A Plague Tale: Innocence will induce latent musophobia (game review)


After a long year of anticipation, we finally got to play “A Plague Tale: Innocence” to see if it lived up to all of the hype.

There was a game I heard of during E3 2018 that piqued my interested. It was called A Plague Tale: Innocence and it’s storyline intrigued me. As a lover of history and someone who’s fascinated by epidemiology, a game set during the Black Plague of the 1300’s sounded like a dream. As more gameplay came out and I saw the mechanics, I was a bit hesitant and didn’t know if it would be a game that I would love. Oh, how wrong I was.

A Plague Tale: Innocence was developed by Asobo Studio and Published by Focus Home Interactive. Focus Home has been extremely busy as of late publishing a ton of games like Vampyr, Call of Cthulhu, World War Z and The Council. Their games are hit or miss, and as someone who has reviewed a lot of the games they have published, I rather enjoy the games I have experienced…mostly. A Plague Tale: Innocence is an action-adventure game that is heavy on story and puzzle solving.


A Plague Tale: Innocence follows the story of Amicia de Rune and her sickly brother Hugo. The game begins with a small tutorial showing you how to use Amicia’s signature weapon, her sling. Very quickly, however, the colorful beauty of this game takes a very dark turn when her dog, Lion, seemingly gets killed and partially eaten within seconds by something unknown.

THEN, the Inquisition shows up looking for her brother and demanding they take him. Of course his parents and the entire staff of the de Rune…castle(?) deny them (and we all know how much the Inquisition liked to be told no) which works out well for no one.

Amicia and Hugo sneak away to search for his doctor but as they leave, thousands of black rats with glowing eyes burst from the ground and begin to attack and kill anyone not holding a torch or standing by a fire. Turns out these supernaturally charged rats are carrying a plague known as “The Bite” as if the Inquisition wasn’t bad enough. When darkness falls or you fall into any dark spaces, the soldiers of the Inquisition are the least of your worries.

Image courtesy of Asobo Studio/Focus Home Interactive

I loved this game. I loved the graphics, the environment, the mechanics, the story and the music. I loved it all. The graphics aren’t hyper realistic yet still gorgeous showing such a huge change from the beginning to the plague ridden darkness of the countryside. The music is wonderful. I would 100% listen to this while not playing the game. The story is sad and supernatural, although a bit confusing at times. The voice acting is wonderful and little Hugo is just the cutest to listen to, which makes the whole situation all the more heartbreaking.

The controls are pretty user friendly, although if you switch between playing games, it will take a second to re-adjust to the controls. Trying to run can get a bit wonky at times and when you are running from a heavily armed soldier who spotted you because you suck at sneaking, it would be nice to stop running into things.

Image courtesy of Asobo Studio/Focus Home Interactive

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So how’s the gameplay? This game does have a tendency sometimes to get a little repetitive and extremely frustrating. You can’t really fight well and it is only ranged fighting if you fight at all. Nearly the entire game is sneaking and trying to find a way around rats and soldiers. While that seems like it would get really boring and sometimes the puzzles do repeat, there were MANY moments where I was holding my breath waiting for a puzzle to play out.

I hate games where I have to sneak everywhere because I’m garbage at it but this game is mostly user friendly and makes sneaking more intense than it was during The Last of Us. Also, prepare to die…a lot. Most of the time, puzzles are solved through trial and error and Amicia and Hugo die extremely easily.

If you need a fast-paced game, then A Plague Tale: Innocence isn’t for you. You would need to pick up something like Days Gone for that. But if you want a beautiful and story-heavy game with challenging puzzles and lots of rats (we’re Ghost fans here, so we’re rat friendly), then you will love this game. Overall, I think it is definitely worth playing. It’s not perfect and I did angrily quit a couple times but I always came back to it and still loved every minute.

A Plague Tale: Innocence is available Tuesday, May 14, on PS4 and Xbox One for $49.99 and on Steam for $44.99.

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Fan of getting down on video games? Planning on picking up A Plague Tale: Innocence? Let the other vicious video gamers know what you think in the comment section below.