(Originally posted on Jun 20, 2011)
If you suddenly possessed super powers, how would you use them? Would you be a force for good or evil? Would you use your powers to help or hurt others? These were the basic questions posed by Sucker Punch Production’s 2009 superhero open world action game, inFAMOUS. The sequel, inFAMOUS 2 also has the player ask themselves these questions but also gives the paths of good and evil personifications with two of its new cast members. How does the sequel’s journey compare to the original? Read on to find out.
inFAMOUS 2 picks up right where the first one left off. After being told that a monster called “The Beast” will one day wreak untold havoc across the Earth at the conclusion of inFAMOUS, series star Cole MacGrath realizes that he needs to become more powerful in order to combat this looming threat. Cole learns that a way for him to become more powerful may be found in a Louisiana-esque city called New Marais. But just as Cole, his buddy Zeke and NSA agent Lucy Kuo are about to depart to the south, The Beast suddenly appears and although he tries, Cole is soundly defeated by the gigantic monster.
The story of inFAMOUS 2 is wholly dependent on the events of the first game. If you decide to play this game without playing the first one then you will be extremely confused by the events transpiring or why certain characters are so important. This doesn’t completely take away from the story of inFAMOUS 2, but if you plan to play it then you had better play the first game to better understand what’s happening in the story.
New friends and foes are introduced in this chapter and two of your allies will directly impact the way that you play the game and ultimately how the story will end. If you chose to be a hero then you will side with Agent Kuo who eventually gets her own super powers. Kuo has ice based abilities and they are great at not only keeping foes in place, but at delivering a great deal of damage without harming civilians. If you prefer to be evil then there is Nix. Nix is a resident of the swamps and her powers are as fiery and destructive as she is. When she uses her powers, people tend to die in vast numbers. At some point in the game you’ll be able to get the powers of either of these women to add to your own set of electric powers. Both power sets are great and you won’t be at a disadvantage if you pick one over the other.
All of the powers at your disposal are a lot of fun to use against the various henchmen and monsters that you’ll face and really make you feel like a super powered badass. Cole sometimes feels a bit too overpowered even on the hard difficulty setting but it’s hard to complain about that when your abilities look so cool and cause so much destruction. The only real complaint to be had with the combat in the game is the repetition of certain enemies. You expect there to be an endless horde of hired goons to fight in video games but when boss monsters become regular enemies then there is something wrong. Fighting a giant ice monster may be terrifying at first but after fighting one for the 10th time, it will become just as routine as fighting off gun wielding militia members. The epic boss battles of the previous game are sorely missed.
The city of New Marais is very different tonally than Empire City. It’s filled with French inspired architecture and surrounded by swamps. There is even a section of the city that is completely flooded and makes for a precarious place to traverse since water and electricity don’t exactly mix. While New Marais is incredibly rendered and realized, I have to admit that the whole feel of the place wasn’t to my liking. I’m probably being biased seeing as how I’m from New York City but the whole Louisiana swamp and voodoo culture doesn’t really appeal to me. Despite the less than favorable environment, New Marais is just as fun to travel around in as Empire City was. Cole’s free running abilities are just as suited to the buildings of the south as they were to the buildings of his north eastern home city.
Like any open world game worth it’s weight in salt ($60 dollar salt! Yikes!), inFAMOUS 2 has a ton of side missions to partake in. The side missions are a lot more varied than those of inFAMOUS and I never felt like I was constantly doing the same sort of missions even though I actually was. There are also side missions specific to either good or evil. If you do a good side mission for example, then the corresponding evil side mission will be locked out. This means that a minimum of two playthroughs are required to get the most of the game. New Marais is not as big as Empire City but it is a lot denser and in some cases a bit more challenging to explore since there is a lot of stuff packed into a smaller area. Like the last game, you can collect blast shards to help give you more power reserves or dead drops (this time in the form or carrier pigeons). The dead drops are really cool because they help flesh out the story of the game and give you some further insight into some of the secondary characters.
Unfortunately inFAMOUS 2 has an online mode that really doesn’t add anything to the experience. The User Generated Content (UGC) allows players to play side missions created by Sucker Punch or missions created by other players. I have nothing against UGC in video games. LittleBigPlanet is a great example of how to make a game where most of its content is created by the users but for inFAMOUS 2 it just felt unnecessary and only really served to clutter up the world map with random UGC missions. The only real reason to play the UGC is to get the 3 trophies associated with them. Getting the platinum trophy for this game will take two playthroughs and is a lot easier than it was in the first game. As I said before, Cole is so powerful that even the hard playthrough is a cake walk. You’re going to want to play this game twice to see the two radically different endings so you may as well get the platinum while you’re at it. Theoretically, the UGC makes inFAMOUS 2 an “infinite” game but if you do two full playthroughs (getting all of the collectibles and side missions for each) then you’re looking at a 40 hour plus experience.
While inFAMOUS 2 may not be as compelling as its predecessor in terms of story or setting, the gameplay is just as good and enjoyable. In a world filled with below sub par superhero games, inFAMOUS 2 stands as a true champion. It isn’t based on any existing property and this is probably the main reason why it is THE superhero game that all in this genre should be measured by. Sucker Punch has delivered another quality game and I look forward to the next installment in the inFAMOUS series.
inFAMOUS 2: Festival Of Blood DLC
Just in time for Halloween, inFAMOUS 2 gets a spooky new add on. Festival Of Blood takes players back to New Marais which is in the middle of celebrating its own version of Halloween called “Pyre night”. But not all of the monsters in the city are of the costumed variety. Series star Cole MacGrath has to go face to face with the original undead; Vampires, in a battle to regain his humanity and save New Marais from certain doom.
Very early in the game our buddy Cole is turned into a vampire and gains some new powers to add to his own electricity based abilities. Actually, Cole only really gains the ability to turn into a swarm of bats. I don’t consider the need to suck people’s blood as a power. The bat swarm ability is not just for effect though as it becomes the optimal way to get around the city. Using this ability drains vampiric energy so if Cole runs out he’ll need to go prey upon the helpless citizens of the city to refill it. Although stories involving protagonists turning into vampires are nothing new, it’s still pretty original to see a vampire with the ability to shoot electricity. The bat swarm power also lets Cole instantly finish foes off in one hit so combine that with his base abilities and MacGrath is essentially unstoppable.
This DLC is actually its own game and you don’t need to have inFAMOUS 2 to play it. This is a good thing for people who don’t own the retail version of the game but for us who do, it would have been nice to have it as an add on. 3 gigs worth of data seems pretty excessive to download when something as small as 500mb would have sufficed.
File size aside, inFAMOUS 2: Festival Of Blood is a highly enjoyable piece of DLC. It should take you around six hours to completely get everything so for ten bucks, it’s not a bad deal. Even people who have not played any inFAMOUS games can jump right in and have fun as the story is self-contained and there is no continuity to follow. Fans and non-fans will savor this game as a vampire would savor its first meal of the night.
Flashback Reviews are basically HD remasters of reviews that I did for my old site (coolstufftheblog). I’ve tweaked the reviews a bit but for the most part, they’re the same ones that I originally wrote.