PS3 Review – inFamous 2

Cole MacGrath was just a regular guy, but he turned out to have an extraordinary purpose. After an entire adventure and learning a dreaded future is upon them and his responsibility, Cole has to prepare himself for something never-before seen. Are you ready for inFamous 2?

The original inFamous was Sucker Punch Production’s breakout title on the PlayStation 3. After working on the Sly Cooper franchise for three iterations, SP tried something new. Moving onto an open-world format with a comic book influence, inFamous prided itself on giving the players karmic choices in this brand new city. Similar to other morality-driven games, different alignments give the players different unique abilities. And all of this was packed into a nice little parkour package; grinding across electrical wires is still an unmatched experience.

inFamous 2 starts off with Cole leaving Empire City. The end of the first game foretold of “The Beast,” a creature of unmatched power, set to destroy the future. To protect his home and the millions of people in Empire City, not to mention the rest of the world, Cole must make his way to a professor that lives in New Marais, Louisiana to advance his powers. But as he arrives, The Beast has unfortunately arrived early, and the entire game is spent in preparation as The Beast makes his way down the Eastern coast of the United States. All while Cole has this pressing mission looming over his head, he has other troubles to work with.

Not only is the Militia trying to take control of New Marais with martial law, but mysterious and grotesque monsters have also popped out of the swamps and are terrorizing the city. These creatures look like the necromorphs from Dead Space to be honest, though there is obviously no relation. While inFamous always has taken a somewhat scientific approach with its universe, monsters weren’t something expected. That one seemed to come out of the blue, while superpowers seem surprisingly normal. While it may seem frustrating, most of the story elements that seem unrelated are ultimately resolved. In ways too spoilerific to mention here, inFamous 2 builds tension through its several different story lines to come to an explosive ending.

Right off the bat, inFamous 2 feels a bit different than its predecessor. There are definitely some aesthetic changes that some might take umbrage with, but it’s ultimately for the better. For example, the first and biggest difference is that Cole no longer shoots his traditional lightning bolts, but balls of lightning at his opponents. It feels different, but it will grow on you. Also, the New-Old Cole, or the Old-New Cole (depending on how confusing you like to be) isn’t a problem whatsoever. He looks the same as in the first game with better facial animations, not that odd person with the hair. His voice is the difference here, but it still feels familiar. Cole’s lost the gravelly, grumpy quality to his voice, but this way he sounds like a regular person.

While the lightning balls may seem like an odd thing to change, they actually have a significant part to the gameplay. Instead of unlocking new powers and moves in the original, inFamous 2 adds a unique twist. While yes, experience points from enemies and quests add to the currency to buy new moves, there is an Equip-Power screen giving you the choice of which powers you want at a time. You start out with the lightning balls, but it can be swapped out for a triple-shot, long-range shot, an extra powerful bolt, or rapid fire. Different powers aren’t necessarily stronger than each other, but they cater to your specific play-style and their effectiveness in a situation. It adds to the depth of the combat and really accentuates the narrative of the choices you make.

Another big combat difference to inFamous 2 is the Amp: the electrical conduit that Cole uses as a melee weapon. The first inFamous had a primitive melee combat system and even the Gigawatt Blades, but it centered around the long-range lightning combat. Melee is incorporated much more, and it is totally for the better. Even since last E3 all the footage of fights show Cole hitting an enemy with his Amp going into slow motion. And if that happens every single time? It would start to get tedious, regardless of how cool it looks. This isn’t the case at all. Instead of breaking the flow of combat, it creates a much more rhythmic experience, reminiscent of the fights in Batman: Arkham Asylum. It’s definitely a worthy addition to this series. Continue reading…