A Plague Tale: Innocence

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A Plague Tale: Innocence
A Plague Tale cover art.jpg
Developer(s)Asobo Studio
Publisher(s)Focus Home Interactive
Director(s)
  • David Dedeine
  • Kevin Choteau
Producer(s)
  • Brice Davin
  • Jamal Rguigui
Designer(s)Kevin Choteau
Programmer(s)Alain Guyet
Artist(s)Olivier Ponsonnet
Writer(s)Sébastien Renard
Composer(s)Olivier Deriviere
Platform(s)
ReleaseMay 14, 2019
Genre(s)Action-adventure, stealth
Mode(s)Single-player

A Plague Tale: Innocence is an action-adventure stealth game developed by Asobo Studio and published by Focus Home Interactive. It was released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in May 2019, and received generally positive reviews from critics.

Gameplay[edit]

In the game, the player assumes control of Amicia from a third-person perspective. For the majority of the game, combat is avoided and instead, players need to utilize stealth to avoid hostile encounters. Amicia is equipped with a sling which can throw rocks to break drawbridge chains or stun guards long enough for the rats to ambush them, or even kill them with a headshot.[1] The game is a series of survival puzzles, mostly consisting of methods to scare away or distract the hordes of hungry rats in order to gain access to new areas, or direct them towards murderous knights. The main method of scaring rats off is fire, as rats will seldom enter within a radius of burning torches and braziers. She can also craft special ammunition and supplies, which include fire-starting sulfur stones that ignite braziers, stink bombs that attract rats, or fire suppressants to extinguish torches carried by enemies.[2] The younger brother can be directed towards specific tasks when Amicia is busy. Later in the game the player can assume control of the younger brother, who cannot craft items but is able to control rats and sneak through small spaces. All these abilities are combined when the siblings unite in the late game.

Plot[edit]

Amicia de Rune is a young girl of noble descent who lives with her family in rural Aquitaine, which has been invaded by the English army. Hugo has been ill since birth, and their mother Beatrice, an alchemist, has locked him away in the family estate for years looking for a way to cure him. While hunting with her father Robert in the forest, Amicia encounters signs of a blight, and her dog Lion is gruesomely consumed by an unseen entity. They hurry back to the de Rune estate, but troops from the Inquisition led by Lord Nicholas arrive and raid the estate in search of Hugo, executing Robert and several servants. Beatrice instructs Amicia to take Hugo to his doctor Laurentius before she is apparently killed.

Amicia and Hugo flee through a nearby village, where they learn that hordes of ravenous rats have been spreading plague and devouring anything they come across. Evading hostile villagers and soldiers, Amicia and Hugo reach Laurentius' farm, but he is bedridden by the plague. Laurentius implores Amicia to find a cure for Hugo's ailment. When Laurentius's house catches fire, Amicia and Hugo flee with his apprentice Lucas to seek the hidden Château d'Ombrage.

As they evade the Inquisition, the rats, and invading English soldiers, Lucas explains that Hugo's blood carries a supernatural power called the Prima Macula, which has lain dormant within certain noble bloodlines since the Justinian Plague. Beatrice and Laurentius had been trying to find a cure, while the Grand Inquisitor Vitalis Benevent covets its power. They are assisted by the sibling thieves Melie and Arthur, but Arthur is captured before the remainder make it to the Château d’Ombrage.

Lucas reveals that he needs a forbidden book called the Sanguinis Itinera to complete the elixir that may cure the Macula. Amicia infiltrates the nearby university to retrieve the Sanguinis Itinera while Melie heads off to rescue Arthur. Amicia recovers the book and rescues a young blacksmith named Rodric, who helps her escape. They reunite at the castle with Melie and Arthur, who reveals that he witnessed Beatrice in the Inquisition's custody. Amicia insists they not tell Hugo, who has overheard the conversation. When Hugo's condition deteriorates, Amicia and Lucas return to the De Rune estate, looking for answers in Beatrice's research. They complete the elixir and administer it to Hugo, relieving his symptoms. However, Hugo then runs away and turns himself over to the Inquisition to find Beatrice, leaving Amicia riddled with guilt.

Vitalis injects himself with Hugo's blood so that he too can possess the power of the Macula. Hugo manages to escape custody and finds Beatrice, who reveals that the Macula gives him the power to control the rats. Unfortunately, Beatrice and Hugo are recaptured, and Vitalis threatens Beatrice's life in an attempt to force Hugo's powers to fully awaken.

A month later, the Château d’Ombrage is suddenly attacked by a swarm of rats led by Lord Nicholas and Hugo, who is embittered against Amicia. Nicholas kills Arthur and orders Hugo to kill Amicia, but she reconciles with Hugo and they work together to overwhelm Nicholas with the rats before he falls through the floor, leaving his fate unknown. The children decide that with the power of the rats they can take the fight to the Inquisition.

