by Jeff Gates
reviewed on PS3
The Electric Company
The shining star of inFamous 2’s visual department are the Ionic powers. These abilities are the most devastating blow that Cole can deal and they are as beautiful as they are devastating. The powers available to Cole give the player a true sense of strength. Too often, in games where supernatural abilities are paramount, players come to find out that the attacks have very little weight to them and executing the moves to perfection is hardly rewarding. This is not the case in inFamous 2. Linking together combos to defeat groups of enemies or using the right attack at the right time gives you a true sense of accomplishment. Players can really take pride in their moves, especially because it feels like you designed Cole’s repertoire yourself using karma.
As I alluded to before, karma helps shape what abilities Cole has at hand. There are 8 different fields of Cole’s powers that you can upgrade and each of those has an overall karma level you must reach, as well as two distinct powers, one for choosing the good path and one for choosing the evil one. The powers range from bolts of lightning that you can use as a range attack to massive tornadoes that decimate most in their path. The list of abilities goes on and on but the basic gist is that the powers, just like the rest of the game, present the player with a wealth of options to choose from.
The melee combat can at times be a bit repetitive, but linking it with other powers and the increased abilities of the Amp (Cole’s melee weapon) makes it slightly more enjoyable. The combos are really rewarding. A personal favorite is putting a detonation blast (a charge field that attaches to things and explodes upon impact) onto an adversary then executing a finishing move on the enemy in a crowd of foes which causes the charge to explode, killing him and sending the rest flying.
As fun as inFamous 2 is, it’s not perfect. The free-running of inFamous 2 does leave much to be desired, which considering it’s an open-world action adventure game is a fairly large drawback. It’s not so much that climbing the buildings or traversing the rooftops is boring, it’s how repetitive it can be. You see, I am a big fan of how Ubisoft has created the free-run mechanics of Assassins Creed, allowing the player to scale walls slowly by holding a button or quickly by using another button to jump. inFamous 2’s climbing basically consists of the player mashing the X button as if it were a giant cockroach until they reach their destination and this in my opinion is the wrong way to do it. Grinding electric lines from building to building is thankfully easier and more streamlined but the climbing continues to irk me. When you factor in that the camera occasionally gets lost, trying to scale a wall to gain a tactical advantage during a fight is as wise as wearing meat underpants in the tiger exhibit at the zoo.
The sounds of inFamous 2 are another gray area in the game where, frankly, I don’t know how to feel. Moments that should feel epic in many ways fall flat because of a very weak sound design. The explosions sound nice and the voice acting is superb but the enemies and music of the game don’t match that quality. Most of your foes seem to be repeating the same lines over and over and in huge battles, a rousing musical score is missing, replaced instead with silence and the occasional shrill of locals fleeing. It isn’t all bad though, a number of instances in the game intended to be intense or nerve-racking were made much better by great use of audio, though to be fair the moment I am thinking of used no music intentionally for dramatic effect.
The thing that most gamers will probably stand around the virtual water cooler and discuss in regards to inFamous 2 is how much replay ability the game possesses. Aside from the engaging and very interactive main storyline there is a wealth of side missions for the player to participate in. These missions do repeat themselves at a point but a number of them happen fairly randomly so it does stay pretty fresh. In one such case, killing a Militia member attempting to mug a pedestrian opens up a side mission which begins with Cole listening to an order given to the dead foe on a radio. Even though there are a wealth of missions and random events that occur in inFamous 2, they don’t extend the game’s replay value as much as the User Generated Content feature does.
inFamous 2 presents the player with the option of creating their very own missions. These missions can be formed from scratch or from a number of templates that Sucker Punch have created essentially allowing you to invent hours and hours of extra fun. The UGC, as it is called, brings a true sense of community to the game and allows players to enjoy the best and latest missions that others have created.
Possibly the best the PS3 has to offer
inFamous 2 walks a fairly fine line between repetitive and diverse. You are handed a wealth of abilities that you can craft to your liking but the platforming mechanics can be a chore, there are tons of missions to complete but after some time you began to realize there are really only a dozen or so unique ones. Linking combos is a blast but the melee gets old pretty fast. Thankfully though, inFamous 2 manages to stay pretty balanced on that tight rope between monotonous and various. The game is visually appealing and the story is engaging, but the role karma plays into it is what keeps you wanting more. Because, what you get are two unique inFamous 2 experiences for the price of one. I can say in confidence that this is one of the more enjoyable PS3 exclusives and may just be the best because of the wonderful open-world concept that is full of things to do.
Really two games for one, you will come back for more, creating missions adds a lot of replay
Boring platforming mechanics, sometimes uneventful sounds