inFamous User Review
The lead character Cole is at the center of a city destroying blast. Cole escapes the blast area and meets up with his friend Zeke, and discovers - along the way - that he has some weird powers since the blast. These powers are electrical in nature, and the game guides you through learning to use these new powers.
Soon you are involved in your first real mission, there's a food drop for survivors but it's hung up on a huge monument in the park, you can get it down before the gangs arrive, giving people a chance to get some food. The mission offers you a good/evil choice. A Karmic moment where you choose your path. After getting the food off the monument, and with the gangs on their way, do you fry a few bystanders with your power to scare the others away and take the food yourself, or do you let them have the food?
There are many of these moments where you must choose your actions and they shape the development of Cole and his powers. You can choose to be a super-hero, or a super villain. I chose the hero route, but there's no distinct advantage to either, it's simply a personal choice. So many games give you an open world sand-box to play in, but how many of them let you be the good guy, and do it in a way that being the good buy doesn't feel like it's the wussy choice? Exactly, and this may be Infamous' greatest strength.
You soon get into some combat and another choice, use the bystanders to start a riot, or take the fighting (and blame) on yourself. A choice to make, and a battle to fight. Soon it's reported on TV that you were at the center of the blast that destroyed everything and that you were carrying the bomb in a package. Suddenly *you* are tagged as the terrorist that did this horrible thing! Now, now one likes you. Ah, but do you choose the high road, and do good despite that initial hatred of you? Or do you blast the hapless dolts into the stone age? Your choice..
The enemies in the game range from the Reapers and Dustmen who are gangs out for their own selfish goals, led by darker forces who use the gangs to do their bidding, to the darker forces behind the scenes and even sometimes the Police or security forces. Clearly you will fight the Police and security forces more if you go down that super-villain (evil) path. Having chosen to be a super hero, I face the gangs. There are several types of enemy with each gang. Some shoot regular guns, some high powered, some rocket launchers, some suicide bombers, and a few leader types that can us powers that give them different abilities. These last ones can be difficult to deal with.
There are dozens of missions and side missions. On the good path you find yourself gradually cleaning up Empire city, restoring power, water and order one block at a time. Your powers expand, giving you the ability to heal people, or suck the life right out of them (that would be the evil version of healing). You can restrain enemies or simply kill them. You get 'good' points for healing people and restraining instead of finishing off your enemies. Again, all your actions have an impact.
I spent a long time talking about the story, which is important because this game revolves around that story, and about you, the lead character and what you do, what Path you take. The graphics and sound in the game are excellent, and really play into the story. One of the interesting elements of the graphics and sound is that as Cole cleans up the city and restores power, things change. The city gets cleaner, lighter and less gloomy. People react to Cole differently, and are soon cheering him on and asking him to heal people or help them out somehow. All of this changes subtly as time passes and things improve. This is a very nice touch. Despite not wanting to take the villain's route, I may have to to see what happens to the city as you gently destroy things a bit more.
Alright, in keeping with the PSX reviews, here come the good, the bad and the ugly...
The Good. Graphics, sound, story and character are all excellent. The game's premise and gameplay tie together perfectly. The Karmic shift system where you choose your path is a nice innovation. No online - the game is stronger because the developer focused on SP only.
The Bad. Some of the character models look a bit lifeless. There eyes are glassy and lack depth, and their faces are a bit flat and lifeless. Then again they are living in a post apocalyptic city...No online, many players would love to battle it out head to head, or co-op with these powers. Though personally I think that multi-player online is completely unnecessary with this game.
The Ugly. They're minor things, but inconsistent within the game...There is at least one mission that appears to be a 'good mission', but you end up getting evil points, and you can manipulate the system to generate good points by performing a particular action that injures bystanders. You can then heal the bystanders for 'good points'. I'm listing this as ugly, because you can essentially farm your hero status by hurting people, and the game really ought to be able to detect that.
Overall, I am loving this game, I got it after playing the 60 minute trial available through Playstation Plus. It's $29.99 on PSN (which is convenient since it's on the HDD now) but you can probably find it for less at retailers and in used game bins. I definitely recommend it, and would suggest getting it before the sequel arrives, because you'll want to play this one first - I am guessing.
Great game. Buy it.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.