Title: inFamous 2
Release Date: 7th June 2011
Genre: Action Adventure, Sandbox
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
– More diverse powers and abilities
– Deeper karma system
– Better and enjoyable melee system
– Bigger, diverse and beautiful city
– Outstanding User generated content implementation
– Visual bugs and drops
– Poor melee camera
Reviewed by FrontalSpy
2009 saw the release of Sucker Punch’s first PlayStation 3 game infamous, and if you saw our review of it, the game did shockingly well. A massive living city, comic book scenes and story as well as a karma system got it going far. Two years on and Infamous 2 has much to live up to, with marketing and coverage. Infamous 2 does not disappoint and while it plays similarly to the first, there are no complaints here.
Infamous 2 has more diverse powers than the first game which is affected by the deeper karma system. Melee has been updated and now very enjoyable in the large beautiful city of new marais. Though the game has a few short comings with poor camera work during the fun melee combat and few bugs and frame rate drops that spoil the fun. Infamous 2 also includes user generated content and boasts it by showing off some of its cool tools for anyone with bright ideas.
Setting right after Infamous, Cole met Kuo, an NSA agent who has information about the prophetic Beast and the scientist Wolfe, who could help Cole into defeating him. With Kuo and a redeemed Zeke they leave for Wolfe in New Marias but the beast suddenly attacks Empire city. Cole retaliates with all his might and new powers, and after some hefty blows between the two it seems that both were defeated. But with Cole sustaining heavy damage, the beast seemed to recovered quick. Cole disappointed travels to New Marias to find Wolfe and gain new powers to defeat the beast. But at the arrival of New Marias, the town is under the control of the Militia headed by Bertrand and some random swamp monsters. Infamous 2 has a more typical comic-book story and many pieces of plot devices many remind players of their favourite comics. The first had such a grand story but here it felt a little generic but what do you expect from a franchise born from comic books.
Back In his electric saddle, infamous 2 plays very much the same as the first. You’ll be playing in an open city in a third-person perspective and has a cover system, similar to Gears. Cole uses his electric powers to zap enemies dead but your charge infinite. Even though the weakest bolt didn’t use any charge slots in the first, infamous 2 has every electric power to use the slots. The slots can be increased by collecting blast shards found around New Marais. Of course higher and stronger eclectic powers require more slots and affect your playing style. The only way to recharge your slots is by draining the electricity in objects around you. If you are having a rough time looking for them you can ping by pressing R2 or the left stick. The Ping also lets you search for blast shards.
Since nothing much has changed from the core gameplay of infamous, infamous 2 has more content than the first to keep you enjoying the game. New powers are introduce, while some have been taken out. The game has more and interesting set pieces to keep you surprised and enjoyed, that play out like a comic. One new feature is to switch abilities on the fly, since Infamous 2 has so much to give the player, it needs to be switched on the fly. The abilities cannot be placed on any button, rather one button has a ‘type’ of the power- the example would be using grenades, the square button. Grenades have many choices but you can only choose one at a time and each are used for different purposes. One moment you need to use a sticky grenade for a single target but many more show up. The solution? Just press hold left on the D-pad and select cluster grenades for the explosive party.
Upgrading and obtaining new powers require a stunt before it can be reached. On the powers screen, it tells you the required stunt needed and how to get the stunt. Most of these will be done by random and you can always check which stunts you obtain on the left of the screen. Infamous 2 still uses EXP to get Cole new abilities and almost everything Cole does gives him some loving experience.
Many of the new abilities come from the element that Cole gains halfway through the game. With the option of fire or ice (evil and heroic) Cole has a more diverse palate of powers to use and delve into. With the fire and ice the karma system has gone to a tweak. Back in infamous during the main story missions there are distinct karma moments which tells you which is the right path, and which is wrong. Infamous 2 takes it higher and grades your standings with your actions throughout the mission.
Killing innocent people, bio-leaching, restraining the goodies and wrecking havoc all lead you towards the dark side while healing, restraining the baddies and helping the police all earn you the hero title. This is a good tweak as the game doesn’t tell you what is right and what is wrong for the most part, and at the end of the mission is a summary of your actions and your moral standing to the public. It does have some problems when accidentally killing a few innocent people can make you more evil. As well more powers your karma standing also changes your physical features with an evil Cole having more scars and pale skin or a hero Cole with a nice blue shirt and maybe a tan.
This immerses the player further to show the immediate effects that it can have on Cole, and also how the city reacts to him- with an evil Cole being booed and thrown stuff at or a good Cole being cheered and taken photos with. There are more random encounters that was in the first which, and they are all karma moments. Whether its healing a group of injured citizens, saving people from a new shiny bomb, getting rid of noisy street performers or stopping innocent people with those succulent blast shards- all these encounters are random and boast your karma rating. You can choose to ignore them or do the complete opposite, the choice is yours.
