This year has been a great year for survival horror and horror games in general thanks to a recent uptick in their popularity. At years beginning we got Resident Evil 2 and Days Gone, two AAA big budget survival horror titles that were truly amazing.
Generally that’s about all we usually get, but this year Focus Home Interactive graced us with another horror title that leans a little towards survival just due to the fact of what you have to do to live. Developed by Asobo Studio and released on the Xbox One, PS4 and PC this is a big budget AA title.
This game won’t sit next to AAA games on the shelves but after playing it, I realized that it has some of the highest production quality I’ve seen in a AA title. Asobo Studio did a great job with what funds they were given and when I was away from this game I couldn’t wait to get back to the world, and the rats.
The game’s story is what helps it shine so much. Your tale takes place in the mid 1300’s, you play as Amicia de Rune a girl of royal descent who lives in Aquintaine with her family. Her younger brother is always ill with her mother, Beatrice, taking care of him almost constantly since birth. Unfortunately the English have invaded and the Inquisition is in the backyard as well.
Amicia’s home is invaded by Lord Nicholas who is in search of her brother, Hugo. Amicia and Hugo are now on the run, alone with no where to really go with both the Inquisition, the English and hoards of rats are constantly on your tail. Navigating barren diseased towns with your little brother in tow can give you chills.
Body strewn battlefields can churn your stomach as you lead Hugo to the next destination. You must keep Hugo safe while trying to stay in the light and hidden; it is just so compelling and when I wasn’t playing it was all I was thinking about.
The controls are easy in this game, which is a good thing, for me anyway. I am atrocious at anything stealth in a game. I’m terrible, I get impatient and just want to see what happens next. Doing that in this game I made sure that poor Amicia was stabbed, clubbed and speared a nauseating amount of times.
Once I calmed down and made sure that the guards were in their pre-programmed route I was in the clear for not dying. You crouch by pressing the X button, you can hide behind crates and such and tall grass keeps you and Hugo safe, even if you’re spotted.
This mechanic does get a little tedious after awhile, I got bored with the stealth options due to the fact that you get through them the same way over and over. Guards aren’t too bright and give up easily, thankfully. You are armed only with your wits and a Sling, this Sling gets you out of a lot of tight spots. You can kill someone with it, light torches with it, break chains with it and so on.
You aim it like you would in a normal FPS, Left Trigger brings it up and Right Trigger fires it. B is dodge but it doesn’t work very well because the animation is so slow. You won’t be using it too much until you get to certain boss fights, but your sling will save you, many a time.
To be honest I didn’t expect this game to look so visually stunning, the cut scenes are beautifully done and when are thrust back into the game world there isn’t a drastic change.
The wilderness you romp through looks like a forest I walked through in Yellowstone when I was little. The barren, destitute towns you encounter look devoid of life; I would not want to traipse through them. The rats though, how the developers made them into a deadly swarm with a mind of their own really makes your skin crawl.
There is no slowdown with the thousands of rats on screen which surprised me, I was playing Quantum Break recently and there was extreme slowdown during a cut scene, and that was a Microsoft AAA title, c’mon Remedy.
Now telling you that the game is beautiful means that at some point in the game I would get completely lost because there really were no prompts hidden in the world. I got lost in my own house in the beginning of the game for crying out loud, yes that’s embarrassing, but it may happen to you too.
Being a budget title I can see that A Plague Tale: Innocence will be overlooked by many gamers, which is super sad. I hear lots of gamers complaining about lack of originality in games and when one comes and bites them in they ass they shoo it away and buy Battlefield V.
There are so many things going for this title, a unique story, great graphics, great music, great controls, a budget price and so much more. I pre-ordered this game and got it ten dollars less than retail because of it.
I would have happily paid full price because it is such a great game. This is a story that you will want to see through to the end and it saddens me that only about 35% of Xbox One gamers who own this game have completed it. That’s a low margin and it gets me depressed.
There is no way to combat the constant “man shooter” games if we don’t support new and inventive IP’s that deserve to be praised. If you buy this game and don’t like it I will be very surprised. I was surprised myself at the high production value of the title and I look forward to what Asobo Studio brings us next.