Sunday, February 10, 2013

inFamous 2 Blows Away the First in Every Way

Quick Note: inFamous 2 does everything bigger and better than the first. Abilities grow and are customizable, the story is far more engrossing and the combat is even more satisfying. Little fixes go a long way in this sequel, which is a must by for any die hard Sony Fan boy or third person action gamer.
Good or Bad: You Decide
With the first inFamous, I had a lot of hesitation. After getting it for free from Sony for the Great Playstation Outage, I sat on it for months. That was not the case with the sequel. After watching my room mate John play a bit and finished with inFamous: Festival of Blood, I was ready for inFamous 2. Almost too ready. I felt like I might have inflated my expectations for the game. How wrong I was. The game is amazing. Hands down, Sucker Punch has done an amazing job with the newest iteration of the series.

inFamous 2 picks up shortly after the defeat of Kessler in the first game. Cole is waiting in Empire City for the arrival of the Beast. After a bombastic opening sequence, Cole, Zeke and Agent Kuo make their way to New Marais city in order for Cole to train and earn new powers from Professor John Wolfe.

The story goes from there in a tight nit roller coaster. Like the past game, the player must choose between the path of a hero and the path of a villain. This choice determines the players powers as well as story progression. Unlike the first game, the player choices eventually change the story around the choices instead of one single story line with the player killing people to save the city or saving people to save the city. The ending in particular was extremely well written towards each moral theme. 
The Ravenger, a New Enemy Type
The game play is affected by the moral choices of the player. In the first game, the powers between Good players and Bad players were almost identical, with the exception of one or two powers. This is changed for the better in the second game. All powers are similar to the powers in the first game, except that the powers are customizable. So the default lightning strike comes in three different varieties, with each variety acting differently in combat. Add in the fact that each moral path has different types of each category, and the variety for customization for combat is extremely deep and pushes the player to experience the game through multiple playthroughs.

These powers are put to great use fighting the new enemy types. Through out the game, new enemies appear in the form of mutants, which look like giant crazy insects, and conduits, which have ice powers. The enemy variety forces players to tackle each enemy differently, utilizing all the power types available.  For instance, the Devourer is a large mutant that is the size of a 3 story building and has only one weak point: it's open mouth. By throwing rockets or grenades into it's mouth, the player can damage the creature. These new enemies make battles more interactive and engaging with less monotony than the battle of the first game.
New Marais is Gorgeous

New Marais is gorgeous. Gone are the greys and bland color pallets of the first game, replaced by the bright and colorful islands of New Marais. Inspired by New Orleans, the buildings all have personality that screams. Add the level variety, from the swamp lands to the over saturated Flood Town to the Industrial District, the game packs variety in it's prop pieces. The levels also include more destructible items, making combat within the streets seem more lively. 

Even the little things from the first game have been overhauled to be more interesting. The static Dead Drop satellites from the first game have been replaced with flying pigeons strapped with Dead Drops. Whenever the player enters a specific radius of the bird, the player gets a small icon on the map and must track down, stun and loot the pigeon for the Dead Drop. It sounds so small, but it adds so much to the enjoyment of the game.

There are plenty of side missions with plenty of variety, including the neutral, good and bad missions. Similar to the first game, the player earns pieces of the islands to eventually control the entirety of the game islands. Aside from the side missions, there are also now real time events that correlate to each Karma spectrum. On the map small blue and red icons will appear to portray these events, which range from diffusing a bomb to attacking the police. With each success, the player gets experience as well as Karma points towards the good or bad, depending on the event. This adds a smaller and quicker means of building Karma as well as make the city feel more alive and dynamic. Even finding blast shards has been streamlined, with a late in the game power up that allows the player to detect the shards across the entire map, ensuring that the annoyance of hunting down those last ten shards is still challenging but not impossible ( I still am missing eleven shards in the first game).

The final add on to the game is the User Generated Content (UCG). The level editor allows the player to craft their own missions and place them anywhere on the map. Using tools to not only craft the level design, but tweak enemies and even add story boards to add character to each mission, the tools themselves are fairly robust. However, the problem with the system is that is is highly underused. The amount of levels available is sub par with very little enjoyment or playability. Obviously, this is not the fault of Sucker Punch, but it feels like a very large wasted potential.
A Snapshot of the UCG
Sucker Punch has expanded inFamous in every way possible with large success. The final moments of the game are amazing and the combat is so satisfying. My only complaint were the boss battle, minus the final boss battle. These battles are not terrible, but very straightforward and not very challenging. Despite these small challenges, the game is amazing and another excellent addition to the Playstation library. My fingers are crossed for the third game (and possibly even a portable Vita version!).

10 out of 10

Interesting Sites:
Game Wiki Page:
IGN Review:
inFamous Wiki Site:

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