A Plague Tale: Innocence
By Francisco Martinez
A Plague Tale: Innocence, a unique take on the events of the Bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death, which ravaged Europe in the 1300s. This game follows the story of Amicia and her little brother Hugo as they travel across a war-torn Europe being invaded by a religious sect resembling the Spanish Inquisition (of a sort) seeking to take control of the outbreak and use it for their own gain.
The game opens with Amicia, and her father going on a hunt where he helps train her on using her sling, this the first taste of the game’s main shooting/fighting mechanic. The fighting mechanic is slow yet effective for how the game plays. If you’re looking for a game which allows you to jump into action this is not for you. I do not believe the game will win awards for implementing the sling mechanic and it’s not going to be a part of the game you’re going to look forward to whenever you do have to sling down a few enemies, but it’s not a major drawback. It’s clear that they did not intend for people to go “sling-ho” and try to beat back the inquisition or hordes of rats, not a skill to rely heavily on as the sling is slow and Amicia is unable to wield standard weapons, your objective will always be to be very sneaky. If that is your thing than this game is for you.
The game is extremely linear with very little options to resolve puzzles or ability to work against the games pre-designed scenarios which leads you to feel like you’re watching the game more than playing it. It quickly went from what felt like the beginnings of an action RPG to a Telltale rendition of an action game.
Unfortunately your choices seemed to have no impact on the actual story, whether it’s sparing an enemy’s life or spending quality time with Hugo to show him around, mind you there's not much to see in a country ravaged by the plague, covered in rats, and dead bodies… this segues into the positives of the game.
While the gameplay felt lackluster the art, design, and story really kept me coming back for more. Kudos to the voice actors, while at the beginning I expected to hate Hugo and Amicia, I found myself wanting to see them escape, help their friends, and avenge their family through what seemed like endless perils.
The cliffhangers at the end of each chapter lead me to keep playing while saying to myself, “ another 15 minutes more” until I stayed up way later into the night than I had intended. Needless to say, I got little work done for that week while guiding the duo against the Spanish Inquisition and hordes of super rats.
The game finds a way to pull you in with an enjoyable cast and good storytelling in order to find the answers to what is the source of the plague, why is Hugo ill, and for what are they being hunted? While it’s not a must buy, I would suggest picking this up if you can find it at a deal.
Overall, this game gets a 7/10 for it’s well-paced storytelling and intriguing artistic design.