Republished on Wednesday 30th June 2021: We're bringing this review back from the archives following the announcement of July's PlayStation Plus lineup. The original text follows.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a Sony game without a Sony budget. Focus Home Interactive may not be a forum favourite, but with ambitious original properties like Vampyr and The Council, it’s been proudly flying the flag for story-driven, single player experiences. Asobo’s gothic medieval romp is yet another nod in that direction, but does it bite like a rat or nip like a mouse?
Set in 14th century France during the initial stages of the Hundred Years’ War, you play as the teenage daughter of a nobleman named Amicia, who winds up the primary guardian of her sick brother Hugo as the pair traverse their Black Death ravaged homeland in search of a cure. It’s a thrilling premise, undone only by wooden voice acting that kills an otherwise okay script.
The gameplay takes cues from the likes of The Last of Us, though it’s much more straightforward. You’ll spend much of your time waltzing through both gorgeous and grotesque backdrops, scooping up crafting materials that can be used in alchemic concoctions. Combat is relatively limited, so you’ll mostly be using an upgradable slingshot to distract guards and open up new pathways.
The release is perhaps at its white-knuckle best when you’re pitted against a mischief of blood-thirsty rats, who will murder you should you step away from a light source. These sequences effectively evolve into drawn-out puzzles, where you must use all of your abilities in order to create a safe passage through the rodents. Sometimes this will involve bait; other times you’ll need to burn stuff, and so on.
The title does an admirable job of mixing the mechanics up to introduce new problems right throughout its runtime, but it can’t help but feel padded. With a campaign pushing up to the 15 hour mark, you’ll find yourself rolling your eyes as you stumble into yet another elongated stealth or rat evasion sequence; it gets repetitive, even if the puzzles and backdrops change.
Furthermore, the adventure doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. There’s an almost educational aspect to the way the plot unfolds, submerging you into a bleak period of history that doesn’t get a massive amount of screentime. At the same time, it simply can’t resist flirting unnecessarily with the supernatural – almost like the writers couldn’t help themselves.
But perhaps most disappointingly is how clumsy the game can feel; Amicia’s movement is stilted and finicky, while the “weapon” wheel is fiddly. The presentation is sublime at times, with its haunting score adding so much to the mood of the experience – but it just doesn’t have that final layer of polish that its peers possess, resulting in plenty of dreaded jank.
A Plague Tale: Innocence deserves respect for daring to be different, funnelling you through a bleak European backdrop that’s seldom seen. Despite some neat ideas, though, the stealth and puzzle mechanics drag, and the story can’t quite make up its mind about what it wants to be. Furthermore, while the presentation is spectacular, the project lacks polish in key areas and overstays its welcome at times.
If the game wasn't so long I'd pick it up. Sounds like they could of halved the play time.
Sounds like they've bitten off a bit more then they could chew here.
Agreed. From the way the review reads, it seems as if the developers’ vision for the game exceeded what they could realistically achieve. Even so, it sounds like there are elements that are well worth experiencing, provided you’re willing to be patient.
i'm still gonna give this one a go! Pushsquare is known for giving low scores on great titles. Other sites were more generous. Curiosity brought me here
I've heard overwhelming positive reception on YouTube.
This is actually one of the less positive reviews I've seen of the game. I've decided to give it a go anyway been interested since it was announced as the setting is quite different and having three sisters who I'm close with I generally like games that feature the siblings working together storyline.
I wouldn't quite take this review as gospel. As usual the push square review is at the low end of the review spectrum. It has almost an 80 on metacritic. And The YouTube reviewer ACG gave it a buy. I find at least for me I agree more with him. But I love push square as a site. I've just been finding their reviews dont really match the quality of the games lately to me. And while 6 isn't a terrible review it is not great. If you asked someone to rate you as a person and they said you were a 6 you would not be terribly happy. I will trust the consensus and Acg on this one.
