A Plague Tale: Innocence, a Great Game for First Timers

Banner Image for article, based on the existing cover art of A Plague Tale: Innocence (2019), copyrighted by Focus Entertainment.

Theo Andrews ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Released in 2019 for the Playstation 4, the Xbox One, and the PC, A Plague Tale: Innocence was met with good reception, many praising its graphics and rat mechanics. It eventually garnered a sequel A Plague Tale: Requiem which was nominated for The Game Award for Game of the Year in 2022. It is a great beginner game for someone who wants to get into gaming as a serious hobby. Before getting into the story, there is one thing to take note of. If you are sensitive to death, human or animal, or are disgusted by rats then A Plague Tale: Innocence is not for you. There is a lot of that in the game, especially in the first ten minutes of gameplay. 

The story of the game takes place during the Black Death in a northern region of France called Aquitaine. You play as Amicia de Rune, eldest daughter of the local lord. After her father is killed by a group called the Inquisition, she, along with her brother Hugo who the Inquisition is after, flees. Throughout their journey, they meet an alchemist’s apprentice, two orphans turned robbers, and a blacksmith’s son. As Amicia and Hugo are hunted throughout France while avoiding hordes of murderous rats, the truth about Hugo and his special connection with the plague is slowly revealed. 

The game is extremely linear, meaning there is only one track to the game, with no side-quests or the ability to travel freely. An example of this is when you enter a city under quarantine to get to a university. Other games may have multiple different paths but in A Plague Tale: Innocence there is only one path. However, within the path are little detours the player can make but they only serve to add to the world building such as the abandoned forge the blacksmith’s son worked at. Its linearity is one of the reasons this game is excellent for those who have just started to get into video games as a hobby. Games that have big open-worlds can be overwhelming, A Plague Tale: Innocence has no open-world and just one singular track makes the game more digestible for beginners since there is not a worry of getting lost. 

 An effect of A Plague Tale: Innocence being linear is that there can be more effort put into the story and graphics. Graphically this game is beautiful, the way it captures both the bright and the dark side of medieval France is an accomplishment. While the character animations in cutscenes is far from perfect, the fact that this game was made by forty people is an accomplishment on its own. There is a photo-mode and if someone is playing this on a modern console such as the Playstation 5 or a high-end PC, the screenshots one can take can look absolutely gorgeous. The graphics are only further improved upon in the sequel. 

Another aspect of the game that makes it great for beginners is the gameplay. Due to the focus on story and graphics, the gameplay does not get that much attention. It is very simple, just walk around the levels until you have to solve a puzzle, fight, or sneak. This does dissuade more experienced players but for beginners it is perfect. It gives the player a decent challenge while not being overly complicated. The levels provide room for either stealth or combat, the game having no preference for either. However, combat can be tricky since it relies on surprise and the limited resources the player collects throughout the game. You can also utilize the man-eating rats, which in this game are afraid of light, to kill your enemies by extinguishing their torches. 

A Plague Tale: Innocence is almost like a movie-game, which is a game that focuses more on story and cinematics while gameplay takes a backseat. The game has been compared to The Last of Us so if someone has played that and enjoyed it, then A Plague Tale: Innocence is right up their alley. Gaming can seem like a very daunting hobby to get into, with multiple different platforms and thousands of games to choose from. It is important for newcomers to get a sense of what type of games they like and by playing A Plague Tale: Innocence they can get that. For those who do not like it, then maybe super story-focused games are not their cup of tea. But for those who do, then there are many games like it that are readily available. So for anyone who wants to get into gaming, A Plague Tale: Innocence is a great place to start. 

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