inFamous Review (for the PS3)

I haven’t done one of these in a while. Figured I might as well catch up and do another review…at least a brief one…

And what a game to review! Infamous (technically “inFamous“, although typing it that way will annoy me, so I’m going to just refer to it as Infamous) is a hell of a ride. It’s arguably the best Playstation 3 exclusive to date, counting MGS IV and Uncharted.
In Infamous you play the role of Cole, a bicycle messenger whose delivery of a package goes horribly awry. The package explodes, although Cole doesn’t, and the resulting blast imbues him with superpowers — specifically, the ability to manipulate energy.
The game unfolds in a Grand Theft Auto style, with side missions that recover “territory” for you and story missions that advance the game. In terms of action, there’s a certain Devil May Cry element to it — you can do amazing leaps and jumps onto all sorts of surfaces, “grind” electrical wires, and basically scale any structure you see. Gameplay is never boring and you’ll find yourself loving shooting off your various electrical array. To repower yourself, you can suck up energy from any number of electrical conduits.

An Evil Cole drains energy…

Along the way, you’ll be picking up “blast shards” from the initial explosion that extend your power meter, as well as collecting “Dead Drops”; recorded messages placed on satellite dishes that advane the storyline of the game. Think of them as hidden packages from GTA.
One of the biggest gimmicks in Infamous is the Karma Meter. Almost all missions will give you an opportunity to choose between good and evil actions (and there are specific good and evil side missions) which will drive your Karma either up or down. Drive it down enough and you’ll be shooting red lightning and people will react to you as a villain; drive it up enough and you’ll see the city plastered with posters of you as a hero.
Whether you’re good or evil also gives you your powers. There are good and evil levels for each power, and a special power for good and evil each. You choose. There’s no downside to going evil, and there’s no upside to going good.
The graphics are luscious. Sucker Punch really went all out on this one; “Empire City” looks beautiful. The AI is pretty good, and I believe it’s adaptive — that is, it will evolve to match your play style (I could be wrong on this one, but I’m pretty sure I read that it was adaptive AI). Either way, while you’ll be facing some challenging missions down the road, the game never becomes utterly impossible, and Infamous is very good at reloading missions quickly if you fail them.
Bottom line: This is a must-have for your PS3 library.
The quick breakdown:
Graphics: A-
Gameplay: A
Storyline: B
Replay Value: B+
Learning Curve: 1-2 hours
Overall: A-
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