It’s been more than two years since the release of A Plague Tale: Innocence on PC and old generation consoles, but the memory of those who have had the opportunity to play the Asobo Studio title is undoubtedly still alive. Starting a little quietly compared to other more high-sounding productions, the adventure of the French team has in fact managed to be appreciated both by critics and the public, making people talk about themselves on several occasions.
It is a product not free from some defects, but able to convince above all thanks to the setting and the narrative aspect, which we also had the opportunity to deepen at the time through a special seen from the eyes of a parent.
A deserved success then, which Asobo Studio recently celebrated with the announcement of the sequel A Plague Tale: Requiem, coming in 2022, and with the news of the publication of A Plague Tale: Innocence also on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X | S, as well as on the Nintendo Switch in the cloud version.
A great opportunity to recover this title in case you missed it during the previous generation, considering that the game is available for download at no additional cost either via subscription to Playstation plus that a Xbox Game Pass, with the addition of support for the hardware capabilities offered by the two platforms.
Having made the necessary premises, we just have to get to the heart of ours A Plague Tale: Innocence review for PS5 and Xbox Series X | S.
Plot and gameplay
In many respects it is, of course, the same A Plague Tale: Innocence that we saw a couple of years ago: we will not therefore be repeating in detail the same things written in the review of A Plague Tale: Innocence published in its time. For the benefit of those who want a small summary onsetting however, we remember that the story told takes place in the Kingdom of France in 1348, struggling with the Hundred Years War against the Kingdom of England. In addition to this conflict, like all of Europe, the house of the De Rune family (which we know at the beginning of the story) is overwhelmed by the black plague, thus starting the particularly dark period in which the world imagined by the developers of A Plague Tale: Innocence.
The protagonist is the young Amicia, forced to leave home in the company of her little brother Hugo, suffering from a mysterious illness. The two will thus have to make their way through battlefields and places infested by rats, to be carefully avoided as they are number one suspects for the spread of the disease.
As for the gameplay of A Plague Tale: Innocence, the dominant component is undoubtedly the stealth one. A girl and a child would certainly not be able to hold a candle to hordes of soldiers, especially considering that Amicia is only equipped with a sling. The latter can still be used in case of need as a weapon, especially on the occasion of some obligatory confrontations, but its main use is to distract the enemies by making noise away from the two children and thus allowing the young woman and her brother Hugo to sneak undisturbed. The level of challenge proposed to the player is not particularly high, but fortunately it is possible to modify some parameters of the options to make sure to add a pinch of pathos to the adventure.
The PS5 version
So we come now to the test on nextgen, carried out on PlayStation 5. First of all, you need to download the 1.09 patch which adds the features related to the new consoles to A Plague Tale: Innocence. The first difference is noticed as soon as the game is started: the PS5 remains silent, while trying to run the PS4 Pro version you immediately hear the fans start at full capacity. All this right from the initial menu, without even starting the actual game. This is a very welcome practical aspect for our ears.
From a technical point of view, the notes of the nextgen patch of A Plague Tale: Innocence speak of support for 4K UHD, which however in the final act translates into a more modest resolution of 2560x1440p. However, this is a gain if we consider that the PlayStation 4 Pro version ran with its 1080p in upscaling, but obviously far from the true 4K resolution guaranteed by the PC version.
Beyond the technicalities, to the simple examination of the eye the graphic improvement is tangible especially for what concerns the image cleaning, to complete what was already an excellent job in the care of colors and settings, inspired by the paintings of Claude Lorrain. If in the review of the PlayStation 4 version we complained about a loss of detail in the transition from the internal to the external scenes, now everything is always extremely more sharp. Facial details such as freckles are thus much better distinguished and the rendering of the characters’ hair appears much improved. The blur effect in the image has also been significantly reduced, which previously often accompanied the action.
From the transition to the nextgen, the management of the lights also gains, especially as regards the lighting of the characters in the dim light and the management of shadows in general. Another welcome element is the transition to sixty frames per second, which net of very slight drops makes the action of the game flow more fluidly. We also note what is practically a reset of the loading times, thanks to which it is possible to get to the heart of A Plague Tale: Innocence in a few moments.
As for the PlayStation 5 version, we also register support for the features offered by the controller DualSense. The game is now much more precise in giving feedback to the player through vibration, also improving certain phases of the gameplay through this aspect. When we run away from some pursuer, for example, we can “feel” Amicia’s faster and more frightened step in our hands, thus at least partially feeding the feeling of really having breath on the neck, which instead was missing a bit in the old version. Similarly, when the protagonist rotates her slingshot we can now perceive with the controller the movement that is made, finding the inevitable resistance in the adaptive trigger of the R2 button when we go to throw the stone.
For those who love to play using a good pair of headphones, such as the Pulse 3D, it will finally be pleased to know about the 3D audio support, which certainly does not hurt.