: A Plague Tale: Innocence

Posted: July 21

Short: first 2 chapters I was intrigued, mid-chapters were mildly amusing and by chapter 10 I was feeding my heroes to rats just to see them die.

Guess I was expecting too much.

First pros. The game is pretty and voice acting is good. It will strain neither your brains nor your imagination. It takes zero risks and never threaten your comfort zone. It’s either full English or French which might or might not chip away immersion.

Now cons. Firstly the game is 10000% railroaded, a pretty walkathon where you’ll never need a single braincell. Solutions to ‘obstacles’ are never more than a glance away. If you still don’t get it the characters will spell it out. Duh.

The much-vaunted story is as generic as anything I’ve ever seen. It’s safe, risk-free disney+ product clad in a fake plastic tunic of make-believe history. You’re a brave young maiden. Oh noes, your parents are murdered! Double oh noes, a mysterious curse! The villains are an hilarious vader/palpatine cop-out duo that will make you choke on your pepsi. No danger of creativity, no originality. All this you have seen million times in million other mediums and so have I.

The game gives those strange vibes of muddled creativity. It doesn’t know whether it’s an grim dark-ages tale about plague and death or a happy story about brave resourceful kids. It tries to be both and the mix goes just as well as you might expect. It takes a very dark and nasty period of history and turns it into a safe disneyfied percy jackson novella.

You’ll gather a bunch of kids to help ya. Kids are brave and capable, adults are either evil or dead – it’s teen wolf meets power rangers. There’s the Thief Ranger who picks locks. The Nerd Ranger is an master alchemist at the ripe age of 10. The Blacksmith Ranger (don’t giggle!) demolishes armored knights barehanded. That leaves you, Amicia de Rune (that name!), the mightiest of all, the Girl Ranger who can conveniently do everything not covered by other Rangers.

Think this game is about plague? Think again. There are three concerns here; hugo, hugo and hugo, your kid brother who resembles a more insufferable version of young anakin. Strangely the plague itself is a mere cosmetic nuisance. The kids don’t talk about it, don’t fear it and of course don’t catch it. The plot armor holds and they know it. They do not miss their old lives or their supposedly dead families. Between adventures they live sort of strange idealized peter-pan existence that sounds as out of place as it seems. In the end they are just vessels to move the sluggish story and milk cheap emotions. Even the 2013 Lara Croft sounded far more plausibly cold, scared and desperate than these mighty uberkids. Jesus, damn pacman is far more relatable than these little cardboard wonders.

It’s that routine storytelling mechanic of today – characters who are ridiculously overpowered while still trying to act like appropriately pitiable victims. And so they end up being as boring as a deck of cards that’s all aces. I can’t recall a single line of interesting dialogue.

Between all this syrup you also kill around 1000 armed trained warriors, often feeding them alive to rats. That’s okay, they were bad people. You don’t mind. Your little brother doesn’t mind. Your loyal Rangers sure as hell don’t mind. They only exist to serve you anyway, and have no wills of their own. Did you know rats can eat plate armor in seconds? Ain’t history grand!

I recommend this game to people who love percy jackson and consider disney+ the high lonely peak of human achievement.

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