There is less variety in enemies now, with the main focus on boss battles. Fighting 50 feet monsters, burrowing roaches or just the odd Mr Freeze are thrown in for the sake of the missing variety. Although the game has three factions – the Militia, swamp monsters and ice conduits, the first also had three but had more variety in the enemies. Players don’t want to see the same redneck soldier that shoot rocket launchers 5 feet away at the ground, but rather enemies that change the entire feel such as the flying machines from the first. The bosses are quite annoying with many having cheap moves or too ugly to look at, though it is quite fun to see many of the factions killing each other off so Cole doesn’t, unless Cole wants to be a insane hero and take them all down.
The melee combat undergoes a major needed change since the first did not have any suggestible melee. With the power of your amp from Zeke Cole can smack the enemies gone with the simple square and when a special meter is filled up, Cole can unleash a finisher move upon the unsuspecting prey. Melee is more fun and fluid as Cole can take out crowds of enemies with the amp in style and without using any electric slots.
Although the melee is sweet and fun, it’s not so much when the camera swings all over the place to a point where your awesome moves cannot be seen. The camera jolts every time Cole swings the amp and gets worse during the finishers. It is quite a shame since the melee is so fun but disrupted by the nauseating camera during those times. Not only has the camera but the rest of the game too had some problems that can ruin gameplay. Many would include how Cole would attract to the nearest ledge when you would like to stay away from it or how climbing buildings doesn’t feel as fluid as it should it. These are small hindrances and can be ironed out easily later.
The game does look more pretty and beautiful over the first, with the all the old powers getting a technical revamp and the city looking better than empire city. The bolts are more like bolts of bullets now, instead of a stream of electricity which I did miss to some degree. The super crazy ionic powers are all so destructive and look amazing ripping through those small fry enemies There is more destruction in infamous 2 since some verandas do collapse and crush anyone unfortunates below it. New Marias itself resembles New Orleans after Hurricane Katarina struck in 2005. A bit of New Marias called flood town takes many notes of the post-hurricane city, not only this impact the graphic style but also the play style. Since flood town is obviously flooded, staying on roof tops is your best bet but it’s lurking with militia. As expected Cole doesn’t mix well with water, namely dying and how he survived with drinking is anyone’s guess.
Cole gets a new voice actor in Infamous 2, and so does his personality. Cole is more cocky and playful but can still be one dangerous shock head. Though not hero material Cole has seen to be acting more human than the first and his voice near the end of the game does mimic the firsts. The game does sound great with many zaps and explosions as a 90’s action movie and all sound terrific. The game’s music is more apparent than the first and creates a better atmosphere of the city, whether it’s at night, day or dusk. The music does vary but doesn’t have any memorable scores that stick into mind.
Infamous was quite popular with the comic book style cut-scenes, it’s still here but used much less. Sucker punch has opted to use mote motion capture technology to capture and render Cole’s facial movements. And since this technology has been implemented, the game focuses more of in-game cut-scenes and less comic book style fames. I am quite fine with this transaction as it could show off more pretty colours of the path your Cole took or the big colourful explosions in the background.
The biggest and latest information to hit us was the user generated content or UGC in infamous 2. Given the tools, a meter to fill up and heaps of ideas to help us the UGC is the real highlight of infamous 2. Similar to Littlebigplanet users can create their own levels, add their own story, and add their own set pieces and more. With all these tools and technology you’d expect to be a tutorial, there isn’t. But the game offers templates by Sucker Punch and the tools have good description so it’s not too hard. Piling though all the crappy junk online it is a shame there is no search function since maybe a friend created a super awesome mission, but you just couldn’t find it.
The UGC does have many types of filters to get through from the most popular to the most recent. You can also find other’s UGCs o the official infamous website, provided you go through all the crappy missions. There will be moments of despair, rage and aha moments when making or playing a UGC mission, and that is where the game adds a ton of replay value on top of playing the game a couple of times to get both endings.
New Marais is a great new setting for infamous 2 with many of the residents reacting to your presence with cheers or boos, photos or stones. New powers come into play and change many of the playing styles and movement options especially with the introduction of the tether. New powers, upgrades over the old ones and upgrade in graphics bind this package together, but the cherry is the UGCs which boast in many creations and add hours of replay value on top of a lengthy game over many playthroughs. Being a hero could’ve never been so rewarding and a infamous villain could’ve never been so fun. Infamous 2 is the sequel the fans wanted.