by Joseph Barron
reviewed on PS3
Are you ready to become inFAMOUS?
Developed by famed studio, Sucker Punch, masterminds of the Sly Cooper franchise, inFAMOUS is a PlayStation 3 exclusive open-world superhero game in the same vain as Activision’s Spider-Man series. The story follows the path of Cole, a courier in Empire City, who unwittingly finds himself delivering the most deadly of packages. The game opens after Cole’s mysterious delivery goes horribly wrong, causing a huge explosion which tears the city apart, levelling 6 blocks completely. Somehow Cole survives the explosion and discovers to his surprise that he has developed powerful electrical abilities. With the city in ruins and cut off by the US government, Cole pledges to make amends for the disaster that he started.
Welcome to Empire City
inFAMOUS’ gorgeous opening cutscene makes a great first impression with its stylised comic book visuals. Once you are in engine some of that sheen is lost, but the hyper-reality of the world remains instantly engaging. Unfortunately, as Sucker Punch themselves have admitted, the game engine clearly wasn’t designed with PS3 architecture in mind. Many of the NPC character models lack detail and the odd low-res texture can look a little out of place. Secondary characters and enemies can appear a little stiff and robotic in the way they animate as well, especially during the occasional in-engine cutscenes.
Thankfully the special effects have enough of an impact that you often won’t be paying too much attention to what is underneath. The electricity and lightening effects that Cole can create with his superpowers are really something to behold. They completely draw you into the fast-paced and frenetic combat. The blue and red of the electricity stand out against the often grey background of Empire City. The city itself is teeming with pedestrians and enemies and is definitely one of the better realised open-worlds in recent gaming history.
Become the hero… or the antihero
Controlling Cole and navigating the massive city is an absolute joy. The basic movement and platforming mechanics lean heavily towards the style of Xbox 360’s hit Crackdown, so don’t expect to get away with holding down a couple of buttons, Assassin’s Creed style. Right from the start you will quickly be using ledges and pipes to scale tall buildings. Cole is much more agile than most other game characters and can even climb up flat surfaces, provided they are narrow enough for him to hold onto each side of them.
The major difference to other games of this style is in the way that inFAMOUS approaches your character’s abilities. Cole never holds a weapon as such; he relies on his electrical abilities instead. Powers include firing bolts of lightening, creating electrical storms and throwing “energy grenades”, as well as many others. How his power develops depends entirely on your “karmic choices”. Good actions give you points towards your heroic karma and negative actions give you points towards your infamous karma. Many powers are only accessible to you if you reach a certain level of good or bad karma. You must also maintain that karmic level or you will lose those powers again.
Karma has a few other effects as well. The more of a hero you are, the more the city’s citizens will react positively to you, taking photos of you and ganging up on smaller groups of enemies to help you out. Of course they will also expect you to go out of your way to help them more often. Become infamous and pedestrians will throw rocks at you and run away in fear.
No Pros and Cons at this time