My next game in the Gaming Adventure (and now so very close to 700 games altogether.. SHUSH! Don’t judge me! Blame Steam Summer Sale and GOG and their ridiculous discounts!) is the tragic and beautiful, A Plague Tale – Innocence. Some may say it should have been played in the “P” part of the adventure, but I’m going by GOG’s list, as it shows all my games from various launchers/sites in one place, and it said that it was next. So here we are, and here we go…
First impression is that the game is GORGEOUS – the colours and textures are detailed and beautiful, and you immediately feel like this is going to be a game where the story is made even better by the amazing scenery and character design. The story, even if this had NOT been as beautiful as this game is, would still have kept me playing.
You start out in a beautiful moment, father and daughter (and beloved dog!) having a lovely evening stroll in a French forest in the 1300’s – Idyllic, peaceful, filled with Autumn colours and bird song. Here, you meet Amicia De Rune, and her noble father, and her gorgeous hunting dog, Leon. Father and daughter discuss her mother, and her little brother, Hugo, who is, apparently, chronically ill with a mysterious disease. Amicia doesn’t see her mother very often as she is dedicated totally to looking after Hugo, who Amicia also doesn’t see very often or know very well. Amicia is daddy’s girl, and is wanting to prove herself to her father, and impress him. She does this in various ways, and you can tell her father dotes on her and clearly knows her better than he knows his son. It’s a lovely scene, and you can thoroughly enjoy it… then some things happen (won’t spoil it) and Leon runs off after something. He is a hunting dog, after all, and a well trained one.
So we walk through the woods, discussing many things including the current war and the Inquisition, your ill brother and absent mother, and your father tests your skills with your (soon to be indispensable) trusty sling. It’s a lovely, gentle intro into the skills you will be using, and advancing, throughout the game. Amicia is innocent and, while a little sad and a touch jealous that she never gets to see her mother because she is always taking care of Hugo, kind and sweet.
That’s when things turn a little dark… not going to spoil the story, but some things happen and it’s downhill and pretty much running and hiding from there on out!
You start out very strained in your relationship with your little brother, Hugo, but through the misery, heartbreak, and sheer terror that you go through together, and the understanding that develops, you end up being incredibly close and loyal to one another. It’s quite touching at times. Hugo also starts out very innocent and gentle, but you are both changed tremendously by the things you see, have to do, and the people you discover along the journey. There are some incredible characters with their own deep stories, and these characters are not 2-dimensional in the least.
Yes, the story is linear – you don’t get to choose where you go or when you go there, but even that does not detract from the game or the story. Some places you revisit, and they are forever changed. Some of the people you lose along the way for various reasons, and each time it tears a little more at the heart. By the end of the story, after you accomplish your goals and help some of your companions accomplish theirs, you are emotionally exhausted, but tentatively triumphant. It’s bittersweet, and the ending is not quite what you expect.
As mentioned, the story is very dark, and quite gruesome in some places, and there are rats…. lots and lots of rats. So if you have a phobia, I would not recommend the game. As for the story, and the period it’s set in, it’s a dark, tragic time filled with violence and atrocity. Be warned. You will be changed as much as these children are.
Even the NPCs and guards and soldiers and everyone else you come across are very interesting and their dialogue makes sense in their position/location. I had many moments where my heart was pounding in my chest – and sometimes these were the _sneaky_ moments!
The visuals are incredible, and the music is absolutely on par with it. It’s a soundtrack you can get lost in. Each location has its own theme and song, and the action/sneaking music is also superb.
It’s a game to get lost in for a good few hours. This is my second attempt at the game – I don’t remember why I stopped playing the first time – but I remember exactly where I stopped, and when I managed to get passed that point and move along in the story, I was pretty proud of myself. When I reached the end of the game, I was even prouder.
I can heartily recommend this game. I have hundreds of screen shots and I will remember it very fondly.
Au revoir Amicia. Bonne chance Hugo. J’attends vos prochaines aventures avec impatience!
PS – Let the credits roll to the end for a little bonus…
PPS – all images are taken in-game.