Cole's latest adventure feels more like an update than a sequel
Sony's own electric video game superhero returns to the Playstation 3 in an all-too-familiar avatar. We're talking about Cole Macgrath, protagonist of Sucker Punch Productions' Infamous series, who has now made his way from the ruins of Empire City to the flooded streets and swamps of New Marais, a city based on New Orleans in Infamous 2. In his attempt to defeat ‘The Monster', Cole learns that he simply isn't powerful enough for the task, so he decides to flee and build himself up for the inevitable battle that approaches — and it's up to you, the player, to help him through the process by accomplishing various story and side missions while collecting experience points to unlock and unleash new, powerful abilities. During Cole's journey, you will be presented with various moral choices, and it is these choices that will determine the path you take. Take the ‘good' path and you will unlock the ability to shield civilians from harm or have access to ‘sticky' grenades. Take the ‘evil' path and you will have the access to more damaging grenades and bolts. But as you gain more XP, powerful abilities for both paths will be unlocked. So, will you choose the path to heroism or the path to infamy?
Infamous 2 brings back everything that made the first game interesting to play. Cool abilities, unique protagonist, comic book-inspired narrative, monsters and all that electricity — the game feels a little more polished than the original, but the improvements are subtle. Some of the new abilities (anything with the word ‘ion' in it, for instance) are visually superb and their usefulness in-game can never be understated. The game is paced beautifully as well and there's always the urge to finish one more mission before turning off your PS3 for the night. But despite these huge positives, Infamous 2 feels more like a ‘1.5', and some of its faults while not glaring, ultimately bring the game down. For starters, the game features some of the most boring side quests in an open world adventure game. You played the side quests in Infamous, sure, but there's just more of the same here with the incentive for completing them being substantial (you will need to finish 60 side quests to unlock a decent ability). Melee combat using the ‘amp', while a welcome addition to the series, feels repetitive and inaccurate, thanks in no small part to the ridiculous camera which often leaves Cole (who strangely feels more underpowered this time around) hitting thin air against stronger, more mobile foes. New Marais looks, feels and sounds exactly like Empire City (except for swamps and flood-affected areas) — the only way you know you're in a different city is because the game tells you repeatedly that you are. The story, while not bad, is most certainly not as good as the first game but to Infamous 2's credit, characters such as Nix and LaRoche are quite memorable even if they're based on stereotypes. Overall, Infamous 2 lacks that quality we have seen in sequels to Sony's first party titles such as Uncharted, Killzone, God of War and LittleBigPlanet, and while not a bad game, it could most certainly have been a whole lot better.
Infamous 2 is available for the Playstation 3.