A Plague Tale takes you on a heart-melting journey of two orphans through a world filled with deadly rats
There aren’t too many games out there that lean on the backdrop of the black plague, but after playing A Plague Tale: Innocence, we have to ask why. The way the developers demonise the rats, reminds us of how Alfred Hitchcock portrayed the ravens and seagulls in The Birds. It takes something as inconsequential as rats and turns them into a fearful horde.
Set in 14th century France, the game follows the journey of Amicia and her brother Hugo, as they hide from villains and avoid being eaten by rats. The story starts with Amicia losing her dog in the most gruesome way possible and then later losing her parents to the Inquisition on the same day. Their true target is Amicia’s brother Hugo and she is tasked with keeping him safe through the various chapters of the game.
Amicia and Hugo don’t share a great relationship, but by the end of the game, this changes and it is an endearing experience. We must, however, warn you that Hugo is difficult to love, because he is such a brat.Graphically, the game looks good, considering it is not a big studio title. The animation and the fluidity of the rats is brilliant; the game also plays with light well and the result is a constant fear of the dark, as the rats only attack then. There is also an overwhelming feeling of loneliness, because there are very few people in the world. But, this adds to the experience.
While the story progresses and develops well, the actual gameplay and puzzles are run-of-the-mill, which is disappointing. The game is linear and it almost feels like it is just trying to funnel you into the next scenario. The fighting, when you cannot avoid it, is done with a slingshot, which is later enchanted with alchemy for more variety. Hugo can be a pain here — if you leave him for too long, he screams and attracts the attention of the soldiers. Considering the game is all about stealth and hiding, it can be annoying. The combat at most times has to be well thought out because Amicia dies as soon as she is touched. This means that for most of the game, your best chance to finish the chapter is to avoid getting into combat situations.
The rats in the game are scary, but they fear light, so this can be used to your advantage. While most of the bosses in the game are passable, the final boss battle is on another level. The story also tapers off well, leaving you satisfied with the experience after over 17 hours of gameplay. There is a real focus on the story and the journey. We do wish the gameplay was less linear, but the fact that they deliver on the final boss, makes the game a worthwhile investment. If you are a fan of a great story, this is something you must definitely consider buying.
A plague tale: innocence
Developer: Asobo Studio
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Platform: PC, PS4, XBOX
Price: PC: Rs 1,599; PS4: Rs 2,999; XBOX: Rs 2,750
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