A Plague Tale: Innocence
A screen from Asobo Studio's A Plague Tale: Innocence. Courtesy of Asobo Studios.

Released in May 2019, and without making a lot of buzzes, this Asobo Studio’s project is a complete and more than interesting journey, with convincing graphics and great storytelling.

The story begins with the teenager, Amicia, daughter of a noble family from the 12th Century in France, while enjoying a day out with her father and her pet dog “Lion”. These first few playable minutes are the tutorial that quickly turns from a happy trip to pick apples to a terrifying moment of clarity of what’s happening in Europe with the Great Plague.
After a while, dear “Lion” is found, barely alive with only the top half of his body intact.
It’s just after a dark entity swallows Lion through a hole near him that father and daughter run back home, is here where we meet our little brother, Hugo. He carries a mysterious blood disease and the boy has been living his short life under her mom’s police like custody. Our mother, Beatrice is an alchemist that to her merit has only tried to cure him for the longest time.

The story starts to unravel as the estate we live in is raided by the inquisitors from England, the father is seen killed by the raiders, and Amicia is ordered to protect young Hugo at all cost, first, they manage to escape through the rooms of their home as servants are being interrogated and killed by the newcomers, all of them looking for Hugo.
Beatrice comes to our rescue and helps us leave the place with Hugo, just after evading our prosecutors who come from every possible direction. Hiding and stealth walking through high grass, throwing either stone to armours or pottery around to distract the guards that seem to be of an infinite number.

When we finally manage to scape, Beatrice seems to do the ultimate sacrifice to give us time to escape, although her efforts aren’t quite enough as we have to run from multiple enemies in an intense sprint to reach the river.

As we leave the water, we found ourselves in a nearby town, that at first seems empty, but we later realize it was destroyed by the rats that caused the Black Death. The remaining survivors attack you as they know of your presence, thinking you’re responsible for the destruction. Basically, it’s like you are in a top player in a football game and you are holding the ball and have to run from the opposition.

The game was also reviewed by Gamespot, commenting that “… With survival being the thematic core of the game, Innocence is, at its crux, a series of survival puzzles; you’ll need to avoid the ravenous rat colonies, as well as evade the knights of the Inquisition…”

The games have its flaws with hilariously and illogical lines and actions from the NPC knights and guards, that react to the killing and devouring of their companion just turning around Gamespot also commented that ”… For a game whose storytelling relies heavily on its atmosphere of dread and fear, such illogical instances butcher the mood…”

The Guardian also reviewed the game claims, stating that “… This kind of plodding design is wearied and overfamiliar, but made somehow palatable by the game’s beguiling atmospherics (the sunsets! the haybales!), the convincing voice acting and a medieval context that precludes the use of gadgets that usually fussy up this kind of stealth play…”

Earlier this year Gamespot talked about the development of the story and explained a fundamental part of it, the innocence, “… As the name of the game implies, the core theme of A Plague Tale is innocence, and the game’s young heroes will face the loss of theirs as they overcome numerous hardships, such as the act of needing to kill other people…”

The travel and the plot twist that we did not want to explain more into detail to let you enjoy the game, is just incredible, details as the NPC’s behaviour and illogical actions should be the major concern for the developers in the future. To be honest, the game it’s highly recommended. You wouldn’t think that walking your dog would take you that far.

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