PushSquare being harsher on games (and avoiding some of the kind of talk places like Kotaku and Polygon love to obsess over in their reviews) is actually why I trust this website more than any other. A 6/10 from here isn't bad. Interested to see when I've completed A Plague Tale: Innocence if I agree more with this review or ACG's (who I also trust).
Probably too early in the morning for me but that first sentence has me scratching my head haha
I really hope all these negative comments about how this site scores games dont make them change their ways. 6/10 does not mean they think it is a bad game. Its like when u score things on a 10 point system only a few scores are allowed. 6 score on this site means this to me, if its a genre i like or something i find interesting i will check it out, but maybe not a day 1 purchase. At least here they have honesty in how they feel about games. This of course is just my opinion i could be wrong.
Or maybe a review should speak for itself. Why need a score to translate?
I've played games rated 6 on here before and I have enjoyed a lot so I'm not too bothered with the score.This game has had my interest peaked ever since it was announced and I gotta say as much as I was looking forward to Days Gone (which I have yet to buy) I'm still try this one first.
The voice acting is always a turn off if it's that bad but like @Neolit says,if you can change the game to its original language and turn on subtitles then there isant a problem..that's half the reason I prefer my RPGS with Japanese audio.
@JJ2 i can agree with that, but thats the world we live in. Half of the people looking at these reviews probably just scroll to the bottem.
More games where I am forced to play as a chick, ridiculous. Stop making games for filthy casuals and "cat eared" girl gamers. Cancerous bastards god dammit.
Review itself is only 7 paragraphs. Feels rushed - maybe it was. Some of it seems cribbed from other reviews I read.
@Milky_Bandit yeah I absolutely reckon the reviewer didn’t play it and instead put random paragraphs together from other people’s reviews. Absolutely that.
@kyleforrester87 If I was a reviewer with a tight deadline and had to take some shortcuts this is exactly what I'd imagine such a review would look like. Sorry but it is.
We all know pushsquare just cuts and pastes. Not a single gamer among the staff. We should never listen to a review unless it says what we want. On the other hand at least pushsquare is a gaming site. Not a cultural bastion that likes things because they are the new hot point in our ever more joke of a culture. Wont ever get this game. 6 is lame.
@Milky_Bandit I don’t think they worry too much about deadlines on here. If WAYP arrived any later we’d all be doing it on Mondays.
Still don't understand peoples obsessions with review scores and whether one site is with the consensus for others. The review is well reasoned and gives its reasoning for a lower score. 6/10 isn't bad. If you have played the game, disagree and come back with good points, then fair enough. To go, oh other sites have rated it higher when any review is subjective seems utterly daft.
I'm most disappointed about the length and narrative to be honest. Sammy knows his stories and if this one doesn't satisfy then it is an issue. 15 hours feels too long for this type of gameplay, personally.
Indeed. I know what your saying but then thinking of it. 'not bad' should be fine for that purpose. Or is it a score has a different purpose? A score is a relative number right?
I'm not having a dig at the review but I remember when games were praised for adding a different style of genre into their stories. Now they get questioned for adding bits of horror or supernatural. I'm sure this was brought up in the Detroit Become Human review, too.
I wonder what Half Life 2 would review like nowadays.
Well I'll be getting pushsquare gave vampyr a six as well and a loved that, a solid 8/10 for me. As others have said push square are very critical of smaller games like this.
Since i liked vampyr despite it's average reviews i Will be picking this up aswell.
We (i) need more games in a real world historical setting that is not assassins creed.
@ApostateMage halflife2.greatest.FPS ever made.10/10forever.wordupson.
@suikoden but they sure give 8/16-bit games a free pass when it comes to pretty much everything but gameplay.
I’ve not got anything against the reviewer, but did they actually finish the game? PSNProfiles says he only got up to chapter 5 (out of 15) and hasn’t played it in over 5 days.
The game has been well received almost universally by all publications, other than here. The gameplay changes as more abilities are introduced, the story gets deeper and more emotional as certain things are revealed around chapter 10, and gameplay is kept varied as it combines puzzles with stealth and fun ways to eliminate your foes with the rats.
