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Video Game / A Plague Tale: Innocence

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"I won't ask again. Where is your son?"
"In good hands."

A Plague Tale: Innocence is an action-adventure stealth game created by Asobo Studio and published by Focus Home Entertainment.

Set in France, during the early stages of The Hundred Years War, the game follows Amicia De Rune who, along with her little brother Hugo, must escape the encroaching Inquisition and the swarms of diseased rats during one of the worst pandemics in history: The Black Death.

This game provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Melie and Arthur were said to have this in their dad, which is why they ran away surviving on their own.
  • Action Survivor: Amicia, Hugo, and the orphans they meet along the way are just children who are trying to survive from the Black Death. Really, anyone surviving in this dark age is this alone.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Downplayed. Most of the alchemy is just chemistry with different names, but the Prima Macula is distinctly supernatural.
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  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: The Player Character shifts to Hugo for Chapter 14.
  • Artistic License – Biology: While the game gets a lot of things right about the time period, rats would never be able to devour a human corpse of all its flesh or rip them in half, especially going through armor regardless of how many there were. Of course, these aren't exactly normal rats.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Hugo asks Rodric if one day he'll be as strong as him.
    Rodric: Mate, you control an army of rats.
  • Badass Adorable: Amicia gradually becomes this in order to survive, especially in the story's second half.
  • Bad Boss: Vitalis sacrifices his own soldiers just to test out Hugo's power.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Amicia and Hugo's mother is presumably killed with a Gory Discretion Shot. However, it turns out she is still alive.
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  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Downplayed. Beatrice's torture leaves her with several cuts, bruises, and dirt on her face, but nothing too disfiguring, especially by the standards of medieval torture.
  • Big Bad: The Grand Inquisitor Vitalis Benevent.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Amicia and Hugo save their mother, get rid of the rats, and put a stop to the Inquisition's corrupt, unholy ulterior motive. The three of them escape together with Lucas, but Robert, Rodric, and Arthur are dead, Melie has left the group, and everyone is permanently scarred by the events of the game, and the knowledge of their bloodline's powers and the danger it puts them in. There's also the fact that killing Vitalis, even though he was excommunicated, means the Church will likely hunt them for the rest of their lives, forcing them to leave the region.
  • Blue Blood: The de Rune family, led by a respected knight, Robert, and his wife, Beatrice, a renowned alchemist. Then the Inquisition came...
  • Break the Cutie: Amicia is introduced being spirited and headstrong, but the Inquisition's raid on her home shakes her to her core, and it just gets worse from there.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In the epilogue, Hugo tries to enter into the fair. However, the two men watching over reveal that Amicia and her brother are still wanted. The two make it clear that they would let them in, and they are clearly reluctant to turn them away, but they make it clear that they would not risk any more trouble.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Through many trials, Amicia and Hugo learn to have each other's backs effectively.
    • Melie and Arthur are also this, as a pair of competent thieves.
  • Cheerful Child: Hugo and Amicia (to a lesser intent), until the Inquisition showed up. Their fresh outlook on life is understandably eroded by the third chapter.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Amicia can break enemies lamps which get them eaten by a horde of rats. Amicia clearly does not enjoy this.
  • Darkness = Death: Much of the gameplay involving rats is that if you don't have a torch you could be eaten to death. Once you unlock Hugo's power to control the rats, you start deliberately extinguishing the light to turn it against your enemies.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Amicia and Hugo are both Pest Controllers who can direct the rats. They decide to use this to quarantine the plague by steering them away from populated areas.
  • Defiant to the End: Amicia and Hugo's father, Robert, says nothing to Sir Nicholas when he offers him one last chance to turn in his son, and promptly gets executed for it.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Not surprisingly, the Middle Ages has quite a number of subjects that would not fly today.
    • Amicia is talked about becoming a lady and following the lords on hunts. Women were very much used as signs of status and were treated a lot less like actual people, being seen as pawns.
      • Similarly, her father tells her that her tomboyish attitude would very much be very different when she would marry a lord, even though he personally doesn't mind. Amicia's tomboyish antics would fly very much in the face of the standards of what women were supposed to be like and even act like in medieval Europe.
    • Cursing is seen as downright blasphemous, and especially using the Lord's name in vain infuriates many people. In the modern era, while more extreme slurs are still disliked being used in public, the minor swears do not bother anyone now.
