A Plague Tale Innocence is an adventure stealth game that was released in May 2019 and the PS5 version is available this month on PS Plus. Let’s check if this PS5 upgrade is truly a noticeable difference with the graphics, the dual sense implementation and of course the frame rate. The story of A Plague Tale Innocence follows the tale of Amicia and her younger brother Hugo. They are on the run from rats that are spreading the plague which present the main foe of the gameplay but also from The Inquisition.
The Inquisition soldiers are out to kill you both and they also just happened to slaughter your home and parents in the opening moments of A Plague Tale Innocence. I really enjoyed the story with this one simply because it’s unique with the two children and Amicia is only 14 years old so the odds of your exploration and stealth are not only elevated but it’s really shows a growing bond between these 2 characters.
To top it off the setting is 14th century France and we just don’t see it that often so it’s more than a little refreshing. Essentially A Plague Tale Innocence is a stealth exploration adventure with some minor moments of combat, loot gathering and crafting. The core of the gameplay experience is going from location to location and figure out a path while fighting either rats or The Inquisition.
With the Inquisition it’s going to be more sneaking and using distractions, while the rats are more head on in their swarm format. It’s really a game of environmental puzzles, figuring out how to stay in the light or how you can distract them long enough to act on your escape plan. Controls here are simple enough as its a single character and Hugo follows you automatically and it’s a case of movement, duck, jump around certain items and then you can also occasionally command Hugo as well.
Whether that’s telling him to stay in a certain spot or asking him to do something on your behalf like crawling through a very small hole and unlocking a door. Hugo’s commands are not the deepest but they are simple and a quick tap of the D-pad kicks things into action. Combat wise it’s mostly a slingshot which also doubles as a distraction like throwing it into metal to distract guards with the sound or knock down meat to bring in the rats.
Do not play A Plague Tale Innocence for the combat as it’s very much a game of one hit kills and you can do little to escape your enemies. 90 percent of the time even if you run, they will catch you and it’s back to the last checkpoint which are thankfully frequent. I rarely took out a guard with a slingshot because it’s just a pain if they have armor on then you need to hit the latch first to remove it.
It just takes too long and after that you still need to land a head shot. The risk versus reward just isn’t there to make it a viable option and that’s clearly very purposeful. The weakest parts of A Plague Tale Innocence is in fact the boss fights where it removes the option for stealth. They just don’t fit quite right with the rest of the story and they should have just committed to letting you overcome obstacles as you please rather than almost trapping you in arenas.
The rest of A Plague Tale Innocence is a relatively linear path through locations while collecting items for upgrades to your sling, your bag and a few other things at very specific workbenches around this world. The Inquisition moments are rewarding as you sneak around this world but the rats are just incredible as they swarm and climb around you and this is now elevated with the new 60 frames per second gameplay.
The motion has never been better and the impact of the controls in these moments with torch in hand just feels absolutely perfect. I didn’t have a single drop in the frame rate even with hundreds and hundreds of rats approaching. Aside from the improved frame rate for gameplay they’ve also added DualSense and this is a little lacking honestly. It’s decent don’t get me wrong as you can feel it in the controller and the triggers.
But it just doesn’t quite deliver on that sense of rats moving around you, I wanted to feel that motion instead it’s more like smaller static hits and you don’t feel movement in your hands and I think that’s what they should have aimed for. I also think the creepy sound of the rats could have benefited from a little implementation from the DualSense speaker as well.
Graphically A Plague Tale Innocence is not a huge upgrade honestly but we are now outputting at 4K but the image isn’t a huge noticeable step up. The sharper image adds to the rats in swarms especially in those darker moments when you know detail was lost on other platforms but otherwise it’s just a resolution bump and sure some extra detail can be spotted in the environments here and there but it’s not quite the leap forward that I had hoped.
A Plague Tale Innocence also plays a lot with themes of blurring background elements especially with camera movement so I wouldn’t say the game really lends itself to those big wow moments. Overall, it basically added minor polish and fortunately though I love this world, the locations we traverse and it was still an absolute pleasure to take this journey again.
The voice acting is top quality, the environmental effects are great at capturing the era and the music is really high quality and it just brings the world to life especially in moments of tension or when the rats appear. Their scratching sound especially never gets old and it’s as creepy as you can imagine. A Plague Tale Innocence is not the strongest PS5 upgrade we’ve seen but the locked frame rate and the resolution bump to 4K is nice.
Fortunately, though A Plague Tale Innocence itself is still a quality game and I like the characters outside of some repetitive dialogue, the story is absolutely intriguing and the world is just incredible. Newcomers or those that jump on the PS Plus release should absolutely play A Plague Tale Innocence because it’s one of the most unique IP’s out there and we have a sequel to look forward to. I hope they take what they’ve learned here and step it up another level because this world more than deserves it.
A Plague Tale Innocence is a quality game and I liked the characters outside of some repetitive dialogue, the story is absolutely intriguing and the world is just incredible. Newcomers or those that jump on the PS Plus release should absolutely play this game because it's one of the most unique IP's out there and we have a sequel to look forward to.