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The Gamesplanet Summer Sale began yesterday with over 1900 titles on offer, plus rolling 24-hour flash deals on recent PC releases and old favourites. But that's not all. As a way to celebrate the occasion, Gamesplanet has kindly provided us with ten games to give away to you lovely Eurogamer readers.
As the Summer Sale has entered its second day, a new selection of flash deals are now live. Right now, that includes the likes of Hitman 2 for 15.99, Fallout 4: Game of the Year Edition for 9.75, Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition for 3.70, Dragon Ball FighterZ for 9.99, Metro Redux Bundle for 5.99, XCOM 2 for 8.50, Transport Fever for 5.99, Space Hulk: Tactics for 9.25, For Honor for 9.75 and Motorsport Manager for 5.75.
The majority of these will only be live for a short period of time so make sure you grab anything you're interested in quickly! Continue to check in throughout the rest of the week too as new titles will be reduced every morning at 10am until the end of the sale on 12th August.
We've scoured the lands looking for some top gaming deals and, shining brightly on the horizon, is this offer on Red Dead Redemption 2 over at Amazon UK.
The swish and stylish edition of Rockstar's western opus comes with a collectible SteelBook and is now only 33.99 on PS4 and Xbox One. A quick look elsewhere shows most standard versions of the game going for around a similar price, so you're getting a nice case for free here!
In fact, if you flick through the site some more, you'll see it's one of the many games on sale ahead of Amazon Prime Day 2019, even though the big bargain event doesn't start until next week.
Stealthy action adventure game A Plague Tale: Innocence looks stunning, and you'll be able to capture its full beauty in a new photo mode that's coming later this month.
Asobo Studio's creative director David Dedeine made the announcement in a video posted to Twitter on Thursday. He also revealed that a vinyl for the soundtrack would be available "soon".
"Visually beautiful and emotionally affecting thanks to strong characters" was how Malindy's 72/100 review described the game, in which you play a 15-year-old girl sheltering her younger brother from the Inquisition. A photo mode won't fix its main problems—a lack of enemy variety makes it feel samey—but it's a good excuse to jump back in and snap its gorgeous world.
How do you tackle one of the most horrific events in the history of Europe in a video game? A Plague Tale: Innocence is set in France in the year 1348 during the beginning of the worst outbreak of the plague, known today as the Black Death, and back in the Late Middle Ages as the Great Mortality. Within just a few years, most of Europe had become decimated by the plague, and many contemporaries believed that the end of the world was at hand. Today, historians estimate that on average around half of Europe's population fell victim to the Black Death.
A Plague Tale isn't shy about bringing us face to face with the inconceivable mass death brought about by the Black Death. Corpses are everywhere, piled up, haphazardly thrown into mass graves or just lying in the middle of the street. If you can stomach a closer inspection, you'll be able to spot the tell-tale black buboes, large swellings in the neck, groin or armpits. These visions are eerily similar to eyewitness accounts of the Black Death, which speak of desolate streets full of death, full cemeteries, and hastily dug pits in which the dead were placed layer upon layer, or, in the words of the contemporary chronicler Marchionne di Coppo Stefani, in the manner of a lasagne.
While impressive, apocalyptic visions of mass death are not enough to express the horror and impact of the Black Death on the lives of individuals and communities. How, for example, would one express the omnipresent and constant threat to one's life or the lives of those around you in a game? Reading historical texts, it becomes clear that it wasn't just the lethality of the pestilence that struck terror into peoples' minds, but also its aggressive and unpredictable spread. It was believed that merely looking at or speaking to a sick person could transmit the disease. The Black Death was an entirely invisible enemy that defied any attempts at comprehension or treatment. Today we know that the plague was most likely caused by fleas carried by black rats, but contemporaries attributed its origin to anything from evil vapours brought forth by earthquakes, to an unlucky conjunction of Mars and Jupiter, to Jews poisoning the wells, to God's anger against the wickedness of mankind.
Asobo Studio deserves kudos for the scale of the achievement delivered in the recently released A Plague Tale: Innocence. Where many smaller studios tap into established engines like Unreal Engine 4 or Unity for their technological needs, this outfit did things the old-fashioned way, developing its own proprietary engine technology. The end result is an absolutely beautiful game and one that scales remarkably well as we climb the console ladder and beyond to the heights of PC's most powerful graphics hardware.
I think what makes A Plague Tale really work from a visual perspective is more than just the core engine technology - though its accomplishments are significant. Combining a linear, story-driven experience with a striking art style and design running on this tech sees all components deliver something greater than the sum of their parts.
A Plague Tale: Innocence is a wonderful-looking game from its environments, to its characters, and its effects work. Just the first scene is an absolute treat, revealing a rich post-process pipeline that's reminiscent of Unreal Engine 4 at its most resplendent. There's an embarrassment of riches here, with a beautifully soft volumetric lighting solution, which looks good on all platforms but absolutely shines on PC at its highest settings. Volumetrics don't just come from the sun: lighting piercing fog, suggesting that colour and shadow are drawn from smaller point lights, such as lanterns or torches. It's also impressive to see volumetrics beam through stained glass windows, with the varying colours of the glass illuminating light shards and - impressively - the ground too. It's just one example of an attention to detail that is much appreciated and sometimes overlooked.
