Videogame Review: Infamous 2 PS3

A large part of me simply wants to write “I love this game, end of review.”  But that would be wrong.  No I don’t know why it would be wrong but I’m sure someone somewhere wrote that reviews one sentence long are bad.  After all I’m sure you’ve come to hear good and bad stuff that might be labeled criticism either to reaffirm your desire to play this game or confirm your desire to leave this franchise alone.  First off, make sure you’ve played the original Infamous.  There’s a savegame import and a few of the decisions carry over.  Next ask yourself, did you like the first Infamous?  See the second game plays a whole lot like the first but better.  Think Assassin’s Creed 2 to Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood.  Or Fallout 3 to Fallout New Vegas.  Infamous 2 is an incredibly fun superhero city romp without the tights and a story that might bite you back.

The game starts out confirming which save to import from the first game.  The save will give bonuses to your karma level and a nice bit of experience to spend on powers.  It will also carry over story decisions from the first game.  The decisions will affect various Dead Drops (audio logs) found and several side missions.  Again it is very important that you play through Infamous before heading to the sequel.  Several of the characters throughout the game will either be from the original or reference specific events in the first one.

The plot is Cole needs to power up to beat The Beast, a character the size of a small skyscraper that looks like he’s made out of lava rock (you’ll see him at the beginning of the game).  Every time the game is loaded it tells you how far The Beast is from New Marias (the locale of Infamous 2, similar to New Orleans) and every time the start button is pressed a United States map is shown displaying the destruction left in The Beast’s wake.  Like in the original Infamous, once a game is started, you’ll never see a start screen again.

Throughout the story, Cole will be presented with pretty black and white decisions to make that will help determine his karmic level, which also determines what powers he gets.  The karma system eventually gains two faces of Cole’s friends, Kuo and Nix.  If Cole goes good, he’ll eventually get ice powers and if he goes bad he’ll eventually get fire powers.  The exceptional points of the story all happen in the later half of the game.  Suffice it to say I was pretty blown away by the ending (I took the good route).  Unfortunately I can’t say why I loved the ending without giving away major spoilers.  It should also be noted that I’m pretty sure anyone who hated Zeke, Cole’s friend, from the first game will probably have their minds changed.

Cole starts out with several of the powers he originally had in the first game.  And several more Infamous 1 powers become available in the second half of the game.  Now Cole has so many powers the player has to switch between them often, which is as easy as pressing the left arrow and then hitting the button linked to the power.  My only real complaint about this is the music stops when the power menu is up, taking away from the vibe.  Sucker Punch also took lessons from the critics on the first game.  Cole’s powers now go beyond that of the simple action gun game.  For instance the Pincer Bolt shoots three bolts at once that arc out and back in on the opponent.  Redirect Rocket allows Cole to fire an explosive rocket bolt and then quickly paint a target with whatever normal bolt is equipped causing the rocket to change direction.  The part where Cole’s powers shine the most is traversal.  This game knows how to make getting from point a to point b fun.  And fun involves launching Cole from a giant ice spike he just made and then using his repulsor ability for slight levitation to get to the power line so he can grind to the next roof top.  There are many electrical means of traversal all around with the newest addition being the power rails that launch Cole vertically up a building or tower.

The open world of New Marias is laid out into two islands.  While these areas can usually be accessed, Cole doesn’t do so well in blackout areas.  One of the nice changes is Cole now fires a Tesla Missile from a transformer to start up the next transformer down the block.  Infamous 2 also adds a certain amount of destructibility to the environment.  Enemy soldiers on or below wooden balconies are prime game for environmental death.  And there are rather explosive oil towers too.

As Cole travels around the city various karmic moments will take place.  Such as a bomb that Cole can diffuse for good karma and a blast shard or a citizen in possession of a blast shard that Cole can take for evil karma.  A little bit of advice, if you want to get all 305 blast shards grab them as you see them.  And also note that you will not have to break away from your karmic path to get them all.  There are actually more than 305 blast shards available in the game.  After 305 the game simply starts giving you extra experience to spend on powers.

Infamous 2 isn’t perfect.  Without the use of powers, getting to the top of the building involves a lot of button mashing with a rather video gamey climbing animation (which might be alright since it is a videogame) .  Cole taking damage from water creates a significant plot hole when and if he gains the ice powers.  Cole’s super powered buddies Nix and Kuo are inexplicably absent during chunks of the game.   Zeke suddenly has the knowledge of a rather talented electrician with an emphasis on solid state devices.  Cole’s replacement voice actor and slightly different face took about half the game for me to get used to as well.  And some of the enemy types take a little too long to kill (probably because they’re a couple stories tall).  All in all though, these are small prices to pay for a game with this much fun in it.

It should be mentioned that Sucker Punch should be commended for including all the store specific preorder bonuses in their version of the collector’s edition. It should also be mentioned that there are a ton of hilarious signs throughout Infamous.  A porno movie theater makes jokes out of other games names and a certain electronics store makes fun of certain consoles just to hint at a few.  And a certain trophy might be there entirely because of the Penny Arcade Infamous 1 strip.

Infamous 2 also has tools for users to create their own levels.  I haven’t even started on this yet but several trophies exist to encourage players to explore these options.  The one user created level I played involved a giant laser shooting disco ball that I had to defeat by throwing cars at it.  It was okay but in the context of the main story, it really damaged the immersion so I would wait until completing the main story before tackling these levels.

Infamous 2 is a fantastic and fantastically fun game that has genuine somber moments and some pretty sweet music.  A game that also managed to have me itching to start a new game to see how the evil ending plays out as I don’t see how the last hour of gameplay and story can be anywhere near the same.  Infamous 2 is part platformer and part super hero saga.  The platformer part gets it though.  Its not some puzzle on how to simply climb the building.  Its how can I get up the building the fastest and use that velocity to reach the next building over.  The superhero part focuses on a free climber who doesn’t wear tights and isn’t necessarily concerned with doing more than he has to.  His good decisions have some bad in them and vice versa.  Its also one of those games where after the 20-30 hours I spent playing it, I’m ready to start it back up right now and come back for more.  This year seems to have more of those games than I’m used to.

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About MusiM
Musician, writer, Gundam model hobbyist, video game lover, host of The Carousel Podcast, and all with a day job.

One Response to Videogame Review: Infamous 2 PS3

  1. Tiff says:

    Thanks, this is great stuff!

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