Saturday, June 11, 2011

Infamous 2 Review

Infamous 2 picks up right where the first Infamous game left off, making you one of the most powerful superheroes, or villains, in all of gaming. The first Infamous ended with a warning from the future that a Beast is coming, and that you, Cole MacGrath, will be the only one able to stop the monstrosity when it comes. Cole finds out, with the help of a new contact by the name of Kuo, that the only way to get powerful enough is to absorb the power of blast cores from the explosion of the Ray Sphere. These blast cores are located in the city of New Marais, a city inspired by the city of New Orleans. Cole must travel there to gain the power in time before the Beast can destroy all of humanity, or gain the power to become unstoppable.

Cole MacGrath was a simple messenger, delivering packages and never asking any questions. He was efficient at his job through practice in free-running and climbing. This all changed on the day when he delivered a package to a man named Kessler. Upon getting to the delivery location, Kessler wasn't there, but called him and told him to open the package. Little did Cole know that this choice would change his life, and the lives of countless others, forever. The package unleashed an immense amount of energy, destroying everything in the blast area, except Cole. He survived because he is a Conduit, someone that can absorb the energy of the mysterious Ray Sphere, and harness it to become super powered. This granted Cole the abilities that you obtain in Infamous 2, and set the stage for a fantastic experience in gaming.

The game starts with a bang, and ends with an even bigger bang. Throughout Infamous 2, you're fighting the corrupted citizens of New Marais. New Marais presents a much different landscape than the first game, but does it very well. There's a few sections of the city that are underwater, so it makes it more challenging to navigate, but there's also the sections that are composed of tall buildings that Cole can climb. There are 2 separate factions that oppose you, those following the communist leader Bertrand, and another more sinister group that revolves around the abilities of the Conduits. Your main goal as Cole MacGrath is to find the blast cores in order to become more powerful, but these factions are definitely getting in your way. With the help of your good friend, Zeke, and a few other allies that you meet throughout the story, you'll find those blast cores whether opposed or not. Each blast core that Cole receives and unleashes gives him new powers, making the already super powered player even more powerful. It was a bit disappointing that all of the powers that were available to you in the first game are not already available in the second game, but they do a good job of keeping the interest with leveling up your powers. The main story of the game is definitely great, and the side missions will keep you busy for quite some time. One of the most impressive things about the Infamous franchise though, is your ability to choose.

Kuo and Nix will influence you in different ways.

In the first Infamous, Cole was faced with moral choices which slightly affected how each mission would play out. In Infamous 2, you're faced with these same choices, but this time they greatly affect your image, your missions, and your ending. The allies that you meet, Kuo and Nix, both represent their respective sides of the moral spectrum. Kuo represents good, influencing you to become a superhero, while Nix represents evil, influencing you to become a super villain. The choices that you make will change the way you approach missions, and the way that you approach the game. Siding with Nix allows you to not care about the well-being of bystanders. Kuo takes a much different approach, leading to the least number of lives lost. These choices lead to two completely different endings and the game will encourage you to play through both sides. These two different sides also lead to two very different sets of powers.

Use your new powers for good or evil.

 The powers of the first Infamous make their return in the second one, but in a bit different way. Instead of making each individual power stronger, you're presented with variations on a standard power, which can be switched at any time. There are multiple types of grenades, rockets and bolts that will allow you to play the game your way. At any time, if you want to switch powers, its a quick press of the left button on the d-pad, which pauses time, allowing you to switch the power and continue fighting. It all happens without taking you into a menu, which works very well to allow you a ton of different powers without taking you out of the game. The powers aren't terribly hard to obtain, some of them coming through progression in the story, while others are unlocked when certain goals are completed and experience is spent. Also, like the first game, you have a bar of electricity which can be upgraded through finding blast shards. The bar doesn't limit you much, but can be frustrating at times when there's nothing to draw electricity from, since all bolts take up some part of the bar now. Combat has also been totally redone, with the addition of the Amp, which is a weapon that Zeke created to channel the electricity of Cole through melee attacks.

Choose what to place, where to place it, and how they react.

The last addition to Infamous 2 is the User-Generated Content, or UGC for short. These missions appear as green start points and will appear right in the world you're playing in, as long as you're connected to the PSN. These missions are created by users just like you, and uploaded so that everyone can play and rate them. The tools that Sucker Punch provided are fantastic, and can lead to very in-depth and lengthy missions, or more fun experiences like rail-shooters. Either way, this addition extends the game further, giving reason to hold on to it, rather than trade it in.

Overall, Infamous 2 is an experience that leaves you wanting more, which is good because once you beat the game, you'll want to play it again making the opposite choices. There are also 60 side missions to complete in the game, along with goodies to collect and powers to max out. The story itself isn't very long, probably only around 6 hours, but work in some of the side missions that actually pertain to the story, and you'll probably beat the game in around 10 hours, with much more to do after its over. That being said, the game really doesn't get repetitive, and the only annoying part about it was the few glitches that cause pointless deaths, like bad camera angles. The game is a fantastic purchase, and will keep you busy for quite a while, combined with good voice acting and a great soundtrack, well-improved graphics, and a story that competes with some of the best games out there.

Story – 9.5
Gameplay – 9.5
Graphics – 9
Sound – 9.5
Replayability - 10

Overall Rating – 9.5


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