inFAMOUS 2 (Only available on PlayStation 3)
ESRB Rating: T
Number of Players: 1
Developer: Sucker Punch
Release Date: June 7, 2011
PSN: Downloadable content
Parent Talk: inFAMOUS 2 is rated T for Teen by the ESRB for blood, drug references, strong language, sexual themes, alcohol use and violence. The hero can electrify and hurl exploding objects and rip out a innocent bystander’s life force. It’s not Grand Theft Auto, but player discretion is advised.
Review Basis: Completed the single player campaign as a hero on Medium and began a new evil campaign on Hard. Acquired over 70% of the trophies and pursuing more. Also played many user-created missions and tried to create one. Intention is to ‘Platinum’ the game. inFAMOUS 2 is not 3D-compatible, so was able to review the game as Sucker Punch intended.
Choosing your path. When Cole is fully powered up, as a face or heel, you really enjoy a sense of accomplishment. Your skill set is diversified enough that saving the day feels, as it should, satisfying. This is true if you’re a super villain too. Firing electric rockets, summoning a lightning storm or hurling cars at enemies does that to you. It’s these moments that make inFAMOUS 2 sensational and superior to other sandbox games, Prototype included.
+ New powers. Enhance Cole’s electric arsenal is one thing, unlocking an entirely new set is something else. Fire or ice, you decide, but both add a new dimension of fun to this outstanding sandbox franchise.
+ Quality missions. The campaign offers a variety of tasks to accomplish: taking down enemy strongholds, finding and fighting off hoards of biological creatures, etc. Eventually some seriously wicked boss fights have you hanging onto a helicopter while a giant Godzilla-type monster tries to eat you. All in a day’s work.
+ Freedom and content. inFAMOUS offers freedom that doesn’t hinder gameplay. It’s fun just running around New Marais. Add to that the scattered 305 blast shards, 29 dead drops and what could be a bothersome collect-a-thon is an enjoyable way to kill 20 hours.
+ You start powerful. Cole begins with his ability to glide in mid-air, grind electrical wires and a few others you had before. It’s great to not have to start back at zero. You hear that Metroid developers?
+ Time to upgrade. Everything you do earns XP. With enough XP and story progression, you can purchase power-ups. It’s the same system from inFAMOUS, but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it, right?
+ The past counts. If you loved inFAMOUS, chances are you finished either the hero or evil side of the story minimum. That’s good news because certain bonuses are unlocked here based on those previous performances.
+ Smoother scaling. A gripe I had with the original was Cole’s inability to differentitate a windowsill from a smooth brick wall. That’s fixed now, with Cole easily able to scale a building within seconds, making traversing New Marais that much more enjoyable.
+ Strong presentation. The visuals are vastly improved, with better animation and higher polygon counts for the interactive environments and characters that populate them. The audio is just as refined thanks to stronger effects and a more pleasant soundtrack.
+ UGC = User-generated content. This is a great supplement to the single player experience. While no true multiplayer is featured, players can create missions with a variety of tools. They’re unfortunately more cumbersome than what’s offered in LittleBigPlanet, but work. Already what’s available is staggering. Some user missions are amazing.
+/- You’re expected to know the lore. Players may not understand all the characters and their intricate pasts. This is especially true for Cole’s friend Zeke and his old nemeses Kessler. inFAMOUS 2’s plot is designed to be much more dramatic than expected, but falls flat when twists end up as nothing more than clichés. The ending will leave no one surprised.
+/- Melee combat still isn’t there. While very improved, there’s something missing, either in the combo chaining or a hard-to-pinpoint issue. Sucker Punch, you’re on the right track so keep it up.
– Karma. Your choices impact the story very little. It simply splits off, so compared to franchises like Mass Effect the system is really primitive. There are no shades of gray. You’re either good or evil, despite what Sucker Punch says.
– The side missions. They become repetitive quickly, as do the new emergency missions. These are brief segments that have you rescue sick people or assassinate troublesome street music artists. After a while it all feels tacked on.
Cole, what happened to your voice? Sorry to whomever replaced the original actor, but you don’t sit well with me. The acting is fine, but it’s jarring for a new voice actor to replace the one that already defined the character.
inFAMOUS 2 is a sensational game plagued by a few hiccups. The user-generated missions add a brand-new community atmosphere to what’s already a lengthy and enjoyable sandbox actioner. If Sucker Punch brings us inFAMOUS 3, I hope they tweak the karma so it’s more interconnected and long-lasting. It’s just a tad too cut and paste for my liking. If you desire to become the greatest hero or worst villain New Marais has ever known, inFAMOUS 2 has got you covered. Buy it now.