Right or wrong, it’s my life and I choose how to live it.
inFamous 2 couldn’t have come at a better time when students like myself found ourselves stressed over finals and all these other non-sense tests! It was actually painful deciding whether or not I wanted to fail a test or play Sucker Punch’s latest take on the superhero genre. Any “good student” would normally avoid gaming at all cost in order to grasp those extra points on a test, however not I! I took hours upon hours playing inFamous 2 during finals week that I ended up nearly failing every test! But you know, it was all oh so worth it!
inFamous 2 picks up approximately two months after Cole mopped the floor with himself, or Kessler as we knew him, and he is fully aware that “The Beast” is coming. He is thoroughly mindful that in order to terminate The Beast he will have to find a way to further advance his powers. Cole is later acquainted with a spy known as Kuo, who is also aware of the events that may transpire in the near future. She will assist Cole in gaining these new powers to eventually defeat The Beast. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst as The Beast makes an unanticipated entrance in Empire City resulting in Cole fleeing towards New Marias, and the inevitable destruction of Empire City.
As the player would imagine, New Marias is now the lead setting for the game allowing Cole to have a “fresh” start in a new city. However the local Militia is taking control of life in the New Orleans inspired town. It is now up to the player to decide whether to lead New Marias into further misfortune, or save what’s left.
Upon first playing inFamous 2, I was so pleased to see that the controls and style of play from inFamous 1 were still relevant in the sequel. Nothing much has changed in terms of controls and I’m sure many fans of the original will be pleased to hear that the game plays extremely similar to the original. However there are some slight modifications to the game that I feel the need to address.
Firstly, due to the game’s goal of giving Cole some new high intense powers, Sucker Punch required a little more space within the amount of buttons you can press. As such, players will now have the ability to easily swap out different abilities in the middle of a gaming session with the tap of the left directional pad. This will bring out a side menu listing each power with their corresponding button. For instance, if the player wishes to swap out their original lightening-bolt ability all they would have to do is press the left directional pad, press R1 and done. The ability will now be changed into whatever they please. The menu makes it far easier for the player to swap out powers with the tap of a button and is a nice touch, especially when in the middle of a heated battle and a power swap is imminent. It’s quick and easy.
The question that may be brought up now is, “How does one gain new abilities and powers?” Well it’s simple, especially if one has played the original inFamous. Throughout the game the player will encounter many ways of gaining XP. Be it through completing missions or killing enemies/bystanders. If the player accumulates enough XP for the ability of their choice, they may exchange the XP for powers in the “Powers” menu located on the pause screen. (Or tap the Right directional Pad). Here is where players will be able to customize Cole however they see fit based upon their personal playstyle. The abilities in inFamous 2 can satisfy almost every play style’s needs. If precision is what a player wants, they can look through the list and see what best fits their style of play. Personally I enjoyed the quick and sloppy electric mess. Cluster bombs, Bolt Streak, and guided rockets with the Ionic Vortex to accommodate.
Another modification in inFamous 2 is an improved melee system. Unlike the first, Cole will be fiercely wailing away at his enemies with the Amp. The Amp is kind of like a sword for electric super heroes. As Cole slams away at enemies, a combat bar will be filled. Once filled halfway, or fully, the player can press the Triangle button for a finishing move. While the new combat system is intense and awesome, the cinematic cameras make it a bit of a hassle. At times, when fighting near a wall using the melee system, the camera will jumble around and get a little funky with the player making it difficult knowing which direction they’re facing. While problematic at times, the new and improved melee system won’t be much of a bother. There are moments where you wish things within the melee department were improved, but overall it’s a tolerable dilemma and won’t take away from the experience.
Resembling the original title, inFamous 2 instills the open world environments and free roaming gameplay, as gamers would come to expect. Players will come across various objectives throughout the game’s plotline, however the game isn’t limited to just a campaign. There are a variety of things to do in the city of New Marias including various side missions, assisting fellow bystanders, collecting Blast Shards, and kicking the hell out of an array of enemy types. Justly, inFamous 2 offers hours upon hours of gameplay to satisfy every superhero nerd’s needs. Personally I found myself spending more time collecting Blast Shards, Dead Drops and completing side missions more than playing the game’s actual plotline but that’s not to say that the game’s campaign is short.
inFamous 2 takes roughly six to seven hours to complete one of the Karmatic stories. Multiply that by two, assuming people choose to play with opposing karma, and we’re looking at about twelve or fourteen hours of total playtime. Add in the side missions, blast shards, and dead drops… well, that’s just say the player is getting the most out of their sixty dollar purchase. An improvement to the side missions are the variety of missions the player can choose from. There isn’t any need to worry about tedious and repetitive missions. Most of them are fun for the most part and they’re rarely ever the same.
