inFAMOUS 2 Review

Infamous 2 PS3 Review

Infamous 2 is a special kind of sequel. On paper it seems to do everything right. Larger than life bosses, more superpowers, a deeper story; it expands on what made the first game great fun. Sadly, Infamous 2 adds more to what made the first great while forgetting to fix and tweak existing mechanics. This along with a muted sense of progression, an overactive camera, and technical issues makes Infamous 2 a very worthy sequel, but not a great one.

Eeeasy boy....eeeeasy...good boy...

Infamous 2 picks up right after the events of the first. After defeating Kessler and receiving the vision of the Beast, Cole is contacted by NSA agent Lucy Kuo who claims to know a way to help Cole get stronger, provided he accompanies her to New Marais. And how can he refuse? Just as they are about to set sail, the Beast appears and makes quick work of Cole. Patched up and in anew city, Cole must find the key to amplifying his powers and gaining new ones. The story is much more interesting than the first with shocking reveals and enough twists to keep you engaged until the end.

The vastly superior facial and body animations help make the characters much more likable than the marionettes of the first game. The morality system of the first game is back, and here, the choices you make have more drastic consequences, and the endings that accompany the good and evil paths are radically different and equally satisfying. I do take issue, like I did with the first game, with how cut and dry the morality system is. All the choices are between being a total bastard or the paradigm of all that is good in the world, and since the more powerful abilities are only available as you go further down a certain path, the game only encourages sticking to one path; some shades of gray would have been nice.

You can fly!? HE CAN FLY!!!

Infamous 2’s setting is much improved. A medley of southern towns (mostly New Orleans), New Marias is a very welcome setting and much more interesting that Empire City or other New York-inspired game worlds. This one city offers a great amount of variety from the urban environments of downtown, to the creature infested swamps, the industrial district, or the hazardous Floodtown, each district of New Marias offers radical different settings. The distinctions between the districts aren’t just cosmetic, the way you play is greatly affected by where you are. If you’re running around in the swamp, make each shot count as electrical devices are few and far between. If you find yourself in Floodtown, get really familiar with the Ice Launch and Static Thrusters to avoid the water hazards. And if you’re running missions in the Industrial District, the Lighting Tether is a must. The switches in the way you approach gameplay are welcome, but also show a muted sense of progression. In the first game, once you had unlocked a power, it was always available and any variations of that power would compound on its existing traits. This gave you the sense that you were becoming much more powerful, ending with you feeling like the ultimate badass at the end of the game. In Infamous 2, powers do not compound on one another, you must choose between its variations. This new system curbs the feeling of empowerment and never gives you the feeling that you are getting stronger (Ice Launch plus Lightning Tether would have equaled awesome sauce), just getting a few new toys to play with. It also gets annoying quickly once you realize that you will have to jump in and out of menus to pick powers appropriate to each situation.

The climbing and traversal of the first game is back and pretty much unchanged. While this system (which automatically gravitates you towards a platform) allows for easy and relatively pain-free climbing, it becomes very bothersome when you need to make precise jumps on smaller platforms. It was an issue with the first game’s traversal, so it stands out as a pretty big disappointment that it was not fixed for the follow up.

Other gameplay issues include a sloppy camera that moves way too fast and makes you lose your bearings, as well as Cole occasionally and inexplicably getting stuck in corners when there are hardly any objects in his way. Combine that with a final mission that crashed on me twice, and Infamous 2 causes its fair share of frustrations. Other than that though, the gameplay is fairly solid like the first with plenty of side-quests, blast shards, and dead drops.  The final piece to this pie is the addition of User-Generated Content (UGC). Not unlike Little Big Planet, Infamous 2 allows players to build, download, and play missions they and others create. The game already comes shipped with a handful of missions made by the Sucker Punch team using the UGC tools, but none of them are impressive. It’s surprising really, considering how in depth the tools can go, just know that they are not the easiest to wrap your head around.

While it doesn’t refine the first games formula, it continues it with a good amount of success and a much improved story to boot. The over-sensitive camera will frustrate, and the side-quests and activities can grow repetitive, but fans of the first will find much to like here. For everyone else, if your not into open world games, this is a bit of a buyers beware.

GGC Score: 7 out of 10

About Abel Girmay

Just living, loving, and learning. What else is there to do?

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