    • The Catholic Church has a lot of power in the state and they do not hesitate to use it to their advantage. A very far cry from how secular France is now.
    • The killing of servants and civilians, including children, being depicted as normal, is very much what happened in the real Middle Ages, in stark contrast to portrayals that argued that knights were forbidden from killing civilians.
  • Deus ex Machina: The swarms of rats will frequently attack enemies at very opportune times to save Amicia and Hugo. Subverted, in that it's really Foreshadowing. After the reveal, you realize that the swarm was trying to protect their master and his sister. However, getting into rats before you can consciously control them will get Amicia killed.
  • Drunk with Power: Vitalis initially appears to be someone looking for Hugo to try to stop the plague, but he later proves to be wanting to use the power to initiate an era where he can use the power of disease as an excuse to lord over all. Unsurprisingly, this gets him excommunicated from the Church when the Pope learns of his plans.
  • Eaten Alive: Anyone who is caught by the swarm of rats and does not have a torch will be eaten alive by over a thousand rats.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In chapter 14, Hugo unlocks the ability to control the rats. However, since there are 17 chapters in total, you only get to enjoy this power for the final quarter of the game.
    • Fully upgrading Amicia’s sling and equipment counts as this too. Since it takes a colossal amount of resources for just about every upgrade, Amicia’s equipment won’t be able to be fully upgraded until chapter 15 at the earliest. This leaves only two chapters of normal gameplay and the Final Boss for the player to enjoy them, especially since if you use chapter select to return to a previous chapter, your upgrades will be reverted to whatever ones you had in that particular chapter.
  • Escort Mission: Amicia has her five-year-old brother Hugo as her charge for the story. Hugo, thankfully, isn't a burden whenever he's close to Amicia, can crawl into small spaces either to grab items or open doors.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The Church won't hesitate to excommunicate the Grand Inquisitor when they learn of his plans.
  • Evil Wears Black: Inquisitor Nicholas, who crosses over with In the Hood and Malevolent Masked Men, counts as this as he hunts Amicia and Hugo.
  • Evil Old Folks: Vitalis is clearly in his 60's (which is very old for the Middle Ages) and is very evil.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Vitalis has a deep raspy voice, which serves to underline how evil he is.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Aside from their family, and the orphans, almost every single person Amicia and Hugo encounter either try to kill them or wind up killed by the rats.
  • The Faceless: Nicholas, again. So far his face hasn't been seen, as he wears an ornately engraved helm that disguises his features.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The rats are established early as being able to strip a human to the bone in a matter of seconds. However, when the player distracts them with pieces of meat (like a side of ham), the rats will be occupied for far longer, if not indefinitely.
  • Good Parents: Amicia's and Hugo's parents are clearly this, as they intentionally shelter them in the hopes of trying to save them. The father tries to fight off the Inquisition when they arrive, and Beatrice tells the Inquisition nothing about how to use the Macula even when being tortured.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: One of the priests, in the beginning, is found dead in a stairwell, with his lower half completely destroyed due to the rats attacking him.
  • Harmful to Minors: Throughout their journey, Amicia and Hugo are exposed to death in many forms thanks to the Inquisition, the Black Death, and the ravenous rats that carry it. Amicia herself kills people who threaten Hugo's life as well as her own, which leaves her shaken to the core.
  • Historical Fiction: The Kingdom of France at an early period in The Hundred Years War.
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Vitalis drapes his language in the role of protection and saving people, but he really is a sadistic power hungry monster.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: It is indicated quite clearly that your most dangerous adversaries are the human enemies who are pursuing you, instead of the rats, which are more a force of nature if anything.
  • Human Sacrifice: Vitalis sacrifices a whole congregation of people to give him access to the powers of Hugo's blood.
  • Ill Boy: Hugo. Judging by its nature, he's not infected by the Black Death, however...
  • It's Personal: The second Vitalis reveals that he ordered the attack on her home, Amicia is out for his blood. It gets even more personal when she discovers that he is torturing Beatrice.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The game already quite a few upsetting and intense moments, but for the majority of the first half of the game, the orphans take center stage, and there is a lot of comedic banter, along with the game appearing to follow "Survive the horrible world" akin to a survival game. Then Vitalis enters the picture, and it quickly enters "Scheming ancient conspiracy" not too far out of Assassin's Creed, along with the comedy taking a nose dive.
