I decided to sign up for GameFly a week or two ago — I highly recommend it. The first game I got was something for the Lady Penguatroll; a PS 3 version of the popular board game Scene It (which we already own two versions of; not entirely sure why she chose this, but eh). The second was inFamous 2. My review for inFamous is here.
If you didn’t play the original game, your character is Cole MacGrath, originally a mild-mannered bike courier in Empire City. When a device called the Ray Sphere goes kablooey, delivered by Cole, he gets superpowers of an electrical nature. The new installment opens on the way to New Marais, which is absolutely not New Orleans, after The Beast levels Empire City, which is not New York.
The controls are very simple; the game opens with a nice tutorial. As an added bonus, if you beat inFamous, you get bonuses, like free XP, when you start the game. Fans of the original game will be able to dive right in; they had to get a new voice actor for Cole, and that might irritate a fan of the series, but that’s honestly a fairly minor complaint.
Cole is bigger and badder than ever, with plenty of new powers, including a Spider-Man like “lightning tether” and the ability to throw cluster grenades. Your karma choices — good or bad — have a permanent effect on which powers you can or cannot use. If you go evil, you might get the ability to teleport for brief distances, but you’ll lose a protective shield.
Enemies range from inhuman swamp monsters to Conduits (people with superpowers) who have power over ice to ignorant, redneck militiamen. The game’s difficulty isn’t terribly high, even on Hard, but it can occasionally be challenging, particularly early on. You’ll find yourself constantly needing to recharge or heal, which keeps up the tension and the pace. Cole is surprisingly vulnerable, a little more so than in the first game. Two rockets will kill him, and unlike some shooters, the enemies didn’t go to the Stormtrooper School of Marksmanship; they’ll hit you surprisingly frequently. You’ll need to use your powers to dispatch your enemies as frequently as possible.
Karma, as always, is the centerpiece of inFamous 2. If you do good things, like stopping muggings or killing bad guys, you’ll get good karma. If you kill the mugging victim or slaughter civilians indiscriminately, you’ll get bad karma. Certain missions or events throughout the game will give you an opportunity to make either a good karma choice or a bad karma choice; unlike inFamous, for better or worse, the game tells you which is which explicitly. The story plays out slightly differently, until you get the last two or three story missions, which are radically different depending on which side you choose. Each ending is radically different; that’s all I can say without spoiling things. Neither one really seems to set up an inFamous 3, which is kind of a shame.
Graphically, there are occasional glitches, and the camera can be kind of a pain at times. If you’re fighting at a distance (which in most cases you should), that’s no big deal, but if you’re fighting with the Amp (a new melee weapon), the camera will focus on the guy you’re fighting, to the exclusion of everything else around you.
One new element I didn’t explore much is User Generated Content; you can actually play missions created by other people. I didn’t try any of the missions — I wanted to finish it as quickly as possible — but I’ve heard very good things about it.
The story was the heart and the soul of inFamous, and it’s a little weaker in the sequel. The characters don’t react as much to your alignment as they probably should. If you haven’t played inFamous, a good part of the story won’t make sense — but since you can get inFamous free now, that’s not as big a problem as it might have been. There aren’t as many memorable moments either, although the endings are both very poignant. Some characters make an appearance, but a couple don’t. If you were hoping some of the loose ends would get tied up in inFamous 2, well, they don’t. Two characters in particular (SPOILER — you’ll have to highlight to see who they are) are never explained and you never hear what happens to them. The characters are Moira and Sasha.
It’s a good game, but not as mind-blowing as the first one. I’m pleased I got it through GameFly, but I would have been pretty peeved had I gotten it at full price — there just isn’t enough content for $59.99. User-generated content could fix some of that, admittedly.
– Gameplay is fast and furious
– Very good score, most of the original voice actors return
– Both endings are satisfying, for the most part
– Not as much mission variety
– Game a little too difficult in the beginning
– Camera and graphical problems