inFamous 2 for the PS3: Review

The first inFamous dropped like a bomb on the Playstation 3 exclusive scene. It was probably the best exclusive Sony IP people had seen. I’m happy to report that, aside from a few minor grievances I have with the game, the sequel is very satisfying — provided you liked the original inFamous, because inFamous 2 is basically a clone of it.

Storywise, inFamous 2 occurs after the events of inFamous and the destruction of Empire City. Cole (you) and his buddy Zeke head down to a town down on the Gulf Coast named New Marais in search of “Blast Cores”, which will give Cole the extra powers he needs to defeat “The Beast”, a mysterious monster tearing a path of destruction down the whole Eastern Seaboard. If you missed the first inFamous, don’t worry, it’s pretty easy to figure things out. If you have played the first inFamous, and kept a save file, you’ll get a bonus — a chance to import some of your Karma and experience points from inFamous to inFamous 2.

It should be noted that while you are ostensibly in New Marais merely to acquire new powers, you start off with a lot of powers already. Which means the powers you are going to get are well beyond the powers that were in the first inFamous (though you’ll be regaining some of those, too — like my personal favorite, the “Precision” power, that slows time and allows you to zoom and target a very small area — perfect for headshots).

inFamous 2 continues using the Karma system implemented in the first inFamous. Bad actions lead you towards negative karma, good actions lead you toward positive karma. As you progress in your campaign, if you stick to evil or good (and not mix the two), you will end up unlocking new and awesome powers that vary based on whether you’re evil or good, and exactly how evil or good you are. These powers also require experience points to unlock, which you earn by finishing missions and performing side tasks such as healing wounded civilians or stopping muggings and such — if you want to play as the good guy, of course.

A unique twist to this, however, is achieved by adding two characters: Nix and Kuo. I won’t go into their backstories and spoil things for you, but you get Kuo at your side for major missions if you choose to be good, and you get Nix at your side for missions if you choose the path of evil. Each have a different array of powers, some of which can actually combine with your own powers for intriguing attacks and massive damage. For instance, Kuo can shoot a cloud of mist at an enemy, which, if shocked by Cole, will put surrounding enemies in blocks of ice they cannot escape from (in other words, for them, it’s “Game over, dude!”). Nix works similarly. However, they are not limited to just directly aiding you; the AI is good enough for them so that they’ll go out on their own and engage enemies.

Cole goes for a little "shock and awe" in inFamous 2 (click to enlarge)

Speaking of the AI, it’s not just good with Nix and Kuo; it seems that Sucker Punch has worked on improving enemy AI. They seek cover very well, they can attempt to flank you and perform more complex strategies than I recall from the first inFamous.

This installment of inFamous gives me one thing I felt was sorely lacking in the first inFamous — a much improved (or rather, *existent*) melee system that can be upgraded the same way as your powers are. inFamous 2 also removes some of the more boring and repetitive missions from the first inFamous — I would say that the quality of missions in inFamous 2 is much better, and the missions themselves are more varied in objectives.

inFamous 2 virtually demands a replay so you can go the opposite way, Karma-wise, than you did the first time around, so you can see what the powers are on the other side of the morality spectrum. There are also graphical changes in Cole’s appearance depending on which path you’re choosing to go down. On this first playthrough I’m going for positive Karma, so I have a Cole with a white shirt, a kind face, and who shoots glows blue (I believe taking the evil path gives you a red aura).

Sucker Punch has also added something very interesting — UGC, or “User-Generated Content”. In other words, missions created by players themselves. While I was playing, most of the UGC missions had been written by Sucker Punch themselves, but I began to see a few true user-generated missions cropping up. One was titled simply “Large Scale Shootout” and it delivered exactly what it promised (a large-scale shootout — *bonk*). This essentially makes the game “infinitely” playable, in a way.

My only complaint, so far, regarding inFamous 2, is that, unlike the first inFamous, I haven’t had a “Wow!” moment yet. You know, “Wow, holy s**t, am I actually doing this?” moments? Haven’t had any so far. But I’m still only about 2/3rds of the way through the game. Some people may find the graphics are not luscious enough for their tastes, but whatever Sucker Punch has taken away graphically, it has added to speeding up the engine so that you can engage in massive battles without the game hitching for even a second.

I give inFamous 2 a solid 9.25 out of 10.


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