inFamous 2 User Review
That's not to say inFamous 2 isn't worthy of your time, especially if you dug (or in my case) loved the original. It's still got that incredibly addictive gameplay that has only been expanded and refined, improved melee combat, and stunning use of powers that no one could have ever dreamed of after the first game. That lacking issue I was talking about? The story lacks that power, and that tightly well constructed story that the first game had.
inFamous 2 picks up a couple of months after the first game left off. Depending on how you finished the first game, you can import your good or bad saves that already determines your karmic status at the beginning, so that it feels like you are truly continuing the story. However, if you didn't play the first game, no worries, you can start a new file for neutral karmic status.
Cole, who is our hero or anti hero depending on how you played the first game, is recruited by FBI agent Lucy Kuo to come with her to New Marais (heavily inspired by New Orleans) in order to learn new powers in order to become powerful enough to stop the Beast. The Beast is a seemingly unstoppable force that was prophecized at the end of the first game by the villain Kessler, that would bring about the destruction of the world. And only Cole has the power to stop it according to Kessler.
It's a pretty straightforward story that really doesn't have the twist and turns of the original games. Sure, it's decently told, and there are a few unexpected surprises, but it doesn't really feel like it had that same punch, or life that the original game had in terms of its story. And it's a shame because inFamous', story, the way it was constructed and told, there was always something coming around the corner that you had no idea was going to happen. It wasn't as loosely constructed or based. The characters were much more likable, or unlikable. Here, it's clear who is good and evil (for the most part), and while some of the new characters are interesting, none of them can really match those that came before them. Cole, with a new VA, isn't as cool or as defined as he was in the first game. He has a similar attitude, but he no longer feels like the everyman because his voice is far more punk rock sounding. It isn't a bad rendition, but I wonder why they even wanted to change Cole at all. It definitely raises your eyebrow hearing this new VA as Cole and as a die hard fan of the original, turns you off from the character a little bit. The new VA doesn't do a bad job, it's just different to how Cole originally was.
Zeke, is the same character (and VA) as before, although he is developed better and makes up for his past mistakes from the first game. Zeke actually goes from being the most hated character from the first game, to becoming quite beloved in my eyes in this game. It's clear there's some tension between Cole and Zeke after the events of the first game, and you can really tell, Zeke does his best to make amends for his mistakes, and proves himself as a true friend to Cole. It was nice to see the Zeke character be taken on that arc and developed properly. Kuo is likable, but not really developed enough.
Nix is absurd and gets annoying after a while with her ridiculously over the top New Orleans accent and brash decision making. Bertrand is a pretty straightforward villain that's easy to read despite something hidden about his, let's say, “alter ego”. He doesn't inspire the same sort of hatred or isn't as mysterious or well thought out as Kessler was. Kessler was truly a first rate villain and Bertrand quite simply, is not.
You see, all these characters are easy to figure out and understand without anything happening. In the first game, you had no idea what Moya's intentions were, or John's, or Kessler's. It was a pulse pounding experience because you never knew anyone's hidden agenda. This kept the story extremely exciting and kept your senses keen as a player throughout. The writing of the characters and their development was insanely well done and kept you on the edge of your seat. Here, everyone is just way too easy to figure out, and Sucker Punch took out the mystery and intrigue of their world with most of these charcters, who with the exception of Cole (somewhat) and Zeke, don't really do anything to make you love or hate them here. They feel artificial and not part of the world that Sucker Punch is so desperately trying to bring you into.
There is one big reveal in this game that is well done for a character, but overall, it still just wasn't as interesting or as well thought out. The actual cutscnes are however have received a major upgrade. The real time cutscenes no longer feel like they're from the PS2 era. Instead, we get well shot, cut and directed cutscenes that really up the ante from the first game. The presentation is much better, I just wish the characters were, too.
The comic cutscenes are back as well and are as well done as they were the first time. Nothing new to report on here.
Storytelling takes a backseat here for some of the most fun you'll have in a game this year, however. The new powers and gameplay are thrilling. The way Cole ranks up power is addicting and satisfying. All the new electrical powers on display are brilliantly thought out with you either basing your powers on ice or fire about a quarter of the way through the game. The diversity of these powers are incredible, ranging from giving Cole a tornado power that swoops up anyone and anything in his path, to an impossibly fast stream of bolts, to a tri bolt, to a power that literally sucks the life out of all enemies within a certain radius of you. That's just a highlight of these extremely well thought out and awe inspiring powers. These are the things you are constantly waiting to find out more about, and learn new powers to master throughout. So, really, gameplay is and always will be king. But when the story and characters aren't as interesting in a series that has a decently sized emphasis on story, it just isn't as fun. Still, this should turn no one off from seeing how much fun it is to feel truly like an unstoppable hero/anti hero.
The boss fights here aren't nearly as good as they were in inFamous 2 and are very repetitive. There are only about three or four different creatures/bosses that you fight throughout the game and they pop up way too frequently, and often just take up way too much time. They also, after the first few encounters become predictable and dull. The big boss fights (with Bertrand and the Beast) are fun here, but once again, not nearly as thought out.
Your Karmic choices play a bit of a bigger role than they did in the the first inFamous which is nice to see as they directly reflect your relationships with characters, which is where this part of the story tends to shine through. And really, the last decision you have to make is the best decision in inFamous history in terms of the differences in what happens in the story. This big karmic decision was definitely one fo the moments where Sucker Punch really did bring it with the story. If only the intensity could have been held up through the rest of the story.
New Marais is also an extremely diverse and fun city to explore. Far more diverse than Empire City, New Marais has swamps, rivers, flooded parts of the city and more for you to explore and take out enemies in. The architecture is a lot different and the environments are far more destructable. While I like Empire City more for sentimental value, there's no denying that Sucker Punch made a far more diverse and far more fun area to explore here in New Marais. A tip of the cap here to Sucker Punch for creating a far more realistic and a better designed world for us to use Cole in.
There is new User Generated Content here, a la Little Big Planet. The creation tools like in LBP and LBP 2 are frustrating to get the hang of, and with no real tutorial can leave new creators out in the dust. But with some dedication, you can figure out how to use these sometimes frustratingly made tools to carve out your own missions to share on the Playstation Network. These UGC levels are fun to play and reward you XP and aren't connected to the story. You can completely skip them if you want to, which is a good move on Sucker Punch's part.
The overall missions, the gameplay and the overhauled graphical engine truly shine here in inFamous 2. It delivers a very fun open world experience, and in many ways, outclasses the original. However, it's within the story that inFamous 2 comes up a little short for not keeping the mystery going and not having as interesting characters as its predecessor. Still inFamous 2 is a lot of fun, gives you a massive sandbox to explore, incredible powers to discover and use, and User Generated Content to keep you coming back for more in either the creation side or the play side.
This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.