Smart survival amid slow surveillance

All is fun and happy. Until suddenly, Lion goes on a mad run and finds himself being sucked under the ground by black sludge.

Published: 11th July 2022 11:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 12th July 2022 04:04 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Amicia de Rune and her father go on a relaxing walk in the neighbouring jungle with their dog, Lion. Amicia uses her catapult to knock out a few apples from a tree for her father and her to snack on. All is fun and happy. Until suddenly, Lion goes on a mad run and finds himself being sucked under the ground by black sludge.

Amicia’s short walk now turns into an arduous journey she takes with her sick, toddler brother Hugo. The path is plagued by rats and soldiers of the enemy Inquisition. No interactive media does a radical pivot the way a videogame does, and this whole sequence of events reeled me into the game. The week I played “Plague Tale: Innocence” was a difficult one for my numerous non-gaming friends. Much to their annoyance, I could discuss little else apart from the story and mechanics of this stealth single-player game.

The path ahead is straightforward. The game is primarily linear. But there is a catch — we can, at no cost, be seen by the enemy. Amicia is a non-confrontational teenager who is pushed into violent conflict that she has no experience with. The game expresses this aspect of her innocence beautifully by employing a completely stealth driven gameplay, with freedom offered through a hundred unusual ways of clearing the same level.. From a young girl distracting the enemies by throwing stones at metal objects, the game progresses, to show Amicia’s slow descent to doing horrible things to survive. She turns into a powerful alchemist, who lures rats and makes them attack and eat up the enemy soldiers.

The aspect of her character development is wrapped in the gameplay mechanic. One part of the mechanic involves foraging for elements to create ammunition and upgrade skills through crafting. The second part depends on how we decide to proceed through the levels. Do we use the smarter, but slow approach of using the environment to trick the guards? Or do we throw caution to the winds and proceed, guns blazing? There is no right answer both ways are equally fun.

“Plague Tale: Requiem” is to release in October. Three months before the release of the next game is the amount of lead time that I want to give for all readers to play “Plague Tale: Innocence”, one of the best stealth games I have played in recent past. It is currently available on the Game Pass. The game can be played on the PlayStation, Xbox, PC, and the Nintendo Switch.


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