The review read as someone who played a few chapters and presumed the game stayed the same for the remaining 2/3 which were left.
Again, nothing against the reviewer, but it’s a shame as the game is actually an excellent new IP
@fabisputza00 I know right pushsquare gave the surge a 5.and that was a great game.i gave the surge a 8.the reviewer say the game was too hard🙊haha.they also gave mutant year zero road to Eden a 6..once again the reviewer says the game is too hard🙈.😁.i gave mutant year zero a 9.amazing game.it you like a game.you know it looks great.dont ever let anyone tell you if it's a great game.or not.plsy the game yourself.i will definitely buy a plague tale now.because pushsquare reviews lately have been funny.not martin.married with children.sanford and sons funny.i know I will like this game.word up son
@Wazeddie22 I play mutant year zero road to Eden.pushsquare gave it a 6.because it was too hard for him.i play the game.because he didn't know what he was talking about.and the game was a 9 to me.and pushsquare was the only negative sites.if you like a game.dont listen to pushsquare or other websites.because the surge get a 5 from them.when I play it .it was a 8.buy this game.word up son
@Turniplord this is the most ridiculous reviews ever .it's so quick like he didn't play the whole game.something fishy here.amicia movement is stilted he say.i don't see that at all.she moves gracefully and it's great.the game don't look nothing like the last of us.pushsquare reviews lately have been 👎horrible.a plague tale is a great game.dont believe a reviewer word .play the game yourself.and you will like the game..word ☝ up son
@playstation1995 - yeah, I’ve had it for around a week, reviewed it elsewhere. Put in around 15-20 hours and finished the story Saturday morning. I also wouldn’t liken it to the last of us as it’s nothing like it, especially when you begin figuring out how to get through the hordes of rats, and the puzzles.
For a fairly small studio, this game is amazing - the narrative and the direction the game goes in is great (although I didn’t like the final ‘event’).
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this feels like it’s based on the first few hours and not the overall experience.
Generally forgot about this game...
I mean, didn't Sammy give Heavy Rain a 5? Not very trustworthy when it comes to story-driven games, imo.
it's weird that this website is the only one that gave this game a 6.every website that review this game gave it a high score.even gamespot.which I don't like .gave it a 8.every website.says it's a great game. and I believe them.a sleeper hit.i will definitely buy this game.dont listen to reviewers.sometimes here also.follow your spider sense.word up son
@naruball yeah Sammy be hating sometimes.didd he really gave heavy rain a 5.i like this site.but a lot of times.they reviews games and they gave it a bad scores.but when you play it.you like the game.sammy needs to get is eyes check.because a lot of tines.he says stuff that doesn't make sense.word up son
@Turniplord the game is getting great score.except on pushsquare.everyone likes this games.word up son
@suikoden they also gave mutant year zero road to Eden a 6.i bought the game because I was looking forward to it. and it gets a 9 from me.the surge get a 5 on pushsquare .because it's too hard 🙉🙊🙈.haha.it gets a 8 from me.dont listen to pushsquare.they are like hall and oats .out of touch.word up son
@playstation1995 Yeah I'm definitely getting this game.I don't always wait for reviews anyway cuz like you say we all have different opinions and different ideas on how good a game is.
I've been looking at a lot of gameplay videos and I'm actually loving what I'm seeing.
This review seemed shorter than most..maybe Sammy was too distracted by his Taylor Swift poster on the wall while playing it.lol
the PS3 version of heavy rain got 8 on pushsquare, it wasn't sammy that reviewed it though.
@playstation1995 Metal gear Survive a 8. 😜
If i think about it if it gets a 6 here and its higher everywhere else then its a sale. 😁
Gamespot has some reviewers that go out of their way too bomb a game. Plus if you look at the really low ratings and you read the reviews you can see its mostly a big joke.
