InFamous 2 PS3 Review

Publisher – Sony Computer Entertainment Europe – Developer – Sucker Punch – Genre – Action – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 16+ – Other console/handheld formats – N/A

With the popularity of superheroes, it’s quite surprising that more games don’t take inspiration from such super powered characters. But 2009 did see the release of Activision’s Prototype as well as Sony’s InFamous, both of which were open-world superhero games. We still have yet to see a gaming superhero reach the iconic status of Batman or Spider-Man and the like, although at least PS3 owners now have a sequel to the electricity charged InFamous.

Cole McGrath, the high voltage protagonist from the original game, returns in this sequel to attempt to put an end to the Beast. Empire City also returns, but only briefly, with its destruction forcing the electric man and his best friend Zeke to flee to the city of New Marais. Cole then sets out to increase his powers to prepare himself for the confrontation with the Beast, whom is on his way to the city (in a nice touch, you’ll be told how far he is from New Marais as you progress through the game). It’s hardly masterful storytelling, but the narrative is still witty and likeable enough, and you’re once again able to make a mark on it by the decisions you make.

For those unfamiliar with the original InFamous, it’s a game that basically dropped you into an open sandbox environment, granted you electrical powers and gave you the freedom to become a pure hero or a character to be feared by the cities inhabitants. You got around the city by jumping, climbing and grinding through it. So, let’s move on to InFamous 2, shall we?

Sometimes you'll have characters such as Kuo or Nix fighting beside you.

This sequel is much the same, featuring all the things you could do in the original game, but developer Sucker Puch  should be commended for not ignoring some of the more serious issues that blighted that very game. It’s improved, with better combat and less annoying enemies, and, because of this, it’s likely that people, who couldn’t put up with the original game’s flaws, will find a better one here.

Cole is once again a human lightning storm, and whilst he gets more powerful as you get deeper into the game, it would be a massive understatement to call him a weakling at the start. This time around Cole possesses a baton melee weapon, which allows you to club your enemies into submission, stringing combos together and putting an exclamation mark on the end with a finishing move. It’s stylish enough, but animations do begin to get a little repetitive over time, particularly if you use a lot of finishing moves in a short space of time.

But there’s much more to the combat than melee moves, with Cole’s powers really opening up (upgrades and new powers are unlocked by meeting a certain criteria as well as in exchange for XP) and eventually granting you many powerful options to fight and defeat your foes with. Speaking of foes, InFamous 2 lessens their presence – you won’t be constantly attacked and suddenly find yourself with critical health like you did in the original game, making for a more pleasurable experience.

The Karma element makes its return. Bigger decisions are made by siding with one of two characters, either the angelic Kuo or the destruction loving Nix, and, if you don’t like Cole’s evil skin complexion for example, you’re able to switch to being good or vice versa. Yes, your decision making will once again alter Cole’s appearance as well as some of the powers you are able to make use of. It’s once again a great system, but one slightly offset by some of the events in the story, which don’t always seem to fit with the path you are following.

Like Empire City before it, San Marais is a sizeable city environment with plenty to do. Alongside the 20 story missions, there are 60 side missions, which clear out enemies with each one you complete, although it’s just a shame that they can feel overly repetitive at times and more imagination could have certainly made each one feel completely unique. San Marais also has 29 homing pigeons to find, containing recordings to help flesh out the back-story of the series, which makes shooting them down all the more worthwhile. There are also blast shards to find, giving you extra electricity when you meet a certain number, and the more electricity that Cole has in his possession the less time you’ll have to recharge in order to start using his powers again.

Enemies are varied, although many of the bigger foes can be felled by just lobbing a barrage of grenades at them.

In a first for an open-world game, InFamous 2 gives you the freedom to create your own missions. It’s a powerful tool and your creations will appear within the city for others to find and play, with the potential for them to be rated as well. When you are searching for the creations of other players it’s possible to filter them by such things as newest or popularity, which is handy. A certain type of player will love to create, while others will just be content to sit back and leave the creating to others and hunt out these created missions.

InFamous 2 has a number of flaws worth highlighting though – traversing the city, while very enjoyable, isn’t quite as fun as the likes of Assassins Creed and Crackdown, and I experienced a few bugs, while also witnessing frame rate and spinning camera issues in certain situations. But, on the whole, it is an improvement over what was already a very good original.

Indeed, InFamous 2 is a superior game to the original. The playing environment is interesting and well laid out and Cole’s powers once again make you feel like a god in the same way anyone would if they were suddenly to be bestowed with super powers. There’s still room for the series to grow, although InFamous 2 is still a hugely entertaining open-world game, and one that truly makes you feel as if you have poked your finger into a light socket and lived to tell the tale as a powerful, human lightning bolt.