This is a game that really flew under the radar for me, but I’m glad that it finally got my attention. Apparently this snuck up on a lot of people, and as such leads me to believe that sales are not going to be especially good. Which is a bummer because this is a game that is really worth your time if you’re like me and looking for a good story. The comparison has been done between this and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, but while I don’t totally agree with the comparison, I see how people got there. It’s a AA game, with a price tag to match, but with gorgeous visuals and a LOT of heart. Let’s talk about it.
The story goes that Amicia de Rune is a noblegirl living in 14th Century France. It’s a nice day until a mysterious force kills her dog and the Inquisition come calling, forcing her and her little brother Hugo to flee. Now, with only her little brother and the various allies she meets along the way, Amicia has to find a way to stay alive, stop her little brother’s sickness, not get eaten by nightmare-inducing plague rats, and get back at the people who took her life away from her.
This game has a lot of things going for it. The first is the visuals. This game is gorgeous! It’s fantastic use of setting and both ambient light and ambient dark is just phenomenal. There is also how they animated the endless hordes of rats. Those things are equal parts creepy and vivid. There isn’t a single area where I would say this game’s visuals faltered. Every character is expressive and looks the part. The setting looks harsh as you’d expect from the 14th century. Thanks to books like Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series, people tend to romanticize that time period, when in reality it was pretty awful. Kings by that time period were not living the kinds of lives you think. So yeah, it looks amazing.
Next up is the performances. This game is pretty damn solid. Both in English and French. I wanted to play in the latter for immersion’s sake. Get that whole feel for being in a French story. But English is pretty fantastic as well. Amicia definitely steals the show. You can see her transition from a sister who has a responsibility put upon her to someone who genuinely cares for Hugo. Speaking of, he also isn’t that bad. Apparently it was a young girl who did his voice, and she’s no slouch. Child actors is always a risk, because FAR more often than not, they suck. Like, a lot. But in this case, they nailed it pretty well. I believed that this is an actual little kid. It’s not perfect, but given the competition, they are definitely bringing their A game.
The side characters almost all have a lot of charm to them. We don’t get a huge amount of time to know them, but the three that stuck out to me most were Milia, Roderic, and Lucas. Milia and Amicia’s banter makes me think that they could be actual besties, if things hadn’t have ended the way that they did. Hopefully they find each other again. Roderic is just such a lovable thug. Just this adorable, lovable thug. But the biggest side-character who stands out is Lucas. He has this obsession with being an amazing alchemist that you can identify with. He’s quirky but smart. And the relationship he develops with Amicia makes me wonder if one day they could be a thing. It would be charming.
The mechanics of this game are where your mileage can vary. See, here’s the thing about Amicia – she’s a teenage girl living in a time when most people battle you with swords and arrows. As such, she’s definitely at a hardcore disadvantage. And when I say hardcore, I’m not kidding. One hit and she’s dead. That’s it. At no point does she gain more ability to take damage. As such, the tool at your disposal is stealth. This is a stealth game through and through. It’s all about using your sling, alchemy, and the environment to your advantage. And enemies are not completely oblivious. What’s more, it’s about using the very rat hordes you are trying to avoid to your own advantage. It’s also in your best interest to make the most of your surroundings and search everywhere, since there is crafting loot in the strangest of places, but worth your time to check. You can also find neat collectibles that have their own stories. For my part, the only frustration was when you are forced to defend a point from attackers and you still can only take one hit. That got frustrating pretty quick, since you only have your sling as a weapon and that has wind-up and cool-down.
One thing that is always fun is the boss fights. I know, in a game where you can literally take one hit, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. But you learn to use your surroundings to your advantage, and be strategic in how you play. There is a fantastic mechanic you unlock later that makes two of the fights just so fantastic.
Another thing that caught my attention in the game is the sprinting mechanic. It looks so ridiculous. Hugo has it worse, but Amicia is no better. They look like wind-up toys. It’s a little nit-pick, I admit, but you do have to do it often, and it never stops being funny.
Overall, this is a pretty fun little game. It’s middleware, and I’m okay with that. I miss the days when there were the big AAA games, and AA games like this where devs could take risks and really do something unique. If you think this is up your alley, I’d recommend checking it out.
8 out of 10