inFamous 2: review

inFamous, other than being the incorrect way to write infamous, was also a third-person, free-roaming PS3 exclusive from 2009 telling the tale of Cole MacGrath and his unwilling journey into becoming either a hero or an anti-hero after an incident leaves him with the ability to channel electricity. It was also probably one of the two games you selected from Sony’s Welcome Back package. Two years on, Sucker Punch has finally released inFamous 2.

The original game closed with Cole receiving a warning: keep getting stronger, as a powerful enemy called The Beast will appear. Set a month after receiving this warning, Cole is just about to leave Empire City to meet a scientist who claims to be able to make him infinitely stronger when The Beast makes a premature appearance and attacks the city. Cole has no choice but to try and defeat The Beast there and then, with things not ending in his favour. Fleeing to New Marais, Cole must recover his powers and grow stronger before the next confrontation with his enemy.

While this opening helps create immediate tension, and helps burn into the player’s mind that after fleeing the destroyed city you are hunted as The Beast burns its way through eastern America chasing you, it is also an excuse to drag Cole back from the powerful point he ended the first game at. While not all his powers are removed, many are – most noticeably his ability to snipe with high powered bolts and his ability to fire condensed balls of electricity that act like rockets. It is disappointing to once again have to work your way up to these powers despite there now being variants of them – and all other abilities – based on power levels or karmic alignment.

For the most part gameplay has not changed. Cole uses his internal stored energy to push, bash and shock enemies while constantly having to charge up by draining nearby sources of electricity (cars, lampposts, etc.). Melee attacks have gotten a little more attention with Cole now wielding The Amp, which acts as a sword. It doesn’t make much sense bringing a sword to a gun fight, but eventually special (and easily performed) finishers fully restore Cole’s energy reserves.

You explore a fairly large open-world city with collectables, main missions and side missions scattered throughout. There are also frequent randomly spawned chances to alter your karma in a positive or negative way – such as healing someone who is wounded or beating up a street performer. Yes, evil Cole is that hardcore.

Karmic choices overall are just as arbitrary to the plot as they were in the first game, only really acting as a means to force you to pick a power route rather than anything important. Yes, the middle of the game changes, but in the long run the plot does not. This is true only up to the final decision of the game – which lets you pick either choice no matter what alignment you reach it at and changes you fully to the opposite side if you have a last minute change of heart, further condemning everything previous as utterly unnecessary.

What is new is that player made levels can appear on your map. You can turn these off if desired, but some (particularly those actually made by Sucker Punch staff) are worth trying just because they are so ridiculous. It adds a strange type of longevity in that you can carry on playing or making these missions after the game has finished; though the only real staying power lies in playing the whole game through as the opposite karmic alignment just to have a new set of powers to play with – and playing with your powers is still good fun.

We encountered some glitches while playing, though these can be described as the usual you might expect from any free-roaming title. We were stuck in a jump at one point, stuck in scenery on another occasion, and had an enemy death animation play twice in a row. Most of these fixed themselves with some careful bashing of the pad. The game also can’t cope if you try to interact with an object while something else is blocking your path, with Cole’s animations going very wrong – especially in one memorable valve-turning moment that left us in stitches.

While the graphics have clearly been improved since the first game, the improvements are hardly ground-breaking. Characters look a little better, but some are still a little… off. Cole’s design in particular (which has fallen about halfway between the original Cole and the new one Sucker Punch revealed that appalled fans) is extremely distracting due to his similarity to Wayne Rooney.

Voice work remains strong (except perhaps Nix who just got on our nerves) and the music, while unmemorable, gets the job done.

inFamous 2 is let down by small errors similar to those made in the first game, yet remains a fun experience that is worth a look from people who are fans of unconventional superhero stories. It takes no chances and offers more of the same, tipping it further towards mediocrity rather than greatness as a result. The endings may leave people unsatisfied for various reasons, but the journey to them should be enough to keep your attention and interest.

Oh, and if you are in two minds about getting this game, someone clearly thought the thing which would tip the scale is early access to the Uncharted 3 multiplayer beta. Amazing.


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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

One comment

  1. XXredXX /

    its your cal. for me this game is a 9, yes its a AAA~game. i have a platinum trophy. its a top game…..

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