suit their playstyle and due to the one-hit-kill nature, a permadeath option would have been a great addition.

-Some animations were fine, but some animations were not correctly implemented. They should have polished all the animations so all of them can be at the same level.

-The boss fights are very one-dimensional in which players can only advance in the fight by doing what the game says without much room of freedom. They should permit more level of freedom so players can be creative in defeating the few bosses the game offers.

-The DLC content called Coats of Arms can be launched with the base game as this content only let the color of the emblem of the family and Amicia/Hugo clothes change color. If a DLC content is included, at least something that expands the story with good value should have been included instead.

-The linearity sometimes limits the way the camera behaves, and it limited the many possibilities to escape the enemies and the usage of the surroundings to the player advantage. While the linearity itself does not kill the game momentum by any means, they should have improved the areas previously mentioned so the game sometimes does not feel heavy or limited at times.

-They really miss an opportunity to offer multiple endings due to the way the events were happening in the game. Multiple endings should have given the game more replay value and more ways to interact with the story.

Other reviews13

Kept coming back to the story
Great game which made good use of its mechanics and the limitations of the characters.

A harrowing, oppressive setting lifted up by the bonds made during a tough journey.

I really enjoyed playing this and the final chapters were so intense I couldn't put it down! The final fight was frustrating though and the culmination a bit... Odd. But that doesn't take away from the enjoyable journey getting there.
«Just one more turn»
«Constantly dying and enjoy it»
A very immersive game, sometimes it's getting boring but the story and the atmosphere kept me play.
«Sit back and relax»
«Underrated»
The game starts off seeming like it will be a serious story about survival and it turns into the attack of Rat Pope. I liked rat pope and rat tornadoes. Plus we got some normal bits. The game looked fantastic. Quite a few really cool scenes, usually with corpses. I will say I think the game goes on for like an hour too long. Gameplay wise this game is very simple and the puzzles really aren’t that entertaining either. The game is all about the story and the cool scenes.

Final Score: B+
A cool game that is not spectacular but has a good gimmick and a good story. I liked gameplay mechanics and its performance for its graphics. I look forward for this developer to bring out more games!
«Sit back and relax»
Incredible music, lighting, voice acting, writing, and a near game ruining ending that is just so incredibly bad from both a gameplay and story perspective. But really, it's just a sour 45 minutes at the end that doesn't undo the incredible work done throughout the game before that.
Going in with no expectations, A Plague Tale tells an engaging story with beautifully grotesque visuals and a talented crew of voice actors. The gameplay is hit or miss, and sometimes doesn't lend itself to the story the game is trying to tell. The crafting mechanics layered on top only served to distract me from the story and get me out of character to look for materials. Sometimes the scarcity made things more intense, but the game always provides you with the materials you need to get through any part of the game.

Keep expectations low and just enjoy the story. Ignore the crafting as much as possible, and take comfort knowing this isn't a branching story. Get immersed, get into character, and enjoy the ride.
Stealth combat and swarms of rats make the perfect marriage in this game that has an excellent story to tell. Not over staying it’s welcome, I cannot praise this game enough.
5/5
«Liked before it became a hit»
Great narrative with focus on stealth
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a story and character driven stealth game that holds its tension well over its 17 dark and hellish chapters. In a world filled with flesh eating rats and guards who are hunting down your estranged brother Hugo, stealth is very much the key to surviving - one hit and you’re done. One thing that really took me by surprise was how Amicia (you) evolves through the game, the first time she kills someone (as always, in self defence) she damn near has a breakdown and it doesn’t get any easier for her. The world is a horribly dark place where you find yourself literally having to hold your little brothers hand and walk atop hundreds of dead bodies and slaughtered farm animals. The gameplay is incredibly crafted, sitting somewhere between The Last Of Us and Resident Evil 4. All you have is a sling that hurls rocks and eventually some alchemy based alternatives to help you along so every bit of conflict feels close, tense and will likely cause palpitations - Enjoy!
Overall 9.4 / 10

Gameplay 9 / 10
Story 10 / 10
Visuals 10 / 10
Length 9.5 / 10
Enjoyment 8.5 / 10