@Flaming_Kaiser Liam croft review that game.metal gear survive get a 8.horrible👎🙊🙈🙉.but the surge gets a 5 .the surge is a way better game than survive.its get a 8 from me.he say the game was too hard.😁.same as mutant year zero.it get a 6 from this site for being too hard 😆😂😳.i l💖ve that game.it gets a 9 from me.dont listen to reviewers.word up son
@Wazeddie22 I don't like Taylor Swift.never been a fan of her music.i listen to real music from the 1970s 80s.and 90s.this game is getting great reviews elsewhere.word up son
He is entitled to his opinion, but I've learned to ignore his reviews since they don't align with my tastes.
@naruball ok.hall and oats should sing out of touch to Sammy.because he is lost.👎.heavy rain is one of the best game ever. he's talking about modern.the game is not that old.something wrong with his head.for real.he tripping.word up son
@playstation1995 I wanted to post "never forget" but i only get 9/11 pics and posting that is a little too much. But i agree but with most games i watch some other reviews if i really like the game. 🤓 Word up son. 👍
@Flaming_Kaiser notice Sammy is not here to say something.he knows that he mess up.word up son
@playstation1995 You're a good lad but you should take your foot off the gas from time to time.
@kyleforrester87 hahaha. I can't take my foot of the gas because I'm eating rice and beans with fried chicken wings.with orange juice.plus I'm talking to my girlfriend.so my foot is stuck👍😆😝😂😊.haha.word up son
Out of curiosity, I read a few more reviews of this title, just to get a sense of what others might be thinking. Most of the praise seems to be directed at the game’s narrative, while marking some of the gameplay as uneven or too simplistic. Honestly, that seems in line with most of Sammy’s thoughts on the game, although, in the end result, he viewed the sum of the title’s parts in a less favorable light than others. I personally felt as though he provided a clear reasoning for each of his criticisms.
Given all I’ve read, I’ll likely give this a try once my backlog’s been whittled down a bit. The story and the setting honestly sound compelling and an interesting departure from most of what’s out there on the market at present.
@playstation1995 I used the word gas to show some cultural sensitivity, of course what I really meant was petrol Anyway you don't have to agree with these reviews but you’re coming off as a bit too disrespectful 🤙🏻 If you want to give someone a hard time save it for @Octane, he’s the absolute worst.
@playstation1995 Thats why they should drop more demo's on psn i know some games will get extra sales. 😁
@Flaming_Kaiser gamingbolt gave a plague tale a 9.and easy allies gave it a 8.pushsquare is the only website that give it a crazy score.wtf🙈.word up son
@playstation1995 Then im happy that i got it for less with a free LP. Word up son. 😁
This review is so short and superficial...
I agree with you on more demos needing to be made available. Games like A Plague Tale would definitely benefit. I know I would've likely skipped on NieR: Automata for a long time without the pre-release demo. When I see a company like Capcom dropping one or multiple demos for games like Resident Evil or Devil May Cry (games people are going to buy regardless) and then nothing for lesser known games it makes me wonder what some developers and publishers are thinking.
@Gamer83 Too be honest i dobt know id it costs a lot too release a demo on a platform. But i agree smaller games would benefit. And if it expensive the platform holders should maybe give a discount to smaller developers. They make extra money of the sales too anyway. 🤓
@Gamer83 some demos really put me off a game. Sometimes I need to make that £50 commitment to get me over the hump. I doubt I would have picked up Bloodborne had I just played a short demo, for example. It took me a few sessions to get into that.
And the Dead Space 1 demo put me off that for months and months.
This really is not a very good review. As others have said it feels short and rushed. Also many of points made in this article are the opposite what was said in most other reviews. Like most said the voice acting was solid. And from what I heard I agree. Also the length of the campaign is a good thing. Most others did not say it felt padded but was organic. As for having supernatural elements being a negative that is just absurd. It is a video game after all. No one said this was going to be historically 100% accurate. As for why people care about review scores. It is not because people are obsessed. It has to do with fairness. Video game opinions while subjective also have objective levels of quality with gameplay that most people agree upon. As most people agree God of War was a good game. So when reviews of this and days gone get bad reviews it is unfair. Especially when so much time and work goes into games. Which is why people react emotionally to the unfairness.
