For a while now, since I first saw the concept art for it, I’ve been really hyped for A Plague Tale: Innocence. I have to give a thousand thanks to Asobo Studio and Focus Home Interactive for giving me an opportunity for seeing if the hype I’ve had was worth the wait. I’m happy to say, this is possibly the best game I have played so far as a Game Reviewer here at Horror Fuel!
A Plague Tale: Innocence Follows Amicia De Rune, whose world was flipped upside down one fateful day when Inquisition forces led by Lord Nickolas murder her parents. Before escaping, Amicia is given the task to look after her little brother Hugo, who has been kept indoors since his birth due to an infliction that made their mother, an alchemist, his full-time caregiver which has led to a tense relationship between Amicia and her mother and resentment towards Hugo.
The siblings are forced to bond since they’re the only family they have left, and this is Hugo’s first time out in the world but at the worst possible moment in history as the Black Plague is sweeping through France and hoards of vicious rats are literally erupting from the ground!
Now onto the game itself, it’s a literal work of art. The overall look of the scenery, the sky, buildings off in the distance were all done to resemble the works of Claude Lorrain. The lighting of the game was inspired by the works of Vermeer, and Brueghel, it was not specified if it was Pieter Brueghel the Elder or one of his two sons, but given the works I’ve seen, I’m guessing they mean the works of the eldest son. Either way, it’s like being inside a Baroque period painting!
Overall gameplay is fun thanks to non-complicated controls. There’s a crafting mechanic that allows you to update Amicia’s gear to allow her to carry more items, make special ammunition, and to update her trusty slingshot.
The animation and graphics are brilliant, and the rats, my lord the rats… the best way I can describe how the animation works with the rodent hoard is…liquid. The flow of the rats and how they interact with the environment in the game is stellar! The fact that there are thousands on the screen at one time and you don’t lose frames or lag is amazing. The rats are indeed the stars of this game as they either help you take out enemies, or cause you some trouble, either way, they add the right amount of tension to the story.
The soundtrack by Olivier Deriviere fits the game and its atmosphere perfectly much like most of his other works in past games but this time it shows how far he’s come from when I first heard his music 2008 for the game Obscure: The Aftermath (FYI soundtrack was good, the game was not.).
The characters are well developed and you actually feel for them, especially Hugo. A lot of what you see in the game is horrible but imagine seeing these horrors as a child and trying to understand it. That’s what makes this story so tragic and beautiful is as part of the game’s title says, innocence, Hugo represents the innocence that’s caught up in the terror that’s unfolding around him but at times still finds a way to be a child as Amicia is slowly losing her innocence to protect him.
Overall, this game is possibly going to be the best in 2019. The overall experience makes you feel for the characters, not want to put your controller down, and your skin crawl as the rats scurry around your screen. I think I have to break my scale as this game is well beyond 5 stars!
A Plague Tale: Innocence will hit shelves on May 14th for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows.