Video games, more than ever, serve to tell good stories. And, over time, evolution in games allows great games that focus on storytelling to come out. So, just like in the past, games from Lucas Arts brought very interesting stories, today we have a good news, developed by Asobo Studio.
THE Plague Tale: Innocence brings the story of Amicia and Hugo. Two brothers of the nobility of the Kingdom of France, in the middle of the Middle Ages. The game lives the time of Hundred Years War, and the era of Black Plague, which justifies, and a lot, the plot elements in the game. The brothers need, through the use of magic, intelligence and caution, to go through countless challenges.
Basically, the game, published by Focus Interactive, is a puzzle game in a linear system. But, it has many elements that have everything to please, in full, fans of a game with a good story. Besides offering interesting challenges for those who like to fry their brains with puzzles.
The beginning of a great journey
in control of Amicia, and, from time to time, from Hugo, the journey of The Plague Tale: Innocence, brings a different gameplay proposal. Despite borrowing the journey structure of the current God of War, with scenarios to be explored, but with linear advancement, we have control over a teenager, and a child.
That means one thing: no direct confrontation with enemies. Amicia need cunning and intelligence to cross the obstacles. At the beginning of the game, she only has a sling, and the possibility of using stones to hit enemies. As the game goes by, she learns some spells, which prove to be useful for various situations.
Options roulette increases, and with it, the possibilities. In the second half of the game, for example, it is already possible to choose a second alternative to cross a space surrounded by enemies, for example. Amicia you can acquire items around the scene, useful to build special stones with spells, or even upgrade your equipment.
All, of course, within the character’s limitations. These limitations give a good difference in gameplay. We are already more than used to strong characters, who do the job and break everything and everyone. In The Plague Tale: Innocence, you will have, practically, only one chance to surprise. Be discovered, and despite an opportunity to flee and hide, death is almost certain.
An important element, in plot and gameplay, are the rats. Responsible for bringing chaos to the places, it is necessary, little by little, learn to deal with them, in order to survive in the game. Basically, rats attack in groups, and devour what they see in front of them. But they don’t come close to the light. Thus, you will have to use fire, the light source of the time, in order to manipulate the environment to your advantage.
To surprise an enemy, extinguish the torch and turn it into rat food. To avoid being the next meal, find a way to turn on as much light as possible. Eventually, as well as the sling of Amicia, the rats and your way of dealing with them evolve, making the game interesting.
Despite having the same gameplay throughout its duration, the game is careful not to be repetitive. The evolution of characters and gameplay during the journey guarantees, within the possibilities of the game’s proposal, a certain variety. It’s not the same freedom as other games available today, but it shows that there was an interest in not keeping the player stuck in a repetitive and boring journey.
There are also extras to be explored in the scenarios, such as gifts for friends, extra locations to expand the game’s story context, and special items. And, for those who want an even bigger challenge, the game allows you to play it without any indication, leaving you practically alone to think about solutions to problems.
you will not be alone
During the game, friends will appear, each with their unique abilities. Unlocking doors, taking down specific enemies and creating new spells are some of the things friends can offer you. Which is very useful, since one of the game’s biggest problems is, in fact, the direct confrontation.
Like Amicia is a teenager, and Hugo As a child, the game obviously didn’t take combat elements into the gameplay. But, unfortunately, in the few moments when the confrontation is straightforward, the game sins terribly. Confrontation is problematic, limited (in the bad way this time), and frustrating. As the fight requires a certain urgency in thinking, the gameplay doesn’t keep up with this pace.
You need to create the elemental stones, besides getting more for the scenery. Perhaps a QTE would be more welcome around here. Since these clashes are very few within the entire game, they would add a more dramatic tone to the story. But, not to be unfair, the final showdown is excellent! With the limitations and all, the impression we have is that the team worked hard for the final confrontation, which, in fact, is superior to all the others.
Below we have a very intense moment of gameplay, a chase that takes place in a village beyond hostile. There are no heavy spoilers for the plot, but depending on your spoiler sensitivity, don’t watch it if you think it’s better like this:
Another problem also arises in relation to control points. As this is a puzzle game, the “trial and error” is constant here. And once you fail, you are back at the control point. The problem is that, sometimes, the game gives you back before any evolution in your sling, which will require you to do the whole process again, before going to the new attempt.
A beautiful visit to the Kingdom of France
The Plague Tale: Innocence, is also an invitation to enjoy beautiful surroundings. Castles, forests, woods, villages, battlefields and everything else that involves the Middle Ages are represented in a very positive way. It is not rare that you will stop to enjoy the view. But, of course, at a much slower pace, since the game context takes you closer to the drama.
Amicia and Hugo they need to unite, alone in the world, in an environment where the two are constantly pursued by the Inquisition. The story is not the tenth wonder in plots. And you’ll have a lot of “knew this would happen” moments. But the focus is not on the overall story, but on the evolution of the protagonists.
Situations that separate and unite them eventually happen. The evolution of the small Hugo is very interesting to see, while Amicia he goes, by the obligation of fate, maturing and getting stronger, always thinking about protecting his little brother. There is a strong dose of emotion as the journey unfolds. Always represented by Amicia leading his little brother hand in hand across the scene. Or even carrying him on his shoulders when he feels tired.
Friends also add positively to the journey. As they are teenagers, the content is different, from a journey we are used to, with Lara Croft, Kratos, Solid Snake or any other character capable of combat. Therefore, there are feelings that flourish and are handled with caution, a feeling of impotence. And an innocent determination, very useful in encouraging them to move forward.
A great choice in puzzles and stories
For those who like a game with good puzzles, and also a good story, you will find both elements in The Plague Tale: Innocence. The game is not perfect, and has a few problems, which irritate at times. But the right word for the game is: honesty. Everything the game proposes is well executed.
the story is interesting, the characters are well built, the scenarios are beautiful and the puzzles are balanced. They are not impossible to complete, but they are not overly easy. Adding to all this, beautiful scenery make up the package. Walking through abandoned castles, fairytale woods, or even a battlefield full of scattered dead, are unique experiences.
The Plague Tale: Innocence presents itself as a pleasant surprise in 2019. It arrives without the same hype of other productions, but is guaranteed to win over players who like this genre. Which, through forums, conversations and discussions, will eventually try out the game.
The Plague Tale: Innocence arrives tomorrow (14) with versions for Playstation 4, Xbox one, and PRAÇA.