Product Type: Sony PS3 games
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inFAMOUS 2 (PS3)
Member Name: CheesySpam
inFAMOUS 2 (PS3)
Advantages: Fantastic gameplay; great longevity; beautiful graphics full of detail; very good voice acting.
Disadvantages: Poor story; overcomplicated creation system.
When it was released in 2009, inFamous added innovation to a genre that many gamers loved, despite the games put into this category like Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row lacking something genuinely new. This game allowed you to take control of skinhead Cole MacGrath, a man with awesome electrical powers. Though it was a huge change of style for the developers, who had previously developed the light-hearted Sly Cooper games while inFamous was a very dark game. Now the sequel is here, released in June after some controversy which I'll tell you about later. But is it a worthy sequel to the electrifyingly good game, or just shockingly average? Turns out it's even better. There are a few changes that some fans of the original may dislike, but overall it's brilliant.
It's just as well I normally start here, because story is arguably the worst main aspect of inFamous 2 and I don't want to finish on a negative point, do I? The game begins with Cole battling The Beast from Kessler's visions but fails and ends up in hospital with Empire City destroyed. He is taken to a place far away named New Marais by Lucy Kuo, who recommends he sees Professor Wolfe who can help him get the powers to finish The Beast. A device named the RFI is needed to do this, but our protagonist - or antagonist - must find seven 'Blast Cores' to charge it. That's really all there is to it. The main problem with inFamous 2's story is that the sequence of events is very linear: grab all the Blast Cores, charge up the RFI and kill The Beast. Two great different endings, however, redeems it slightly but it's not really enough. This is a bit disappointing considering the story on inFamous was pretty fantastic.
Before the game came out, Cole was redesigned. He had a full head of hair and sported a much cooler look. But fans objected, claiming they had a 'connection' to the original character, so Sucker Punch changed him back. I liked the new design, but I don't really blame the developer. After all, they must want to keep their customers happy. He isn't really the same anymore, though, with a much lighter personality and much less growly voice actor. Cole's best friend Zeke is back but just the same as before but don't worry - what happened before (I won't spoil anything) is 'water under the bridge', in his own words. He fully supports Cole's mission, spying on Militia enemies throughout the city and even joining it himself to do some spying. There aren't any returning characters other than that except John's voice in the Dead Drops scattered around the city. There are several new people, though, such as Lucy Kuo and Nix. They both act as the good and bad characters respectively. Kuo is a contact of Wolfe, giving our hero help throughout the game, particularly in the second half. You meet Nix in a swamp. She isn't a villain as such, but encourages evil actions.
The basic gameplay remains the same as its predecessor. You start off with some powers including the simple bolt and shockwave which knocks enemies off their feet. You also get to 'ride the lightning', speeding across metal wires across the city. The sewer sections are no more - this time you earn powers through finding new Blast Cores. These range from electric-infused grenades to small but powerful storms that can wipe out large groups of enemies. The upgrade system is very similar to before. There are specific o depending on what karma you are (which I'll come to after). You need to perform different stunts, for example, getting a head shot to unlock these. When available, they cost XP which you can earn for completing missions and doing the stunts. There are plenty of upgrades to use and the game allows you to find the best combination and use it for the best results though some people will prefer the powers at their most basic because there are some disadvantages to the upgraded versions, such as being slower to use. Thankfully you can change back and forth between original and levelled up abilities. You can't just use powers as much as you please though. There are dots of energy across the top of the screen. These go when you use energy. Using a bolt will only make a dot slightly smaller, but a rocket will cost considerably more. To recover energy, you must suck the energy out of electrical objects using L2.
A very big part of inFamous was the morality system, and it returns in the sequel. You can be either Good or Evil in the game. Being Good generally means healing ill civilians and rescuing hostages. If you're Evil, however, you are obviously much more disrespectful - killing the many musicians and campaigners complaining about you. For each karmic state, there are three ranks. You are rewarded depending on your rank. At the highest rank of Good, you gain energy for hitting enemies while at the highest rank in Evil, using a 'Bio Leech' gives you unlimited energy for a few seconds. At various points in the Story, you get to choose between two different missions that give you Good or Evil karma points, depending on what mission you choose. This is a cool part of the game that adds a fair bit of replay value. There are also side missions for each of the karmic states. Sadly, the moments that give you choices aren't as frequent in this.