On a lovely afternoon in autumn, Amicia De Rune is out on a hunt with her father and the family dog, a scene so warm and tranquil you just now things are going to go very wrong very soon. That doesn’t make it any less shocking when Amicia suddenly comes face to face with the Plague, which manifests itself not only as a horrible disease, but as a teeming mass of rats that devours everything in its wake.
Amicia and her father make their way home, only to find the Inquisition at their doorstep. For reasons unknown they want Amicia’s little brother Hugo and are not above slaughtering their way through to him. Due to an illness, the small Hugo’s lived a completely sheltered life and is basically a stranger to his sister, but in the face of death it’s her task to protect him at all costs. A Plague Tale starts off strong with a completely heartrending intro to the linear stealth action-adventure that sees the siblings sneak their way through the family estate while inquisition soldiers make short work of their loved ones.
It’s also an effective introduction to your tools and responsibilities: as Amicia you keep Hugo close during sneaking passages, not letting go of his hand unless absolutely necessary and shielding him from the most gruesome sights. If there’s climbing to be done, Hugo goes up and over first, and he helps open new passages by squeezing through openings his sister won’t fit. Amicia’s sling is a multipurpose item that can be used to distract soldiers by throwing stones at nearby metal items or destroy simple fastenings of draw bridges and the like.
Soon the children make it to a small town. It’s here that not only the plague’s full extent becomes obvious, but also how woefully underprepared Amicia is to take care of a child she hardly knows and who’s fussing about wanting to return home. Hugo’s disobedience is an absolutely realistic source of frustration throughout the game, and a lot of Amicia’s character growth comes from how she handles it. Only a child herself, she can get it wrong and lose her patience, but in consistently strong dialogue she tries her best time and again to impress the seriousness of their situation onto Hugo.
Unfortunately your actions in Plague Tale for the most part don’t support the oppressive atmosphere the narrative builds, mostly because it’s a game that isn’t challenging to begin with, progressively only becomes easier and eventually almost callous. The first time you have to use violence, face a giant swarm of rats or see a pile of dead bodies all feel momentous, until all of these things turn into business as usual.
You start with nothing but your sling and a few stones, which you can use to down enemies that don’t wear helmets. Over time your arsenal grows, thanks to a number of alchemy recipes that allow you to craft bombs, sleeping draughts and rat bait. In theory this should make for a wealth of options in how to get rid of or around enemies, but Plague Tale always strongly communicates the preferred solution, either by placing specific alchemy ingredients nearby or by literally having your companion tell you what to do.
While your options grow, the number of enemy types doesn’t, and towards the middle of the game you’ve seen and fought the same handful of soldiers slowly walking their predetermined routes so often that things feel repetitive rather than threatening. Rats too turn from a horrifying force to a mere annoyance as you gain more and more ways to work around them using light or tasty soldier corpses.
The amount of violence on display also eventually poses a tonal problem—it’s difficult to believe Amicia to be truly haunted by what she’s doing when’s she’s also dropping chandeliers on people’s heads. The siblings and the friends they make along the way provide an interesting perspective on the many horrors of the 14th century and their evolving relationships with each other are A Plague tale’s great draw, but the plot taking a bizarre towards the end makes a for a botched landing at the last minute.
Children struggling to right a world wrecked by the old is a popular theme nowadays, within video games and beyond them. Asobo's often-magnificent A Plague Tale: Innocence is one of the more hopeful variations, pitching a small cast of photogenic youngsters against religious zealots and man-eating rats in medieval France. Though let down by an over-reliance on mandatory stealth, which drains a little of the sorcery from some astounding locations, it is a wonderfully dark and tender fairytale whose key draws are its frail but indefatigable protagonists.
As the curtain goes up, noble-born siblings Amicia and Hugo are chased from their family estate by Inquisition soldiers, leaving their parents for dead. The two are relative strangers to one another: the victim of a hereditary sickness, which slowly blackens his veins over the game's 10 hour story, Hugo has spent his whole life locked away in a loft with his mother, a master alchemist. This affliction is the reason for the Inquisition's raid, and you'll spend much of the plot unravelling its arcane origin. The older Amicia - the character you control for most of the game - has grown up in her father's company and is a spirited creature of the outdoors: when we first meet her, she's learning to hunt with her sling. Their home's destruction throws them together for the first time, much as the death of Faye does Atreus and Kratos in God of War, and as in Santa Monica Studio's game, the story marches to the gentle beat of their growing intimacy.
Hugo is often a source of frustration for Amicia, stuffing his hands gleefully into baskets of putrid fruit in deserted villages, and wailing in panic if she tries to explore without him. But his hard-wearing childishness in the face of incessant horror is also her greatest consolation, the thing anchoring her to herself as she does what is necessary for them both to survive. One of the game's loveliest explorations of this takes the unlikely form of a collectible, where Hugo gathers flowers he recognises from their mother's books, inviting his bedraggled and bloodied sister to stoop so that he can plait them into her hair. The flower stays in Amicia's hair for the rest of the chapter, even as you fell pursuing soldiers with your slingshot or shatter their lanterns to expose them to the rats. It's a gesture that says everything about who Amicia and Hugo are to one another, what they've lost and what they've held onto - and tracking down those blossoms quickly became as important to me as mastering the game's slightly wayward mixture of stealth and terrain puzzles.