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A Plague Tale: Innocence review – dull stealth almost spoils a tender and ravishing apocalyptic fable


Children struggling to right a world wrecked by the old is a popular theme nowadays, within video games and beyond them. Asobo’s often-magnificent A Plague Tale: Innocence is one of the more hopeful variations, pitching a small cast of photogenic youngsters against religious zealots and man-eating rats in medieval France. Though let down by an over-reliance on mandatory stealth, which drains a little of the sorcery from some astounding locations, it is a wonderfully dark and tender fairytale whose key draws are its frail but indefatigable protagonists.

As the curtain goes up, noble-born siblings Amicia and Hugo are chased from their family estate by Inquisition soldiers, leaving their parents for dead. The two are relative strangers to one another: the victim of a hereditary sickness, which slowly blackens his veins over the game’s 10 hour story, Hugo has spent his whole life locked away in a loft with his mother, a master alchemist. This affliction is the reason for the Inquisition’s raid, and you’ll spend much of the plot unravelling its arcane origin. The older Amicia – the character you control for most of the game – has grown up in her father’s company and is a spirited creature of the outdoors: when we first meet her, she’s learning to hunt with her sling. Their home’s destruction throws them together for the first time, much as the death of Faye does Atreus and Kratos in God of War, and as in Santa Monica Studio’s game, the story marches to the gentle beat of their growing intimacy.