A Plague Tale: Innocence a Must Play Rat Fest

After finishing up with the Outer Wilds Echoes of the Eye DLC, I jumped in to finally play a Plague Tale: Innocence. It’s a game that’s been on my list for awhile, especially since it’s on Game Pass. The unique gameplay and story earned the game great reviews.

I finally decided to start it after I weighed the estimated game length versus those great reviews. That’s really how I decide what to play next now. I try to find shorter games with greater reviews. I’ll eventually play longer games, but the length of this game is great.

Great Story of Love and Loss

A Plague Tale Innocence Amicia de Rune and her brother Hugo meet the Apprentice
Amicia and Hugo Meet the Apprentice

The game takes place in 14th Century France during the 100 years war. Don’t remember what that is? Neither do I. What I do know is the game revolves around the nasty black plague rats and the inquisition. It’s an older game, but the world looks great, especially with the light of fires and torches.

Things in a Plague Tale: Innocence start out quiet enough for the player character, Amicia de Rune. It starts with a nice stroll through the woods with her father. No surprise it did not take long before she was surrounded by death, rabid plague rats and inquisitors.

The good news is she was not alone. Her brother Hugo was along for the adventure, but he was a big pain at times and cute at others. He’s a typical kid running and playing where he shouldn’t, whining at any chance. I’m not ashamed to admit I let the rats eat Hugo a few times after his annoying outbursts. By the end, he really grew on me and ended up even more powerful than Amicia.

I met many interesting characters along the way like thieves, a blacksmith’s assistant, rogues and a creepy little alchemist apprentice. Without really spoiling much, not everyone survives to the end, but they all leave their mark along the way.

A Plague Tale: Innocence starts off innocent enough, but innocence is exactly what is lost by the end of the game. Amicia and Hugo experience deaths and violence, but end the game as forces of nature, no longer so helpless or innocent.

Plague Tale of Innocence Gameplay

A Plague Tale of Innocence Amicia holding Hugo's hand
Amicia Guiding Hugo Away from Plague Rats

As a young woman protecting her younger brother, the gameplay involves a lot of sneaking and very little combat, at least compared to most games. Things like cover, tall grass, throwing pots or rocks for distraction, are all the main ways to survive. The close calls spiked my adrenaline often.

When caught, there’s not much to do but watch an animation of Amicia dying. A sling is an available weapon, but hurling rocks at soldiers is truly a David vs Goliath type deal. Sneaking is almost always the best way around in Plague Tale of Innocence. Those tools available are also upgradable with materials gathered in the world.

There are puzzles to get through doors or past obstacles. They require mixes of distracting guards and working together with Hugo or other supporting characters. The latter part feels a bit like a coop game without another human player. Hugo and other supporting characters prevent players from feeling alone. It’s a nice variety from all the sneaking around.

Where the game really hooked me was the point where the rats were weaponized. It was still important to avoid them, but so satisfying the ways to use them against enemies. Light, for example, is a great way to block rats or push them towards an unsuspecting enemy.

Armored soldiers are no match for the rabid plague rats. That point in the story was truly a game changer. It’s there that the game went from worth playing to a must play for me. Now I’m very excited for the sequel, A Plague Tale: Requiem, and the prospects of a Plague Tale TV series.

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