inFamous 2 Review
- Posted July 1st, 2011 at 16:53 EDT by Steven Williamson
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The stunningly designed city of New Malais and Cole's range of superpowers are two of the main highlights, but the content creator really pushes the genre to a whole new level. inFamous 2 is, in almost every way, better than its predecessor.
- The city of New Malais is a joy to explore and navigate
- Satisfying to execute, visually impressive range of super powers
- User-generated content accelerates the genre to a new level
- Some badly executed and repetitive boss fights
- Combat camera angles and poor targeting can be frustrating
By bombarding you with XP and new powers like an eager congregation showering a bride with confetti, inFamous 2 rewards you better and more frequently than most games. With over 50 powers to unlock— and dozens of side objectives to encourage you to experiment with Cole McGrath’s parkour skills and superhero/anti-hero weapon set—the campaign is also very well-paced, never leaving it too long before throwing a new challenge at you, or giving you further reason to experiment and explore the gorgeous city of New Malais. In almost every way, this electrically-charged, open-world action adventure is better than its predecessor.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, the first game in the series saw bike messenger Cole MacGrath turn into an electric superhuman after Empire City suffered a devastating attack caused by an explosive device hidden in the package he was delivering. To cut a long story short, and avoid spoilers, MacGrath ended up on the chase of an evil, glowing entity called The Beast, choosing a “Good” or “Evil” Karma path, using his new-found powers to restore order and building up his strength for the fight against the monstrous creature.
inFamous 2 unsurprisingly picks up where its prequel ends. This time, however, The Beast is clearly in sight – 1,500 miles away to be precise. The bad news, however, is that the slate is wiped clean in terms of Cole’s powers. Once again you need to earn XP, collect Blast Shards and build up Cole once more into the ultimate hero or villain with an expansive range of powers to make him strong enough to take down The Beast in the final showdown. Though the ending is predictable and the characters and references to the first game will be difficult for newcomers to understand, it’s a typical over-the-top, comic book-style narrative that should appease fans of the original. inFamous fanboys may also be pleased to know that you can reap rewards if you played the first game by starting on the “Good” of “Bad” karma path from where you left off, gaining perks for the trophies you unlocked in inFamous.
Once again, inFamous 2 features the same “Good” or “Evil” choices from the original. Two new characters, Kuo and Nix, represent these two paths and your good and bad conscience. While Kuo represents good, Nix represents evil, with both NPCs appearing in cut-scenes to tempt you into a morality-based decisions. They also appear in-game helping you in combat to defeat enemies more efficiently. Though Nix's over-the-top voice-acting really grates after a while as she shouts out "Blast them, man!" for the dozenth time, the two characters are a decent new addition to the series and represent some fun moments— when Nix helps you, for example, to tip oil barrels from the rooftops onto banners dotted around the city square and then you get to set them alight and send enemies dashing for safety.
Throughout the game you can partake in numerous good or evil missions, where the decisions are as black and white as choosing to either save civilians or kill them. There’s no middle ground, and it’s slightly disappointing that you can’t pick up a mix of good or evil powers during the game—instead having to play through the good and bad paths independently to get the whole inFamous 2 experience. Nonetheless, this is an action game and not an RPG, so these clear choices do ensure that you’re entirely focused one way or another on being a badass, or a do-gooder—killing innocent street performers for no reason whatsoever, or choosing to help the cops tackle a bunch of terrorists. Either choice still gives you access to an impressive arsenal of powers.
Shooting bolts of lightning into a gang of militia, picking a car up with your Telekinesis skill, or conjuring up an Ionic Storm to cause utter devastation are all visually impressive and enjoyable to execute. One of the joys of combat is the freedom to experiment with ... (continued on next page) ----