Review: inFAMOUS 2

Posted: June 20, 2011 by Tony Polanco in REVIEWS

If you suddenly possessed super powers how would you use them? Would you be a force for good or evil? Would you use your powers to help or hurt others? These were the basic questions posed by Sucker Punch Production’s 2009 super hero open world action game inFAMOUS. The sequel, inFAMOUS 2 also has the player ask themselves these questions but also gives the paths of good and evil personifications with two of its new cast members. How does the sequel’s journey compare to the original? Read on to find out.

inFAMOUS 2 picks up right where the first one left off. After being told that a monster called “The Beast” will one day wreak untold havoc across the Earth at the conclusion of inFAMOUS, series star Cole MacGrath realizes that he needs to become more powerful in order to combat this looming threat. Cole learns that a way for him to become more powerful may be found in a Louisiana-esque city called New Marais. But just as Cole, his buddy Zeke and NSA agent Lucy Kuo are about to depart to the south, The Beast suddenly appears and although he tries, Cole is soundly defeated by the gigantic monster.

The story of inFAMOUS 2 is wholly dependent on the events of the first game. If you decide to play this game without playing the first one then you will be extremely confused by the events transpiring or why certain characters are so important. This doesn’t completely take away from the story of inFAMOUS 2 but if you plan to play it then you had better play the first game to better understand what is happening in the story.

New friends and foes are introduced in this chapter and two of your allies will directly impact the way that you play the game and ultimately how the story will end. If you chose to be a hero then you will side with Agent Kuo who eventually gets her own super powers. Kuo has ice based abilities and they are great at not only keeping foes in place but at delivering a great deal of damage without hurting civilians. If you prefer to be evil then there is Nix. Nix is a resident of the swamps and her powers are as fiery and destructive as she is. When she uses her powers people tend to die in vast numbers. At some point in the game you will be able to get the powers of either of these women to add to your own set of electric powers. Both power sets are great and you won’t be at a disadvantage if you pick one over the other.

All of the powers at your disposal are a lot of fun to use against the various henchmen and monsters that you’ll face and really make you feel like a super powered badass. Cole sometimes feels a bit too overpowered even on the hard difficulty setting but it’s hard to complain about that when your abilities look so cool and cause so much destruction. The only real complaint to be had with the combat in the game is the repetition of certain enemies. You expect there to be an endless horde of hired goons to fight in video games but when boss monsters become regular enemies then there is something wrong. Fighting a giant ice monster may be terrifying at first but after fighting one for the 10th time it will become just as routine as fighting off gun wielding militia members. The epic boss battles of the previous game are sorely missed.

The city of New Marais is very different tonally than Empire city. It’s filled with French inspired architecture and surrounded by swamps. There is even a section of the city that is completely flooded and makes for a precarious place to traverse since water and electricity don’t exactly mix. While New Marais is incredibly rendered and realized I have to admit that the whole feel of the place wasn’t to my liking. I’m probably being biased seeing as how I’m from New York city but the whole Louisiana swamp and voodoo culture doesn’t really appeal to me. Despite the less than favorable environment, New Marais is just as fun to travel around in as Empire city was. Cole’s free running abilities are just as suited to the buildings of the south as they were to the buildings of his north eastern home city.

Like any open world game worth it’s weight in salt ($60 dollar salt! Yikes!), inFAMOUS 2 has a ton of side missions to partake in. The side missions are a lot more varied than those of inFAMOUS and I never felt like I was doing the same sort of missions even though I actually was. There are also side missions specific to either good or evil. If you do a good side mission for example, then the corresponding evil side mission will be locked out. This means that a minimum of two playthroughs are required to get the most of the game. New Marais is not as big as Empire city but it is a lot denser and in some cases a bit more challenging to explore since there is a lot of stuff packed into a smaller area. Like the last game, you can collect blast shards to help give you more power reserves or dead drops (this time in the form or carrier pigeons). The dead drops are really cool because they help flesh out the story of the game and give you some further insight into some of the secondary characters.

Unfortunately inFAMOUS 2 has an online mode that really doesn’t add anything to the experience. The User Generated Content (UGC) allows players to play side missions created by Sucker Punch or missions created by other players. I have nothing against UGC in video games. LittleBigPlanet is a great example of how to make a game where most of its content is created by the users but for inFAMOUS 2 it just felt unnecessary and only really served to clutter up the world map with random UGC missions. The only real reason to play the UGC is to get the 3 trophies associated with them. Getting the platinum trophy for this game will take two playthroughs and is a lot easier than it was in the first game. As I said before, Cole is so powerful that even the hard playthrough is a cake walk. You’re going to want to play this game twice to see the two radically different endings so you may as well get the platinum while you’re at it. Theoretically the UGC makes inFAMOUS 2 an “infinite” game but if you do two full playthroughs (getting all of the collectibles and side missions for each) then you’re looking at a 40 hour plus experience.

While inFAMOUS 2 may not be as compelling as its predecessor in terms of story or setting the gameplay is just as good and enjoyable. In a world filled with below sub par super hero games inFAMOUS 2 stands as a true champion. It isn’t based on any existing property and this is probably the main reason why it is THE super hero game that all in this genre should be measured by. Sucker Punch has delivered another quality game and I look forward to the next installment in the inFAMOUS series.

Liked:

  • Smooth and precise controls
  • Graphics and art design looked better than the first game
  • Great voice actors. Especially the new Cole who is a vast improvement over the previous actor.

Disliked:

  • Story started and ended kind of abruptly
  • Camera angles when you used melee attacks were disorientating
  • User generated content was useless and distracting
inFAMOUS 2 was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released exclusively for the Playstation 3 and is available now for $59.99. The copy played for this review was a new retail copy.
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