Asobo Studio’s A Plague Tale: Innocence is probably one of the most original games in development at the moment, alongside Death Stranding. It’s a stealth-survival game set during the 14th century France, and some new gameplay details have emerged along with a 2018 gameplay trailer.
Players take on the role of Amicia, who is caring for her five-year-old brother, Hugo. A catastrophic event occurs where they get caught between an uprising taking place in France, along with another catastrophic event involving flesh-eating rats swarming the entire region.
The only way to fight off the rats is with fire or lights, as the rats hate bright lights. The gameplay literally borrows from Ico insofar that you’ll have to protect Hugo throughout the game, similar to how you had to drag around and protect Yorda. But that’s mostly where the similarities end.
A Plague Tale: Innocence has the typical Gothic art-style that many games under the Focus Home Interactive publishing label seems to exhibit, and players will have to navigate through the countrysides and city in order to escape from the hordes of flesh-eating rats.
Players assume the role of Amicia, where you’ll need to manually take hold of Hugo and lead him through the levels. Sometimes there will be multiple kids in the area you’ll have to protect — like in the E3 demo where they happen upon another young child named Lucas — holding or carrying them through the swarms of up to 5,000 onscreen rats.
According to Asobo Studio co-founder, David Dedeine, he explained to IGN that players will have to use the rats strategically both in combat and as a means to avoid combat. For instance, if soldiers are patrolling nearby, you can use Amicia’s slingshot to attack them, but if they’re too heavily armored you won’t be able to kill or incapacitate them for too long. For larger enemies, Amicia can use the slingshot to break the lanterns that they carry and force the rats to swarm them, eating them alive.
When the rats are done eating the soldiers, you can then use a light source, such as a torch, to clear out the rats and acquire the loot.
The little orphan kid isn’t entirely useless, though. There have been some advancements made since Ashley from Resident Evil 4.
For instance, the little booger can pick up a dry stick if it’s laying around, which you can then use to turn it into a torch to keep the rats away. Literally, without some sort of fire or light source, the rats will just swarm and eat you, and Asobo Studio made sure that the rats are big, and hairy, and noisy, and have chattery teeth, with smelly looking fur and big, glowing red eyes. These things look like the embodiment of Disney lawyers in the form of animals.
Anyway, there will be upgrades throughout the game, I’m not sure how the upgrade skills work but they will likely enable you to traverse through certain areas easier or perhaps deal more damage to the soldiers with the slingshot.
A Plague Tale: Innocence seems like a neat little AA title that takes stealth-survival in a completely different direction. Also, it’s one of the rare moments where it’s a female protagonist who isn’t some snarky, stuck-up, kick-arse female who don’t need no man.