The children head for the cathedral where the Inquisition has set up its headquarters. Rodric sacrifices himself to allow the others to reach the cathedral where Vitalis is waiting, having bred thousands of rats that answer only to him. Vitalis and Hugo use their Macula powers to send hordes of rats at each other until Amicia is able to kill Vitalis. Three days later, both the rats and the plague have disappeared, and life begins to return to normal, although there is a lingering fear towards Hugo in the village. Melie parts ways with the group, and Amicia, Hugo, Lucas, and an ailing Beatrice head towards the harbor to seek a new life.

Development[edit]

The game's development was led by Asobo Studio. It was their first original title since the team created the racing game Fuel in 2008, and the company wanted to create a narrative-driven experience inspired by The Last of Us and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The main theme of the game was "family" and how the characters' relationships were challenged during adverse circumstances.[3] Another important theme is "innocence".[4] Hugo, in particular, will observe the player character's behaviors and slowly transform from an innocent boy to a ruthless individual.[5] Child actors Charlotte McBurney and Logan Hannan provided their voice for Amicia and Hugo respectively. The two also participated in the writing process by suggesting changes to dialogue and alternative takes.[6] Up to 5,000 rats can appear on-screen simultaneously. To ensure the game can handle rendering so many enemies without sacrificing performance, the team introduced four layers of details when rendering the rats, in which rats furthest away from the player character exist as a "background, non-animated mesh", whereas the rats closest to the player are animated in detail.[7]

Publisher Focus Home Interactive first announced the game in January 2017 as The Plague.[8] A first look game trailer appeared at E3 2017.[9] The game was released worldwide for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on May 14, 2019.[10]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
MetacriticPC: 82/100[11]
PS4: 81/100[12]
XONE: 81/100[13]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid8/10[17]
Game Revolution3.5/5 stars[15]
GameSpot8/10[16]
GamesRadar+3.5/5 stars[18]
IGN7/10[14]
Jeuxvideo.com16/20[19]
PCGamesN8/10[20]
Screen Rant5/5 stars[21]
Windows Central4.5/5 stars[22]

According to review aggregator Metacritic, the game received "generally favorable reviews" from critics.[11][12] It was the ninth best-selling retail game in the UK in its week of release.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Delahunty-Light, Zoe (March 22, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence is here to make you realise how much we've become used to death in video games". GamesRadar. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  2. ^ Favis, Elise (April 28, 2019). "Watch Eight Minutes Of New Gameplay From A Plague Tale: Innocence". Game Informer. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Valdes, Giancarlo (June 19, 2018). "How 'A Plague Tale: Innocence' Makes Diseased Rats So Terrifying". Variety. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  4. ^ Ramée, Jordan (January 25, 2019). "Survive The Black Death In A Plague Tale: Innocence, Coming This May". GameSpot. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Delahunty-Light, Zoe (February 16, 2018). "A Plague Tale: Innocence will have up to 5,000 man-eating rats simultaneously on screen... but you're the real monster here". GamesRadar. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  6. ^ Chalk, Andy (January 25, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence video tells a tale of orphans in the time of the Black Death". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  7. ^ Belzanne, Auerlie (May 9, 2019). "Asobo Studio details the tech behind getting thousands of vermin on screen simultaneously". PlayStation Blog. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  8. ^ Foxell, Sam (January 7, 2017). "Focus Home Interactive and Asobo Studios collaborate on new adventure game, The Plague". PCGamesN. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  9. ^ O'Connor, Alice (2018-08-22). "A Plague Tale: Innocence does indeed look like that one game with the brilliant rats". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2019-04-10.
  10. ^ Reiner, Andrew (January 24, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence Launches This May". Game Informer. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  11. ^ a b "A Plague Tale: Innocence for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "A Plague Tale: Innocence for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  13. ^ "A Plague Tale: Innocence for Xbox One Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  14. ^ Petite, Steven (May 13, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  15. ^ Agnew, Callum (May 14, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence Review | Oh, cruel world!". Game Revolution. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  16. ^ Khee Hoon Chan (May 13, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence Review - A Sea Of Putrid Rats". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Moyse, Chris (May 20, 2019). "Review: A Plague Tale - Innocence". Destructoid. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  18. ^ Zoe Delahunty-Light (May 13, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence review: "There are glimmers of something special"". GamesRadar+. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  19. ^ Carnbee (May 14, 2019). "Test de A Plague Tale : Innocence par jeuxvideo.com". Jeuxvideo.com. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  20. ^ Chris J Capel (May 14, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence review – you'll want to catch this one". PCGamesN. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  21. ^ Burks, Robin (May 13, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence Review - Heart Pounding and Emotional". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  22. ^ Lowry, Brendan (May 13, 2019). "A Plague Tale: Innocence PC review: A gripping stealth title that will keep you glued to your seat". Windows Central. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  23. ^ Dring, Christopher (May 20, 2019). "UK Charts: Rage 2 is No.1 but fails to match original". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved May 20, 2019.

External links[edit]