The Karma system is once again a major factor in inFamous 2. Players will come across many karmactic opportunities as they trek their way through New Marias. It’s up to the player to decide how they would want to present Cole to the people. Some of these moments include defusing bombs, saving hostages, silencing police authority, silencing protestors against Cole, killing street performers, stop muggings or stealing Blast Shards from bystanders. Each one of these city occurrences contributes to Cole’s karma. Depending on how the player wants it, they can choose to be evil or a hero. Unlike the first inFamous, the path one chooses in inFamous 2 will result in a massive difference between endings. I’m not here for spoilers, but believe me when I say that both endings are significantly different.
inFamous 2 plays nearly perfectly but there is one thing that I couldn’t stand. The micro boss battles. It seems Sucker Punch was capable of removing the repetitiveness within the side missions, but when it came to the bosses, things just get a little aggravating. At first I was completely blown away with the bosses I had to face throughout the city. It wasn’t a problem at all! That was done away with fairly quickly. As I went on with the story, I found myself fighting the same annoying bosses over and over and over again. Devourers, Titans, Ravagers, giant Ice freaks…you name it. They kept coming again and again. These were the moments when I said to myself, “Uhhg, I hate this game!” They’re repetitive and often time consuming. It also became a nuisance when I had to fight two or three at once. Those moments were the absolute worst.
Other than the choppy camera and tedious micro bosses, inFamous 2 manages to satisfy in the gameplay department.
Sucker Punch has given players a chance to create their own series of missions for other inFamous players across the world. I haven’t gone too indepth with the UCG levels, but I have played quite a number of them. I’m both pleased and aggravated with some of the missions I had the chance of playing. Some felt like one’s that should have been packaged with the game, and others were down right stupid. I enjoyed the missions created that required me to beat down hordes of enemies as I walked through a makeshift tunnel. There were also missions were I’d jump off a high tower and flop down against a bunch of enemies at once. Some missions immediately spawned me with a horde of giant enemies to fight, and as you read before I hate fighting the giant enemies in this game. Many of the missions I played were dull, boring and uninspiring. Others were stupid but fun to say the least. I ran into one that taught me the life lessons of fanboyism and how it ruins gaming… a PC Gamer reference was made at the end and, well, it ended at that.
Because of the series of stupid, dull and boring missions, I decided to take a whack at it myself. It wasn’t easy, and I could understand why some people may have a problem with it. The UGC Level creator isn’t user friend and can be pretty overwhelming. Then again, so was LittleBigPlanet. Either way, I’m glad Sucker Punch allowed players to create levels with their own plots. It’s a nice touch and a way to keep things fresh to a certain extent.
Much improved compared to the first game, inFamous 2 delivers the highest of quality graphics. They’re not up to par with games like Uncharted or Killzone, but they’re much improved when looking back at inFamous 1. The character details are clear as crystal, the facial animations are clean and the visual effects are a burst of awesome bright colors.
Walking through New Marias can be a pleasure as well. I walked passed shops with neon signs, lighting across buildings, detailed shop windows and doors. It looks like Sucker Punch took a piece of New Orleans and stuffed it into a Blu Ray disc. Night and Day gameplay is present too. At night the city is filled with an array of lights that give the prettier side of New Marias an awesome glow as Cole glides his way through the skies. During the day, the sunsets and sunrises give off the feel of time as the sun brightly emits from one side of the city to the other.
I did face some casual pop-ins as I paced myself through the city, but overall the pop-ins can be ignored. There are also some slight textural issues when it comes to the game loading up, which is also a part of the pop-in issue. Ultimately, these issues won’t ruin the experience and I feel players will be thoroughly pleased with the nicely detailed visuals in New Marias.
InFamous 2 gives the player a nice touch of music and sound effects. The music is always fitting and intriguing. The sounds of urban objects in the music reflects throughout the general location of the city making it feel like Cole is smack dabb in the middle of a big city. One of the moments that caught my attention in the music department is the very beginning where Cole has to face off against The Beast. The violins and cellos in the fight song were so fitting and so catchy it made the experience of whooping The Beast’s ass a lot more pleasurable. Depending on the scenario, the music will always play a certain tune best fit for the occasion and it never fails to deliver.
Voice acting is a big part of inFamous 2. The cutscenes are always powerful and show players the relationships between each character as they converse. When things get heated, the characters will bicker amongst themselves yelling at one another. Or when things get a little emotional between characters, you will hear it in their voices as they apologize to each other or cry. Overall I loved the voice acting and felt it was a needed improvement from the first.
As Cole runs, glides, and grinds through the city, I was able to hear the sounds of cars driving past, or the background sounds of motorized vehicles off in the distance. The faint sounds of glasses hitting against each other can be heard as well. These sounds, as a whole, give off the feeling of being in a city. It was a nice touch in inFamous 2.
Fans have been waiting for inFamous 2 for the longest now, and it does me great pleasure to say that inFamous 2 far exceeds anything that the original inFamous ever did. Graphically, the improvements are obvious. The City of New Marias surpasses Empire City by a milestone. The character animations and voice acting are far improved. The gameplay is the same, however tweaked for a much more indepth experience. If anyone liked the first inFamous, they’re going to fall in love with this nicely polished sequel.
inFamous 2 scores an 8.5 out of 10