Sucker Punch promised improved melee combat. In the first game it was a bit too basic, simply a case of tapping square constantly. Now you get the Amp, an electrical device. Hit an enemy with it twice and you finish them off with a fancy looking attack. It isn't all that good to start off with but over time you can upgrade it to earn finisher attacks that are beautifully animated and quicker combos meaning that you can use finisher attacks after only one or two hits. It's still not a perfect system, but one that will impress much more than before.
Don't be disappointed after completing the main campaign because there's still plenty left to do. There are more than 60 side missions in the game. They range from just killing a boss that is on a rampage to destroying a boat full of enemies. Some of my favourites were using the camera to take pictures of various things, such as electrical poles and flying enemies. They aren't very exciting but mixed things up a bit, adding something different to the game. Though the devs really should work on looking at your legs through the camera. There are things called Blast Shards scattered around the city, hidden on buildings or even inside bombs. Getting a number of these increases the number of dots on your energy. With over 300 of these scattered around the city, you're bound to take a few hours to discover all of these! But don't worry - completing 60 side missions earns you Blast Shard Sense, which shows them up on the map so you won't be searching around forever. There are also nearly 30 'Dead Drops' to find. Last time they came in the form of satellite dishes on roofs but now they are tags on carrier pigeons. Shoot them down to collect it. These are audio messages that reveal some of the story. Most of them involve Wolfe, Kuo and John at the time the Ray Sphere exploded. Earning them may only give you a Silver trophy, but for some they are a reward in their own right.
==Graphics and Sound==
Even in the unlikely case you don't like the game, you have to admit that inFamous 2 looks brilliant. The city is very detailed - despite being huge, a lot of effort has been put into making every last square inch as good as all the rest. New Marais is a much brighter and livelier place than Empire City was. It has a lot more personality, and the city is split into several parts, each one with its own unique look. The name says it all in Flood Town. Remember, electricity doesn't mix well with water so there are some great opportunities to fry your enemies with style. Next to it is an industrial city right next to the sea, full of huge buildings and even containing a massive ice tower. From the top you can see the city at its best. There is also a place full of lights. It even has a cinema with film listings of 'Latch It and Skank', 'Hey, Low Reach', 'Little Big Unit' and more. Why do those names sound familiar? There is also some great voice acting. Cole has a new, much less abrasive voice which is much different than in original. It somewhat matches his new, much lighter personality. Zeke, Kuo and Nix also have some great voice actors, but I can't really say the same for the characters who give you side missions. Most sound strange. In fact, they're very strange. The music isn't so memorable but is quite good when you are listening to it, with some fast-paced tracks that suit the action in the battles.
The 16+ rating for inFamous 2 isn't really unreasonable at all. Violence is the main reason. When you attack enemies, there is no blood but you are rewarded for killing them in a variety of ways. Civilians on the street can be killed and you are even given points for doing this when you are Evil. Despite the fact that this isn't as violent it is in GTA, a 12+ rating wouldn't have been high enough. There is also occasional strong language. S**t is rarely used, but more minor uses like ba*t**d are heard a bit more often. One of the main enemies in the game is seen with a cigar at one point. There are also some boss battles which involve some nasty looking creatures that some younger players may find disturbing. I wouldn't recommend anyone under 12 play this.
Despite being a really good game, it has some negative points. One is the creation system. It could be fairly good, but that's for anyone who really understands it. There are far too many switches and buttons for me. Next is the story - it really doesn't live up to the gripping storyline in inFamous. This has a far too linear plot, despite a morality system which could really have affected the whole story. However, the Dead Drops, which reveal events that take place previously, during and after the original game. If you can look past the weak narrative, though, you will find a truly excellent title.
inFamous 2's gameplay is simply fantastic. There are some great powers and while you sadly don't earn all of them until later in the game, you still get a lot of chance to experience them as you can continue when all the main missions are complete. There is a great upgrade system which enhances your time with the title. The morality system, despite what some people say, is very good in my opinion. It changes the way civilians act towards you and there are some exclusive missions depending on what karmic state you are. It also offers longevity, with loads of side missions, Blast Shards and Dead Drops to find. I really recommend you play it twice, too, so you discover the two endings and different missions. The graphics are heavily improved. The animations are excellent, and the city is full of detail. There is some great voice acting. While Cole's voice actor is different, I think he does a great job although hardcore fans of the original game may dislike it. The other voice actors also do brilliantly. Overall, this is one of the greatest PS3 exclusives. For fans of action games, this is an essential purchase.
This review is also posted on Ciao under my name YoshiCheesePuff.
Summary: Essential for all fans of action games.
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