Yeah, sorry, poor review to be honest. Just compare it to ACG's to see how much detail, depth and writing flair it's lacking. I'll definitely be picking up the game.
Some of the comments in this review fit with my experience so far with The Council. Innovative, interesting concepts, which are sub-optimally realized, coupled with poor voice acting and stiff controls. Pretty much the same issues.
But The Council is worth a play just because of its fresh ideas and focus on a unique historical setting, so this game is likely the same.
@playstation1995 Read some old stuff damn that they gave this game a 6.
@Flaming_Kaiser the only website that gave it a 6.so what you saying.every site gave it a 8 or 9 etc.word up son
@playstation1995 Metal Gear Survive 8/10
This game is wonderful. Can't wait for Requiem.
on Metacritic this has a critic review score of 81 and user review of 8.5. Which is a far more realistic review score
Don't mind the 6/10, it's really not deserved.
A plague tale was one of my best surprises of 2019 and I'm really looking forward to play it again once enhanced for PS5
As far as story based games go, this is an easy 9. If you love a good yarn then this is a must play. Combat gets a little repetitive and there are a few frustrating moments but that does not hamper it much at all. It is well worth a playthrough.
I love this game.
It has such a great, eerie atmosphere throughout. I’m not even particularly afraid of rats either tbh but they kind of reminded me of the scarabs in The Mummy movie (the 1999 one not the Tom Cruise abomination) - especially how you can manipulate them with the light.
I can’t wait to replay this when I get a PS5.
While not without it flaws this was a beautiful game with a poignant story and some interesting gameplay mechanics.
Most importantly I have continued to think about it many years after I first played it. The sign of a really good game to me.
Yes there are some issues. A few areas dragged and the gameplay mechanics could be a bit simple or fussy or repetitive. It's probably not for everyone, but if you like this sort of story based game it is at least an 8/10 and highly recommended.
I look forward to replaying it.
@Flaming_Kaiser so I know your comment is bang on one year old, but that use of the Spaced gif is chef's kiss. I mean I love this site but with MGSurvive and that awful dark alliance game getting a 7 the other day I'm starting to question the tastes of the reviewers.
Anyway from the sounds of it I should disregard this review as well and give Plague Tale a go. I've only really heard mostly good things about it elsewhere.
Great game from the clips and trailers I've seen, looking forward to playing when the PS5 version goes live.
This game is easily an 8/10.. maybe even a 9 considering a small dev team without big money, its beautifully crafted.
@TeapotBuddha It's very good, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
@TeapotBuddha It's way better than this unfair review gives it credit for.
I didn't play this game in part because of this review. Now I will get to try it free (and everyone else has sold me on its quality)
@TeapotBuddha Dont worry i tend to bring time it up everytime i hear some nonsense here and thats been going here a lot lately (my opinion).
Like the free PS5 nextgen upgrade from NBA2K MAMBA Edition at the low price of €99 and the funny thing is they keep defending it.
A €10 increase on PS5 firstparty title complete (with no extra hidden stuff like MT and nonsense) gets blasted i really thought they where rooting for Returnal to fail with all their bad press.
while lets be honest we are paying way more for complete games already you just start €60 with a gold edition at €90 and the great feeling of being the play testers for the developers while they take months to fix their games.
Excuse my rant but i love to vent my anger around sometimes and i know what you probably think shut up old man. And why cant we add gif anymore its such a pity.
@Flaming_Kaiser no worries, but you forgot to add their defence of Fifa Ultimate Team 😉
That one's a bit of a personal bugbear of mine with this place.
We're allowed to have a moan sometimes!
@TeapotBuddha If you see what kind of hate campaing Sammy had towards Returnal stating that the game is not worth its price i was kinda shocked.
But if you look for your weekly hate on PS you then you are at the right place. 🤪
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