  • Light Is Not Good: Many of the enemies you face are brutal inquisitors of the Catholic Church, who are trying to use the Plague for their corrupt purposes. The final boss is brightly lit and clad in white and commands white rats which don't fear the light, and fittingly, you have to extinguish the light to give Hugo's swarms the chance to fight him.
  • Made of Iron: Nicholas survives having a boulder-covered scaffolding collapse on top of him, then he survives being attacked by multiple swarms of rats by repeatedly lighting his sword arm on fire and killing them all. He's heavily armored, but their own heavy armor doesn't save his soldiers from rats.
  • Meat Moss: It's black rather than red, but the weird matter that builds up on every surface where rats have had dominion for long enough has this sort of look, helped by the human bones and even skeletons embedded in it.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: While the orphans are normally more or less content to try surviving at Chateau d'Ombrage, Arthur's death combined with Hugo joining their side after crossing the Threshold mobilizes them to finally attack the Inquisition itself.
  • New Era Speech: Vitalis declares that he would launch the beginning of a new era where he would save everyone from the plague with his powers.
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder: Amicia can't survive one hit from almost anything. Justified as the enemies she faces are mostly trained soldiers and rats that can consume people in seconds.
  • Power Incontinence: The reason why the rats are so feral before Hugo controls them. Hugo's sickness causes him to unwittingly summon them and attack everything including Amicia if she doesn't have a torch.
  • Reality Ensues: Aside from the Black Death being a result of ancient blood, this game has quite a fair bit of realism.
    • Any attempt by Amicia to fight well-armed soldiers goes as well as can be expected when a civilian armed with a sling goes against a well-trained soldier.
    • However knights or not a rock thrown by a sling to an unprotected head is a kill.
    • In the medieval era, people of noble birth are kept alive for ransom. Many soldiers comment on how much money Amicia will make as an excuse for keeping her alive.
    • Vitalis has people he needs alive forbidden from being harmed, but he has no trouble resorting to torture that will ensure Beatrice stays alive.
    • Rodric's push with the cart serving as a shield works fine until the cart gets about halfway there, and then Rodric's back and side are exposed to the archers, enabling them to get three arrows into him. This ultimately kills Rodric.
    • Killing Vitalis is a big one for the protagonists. Yes, Vitalis was a corrupt sadistic power-hungry monster who no one in the audience would mind, and this appears to be the case in the game itself, given that since he was excommunicated, people are a lot less hostile. But regardless of whether or not he was evil, the fact the protagonists killed such a high figure in the hierarchy of the Catholic Church means that the Church will never stop hunting them, and so they have to leave the region. Not to mention that word about Hugo's power has certainly spread.
  • The Reveal: Hugo and Amicia have supernatural powers running in their blood, which allows them to control the rats.
  • Riches to Rags: Amicia and Hugo are of noble status, but the Inquisition's arrival at their home costs them everything.
  • Rugged Scar: Facial scars of some description are very common, even on the young characters.
  • Sinister Minister: The antagonists of the game are the Inquisition, or perhaps not. As it turns out, the Inquisition pursuing you is interested in Hugo's blood to rule, and they ultimately get excommunicated.
  • Shout-Out: When Lion is killed by unseen rats, Robert mutters "What devilry is this?", a reference to Lord of the Rings.
  • Swarm of Rats: The rats will swarm you at night and will eat you alive if you do not have a light source to ward them off.
  • Suffer the Slings: Amicia's primary tool is a sling, using it to extinguish or ignite fires or throw blunt objects.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: Downplayed, but one of the villagers doesn't seem happy about following Conrad's orders to chase down random strange children. This will not stop him from giving Amicia a game over if he spots and catches her.
  • Tragic Villain: Conrad. His fellow villagers talk about him going crazy over his son's death. During his boss fight he tells Amicia the loser will die while the winner will be damned.
  • Undying Loyalty: Many servants of De Rune refuse to cooperate with the Inquisition.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: After Hugo has access to his rat swarm controlling powers, the game becomes much more action oriented as you no longer have to fear the darkness.
  • War Is Hell: On top of the horrors of the Rat Plague, the Hundred Years' War is already in full swing with once-pristine countryside being turned into a bloody quagmire of corpses, abandoned siege engines, and ruined fortifications with both the Plantagenet and Valois men-at-arms gleefully slaughtering each other and making more fodder for the rats.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The majority of the Inquisition only wants to stop the plague and believes their actions are necessary. Several soldiers willingly sacrifice themselves to try and awaken Hugo's powers, saying it would be an honor to die for the cause. Unfortunately for them, their leader does not share their views.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Inquisition has no trouble killing Amicia, though they have orders to spare Hugo.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Thousands of them. Subverted, as it turns out our heroes can control them to be nicer.


Example of: