One of the things I wanted to do in the new year was write a little bit about every game that I manage to complete this year. I bought a bunch of games at the end of last year in the Steam summer sale. A Plague Tale: Innocence was the first one I completed this year. I had a very brief notion of what the game was about but seeing it nominated for the Outstanding Story Rich Steam award was what piqued my interest.
Before I began playing I was expecting something along the lines of Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. Narrative driven with an equal dose of combat. This game is equal parts stealth with a dose of simplified combat. Crafting is integral to the game. It's simple to perform and core to the gameplay. The game has you moving along the predetermined story thread while solving a few puzzles along the way. Combat is via a sling and a rock. A bunch powers get added to that as you progress through the game. What I loved about the combat was that it managed to do so much with just a simple mechanic. Over the course of my 13 hr play through I felt a real sense of progression in the combat. There were enough set piece and tense moments that were all built around the sling mechanic. I wasn’t sure how they would do a boss battle but the grand finale was pretty amazing in it’s execution both from a mechanical and its sheer beauty.
The beauty in this game comes from the environmental details and other aspects. A ruined yet beautiful countryside. Fires amidst the darkness. But the most striking aspect of its visuals is its rendering of rat hordes. Reading about the custom engine that the game uses I learnt that they designed to be able render 5000 rats on screen at the same time. This is crucial to the game experience and they have done an incredible job of it. The aforementioned boss battle is a sight to behold thanks to what I can only describe as rat rendering technology.
On the story front the voice actors have done a credible job. However the actual plot itself didn’t make the greatest impact on me. Sometimes the gameplay aspect of a narrative game like this is what elevates the experience and for me that was what actually took me through to the end.