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InFamous Review
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Sony does love their updates, don’t they? Almost once a month we get one, from small security updates (we see what you did there), out loud and proud updates with several new features etc and sneaky updates which they don’t tell us about but are a nice surprise. In keeping with what the community wants, Sony gave us Trophy’s. Yay we all say! And Yay again! Yeah…not me though….

I couldn’t care less about trophies; I have never cared about them. Up until now they have been a happy pop-up on my screen mildly distracting me from gunning down mutants. I never saw the appeal and blanked out when people talk about them to me, until inFamous. Oh you glorious bastards, Sucker Punch studios.

InFamous is one of the finest games I have played in a long time. Anyone who knows me knows I can play a great game for hours but you’re gonna have to work for my time. Fallout 3 did this (one more hour, please!) and now InFamous did this. To date, it is the only game I have cared enough about to get all the trophies.

You play Cole McGrath, Courier in Empire city (yeah I know, stick with it) and right at the beginning a bomb goes off with our “hero” in the middle. End game right? Wrong. Cole is gifted with the power to harness electricity and electrical energy which rates about an 8 on my “Awesome-super-powers-to-have” scale. You “start” the game a few days after the explosion in which the city has gone to hell. Gangs rule, a plague has broken out and the army is camped outside the city not allowing anyone out (one of the early missions shows the brutality they are willing to perform to keep the quarantine in effect). This is one of the better mechanics to explain the limits of a sandbox game. That and you can’t swim, being that thousands of volts charge through your body and anyone who needs the science lesson; water + electricity = lashing of death.

You start with the standard abilities to zap people and run around the roofs of empire city (Cole being a free runner before the disaster) with more missions under your belt the more your powers expand. You get them by connecting substations in underground missions which are a refreshing break from above ground. The excitement you feel when you get a new power to try is quite fun. You can also improve them with experience points gained from doing missions and cleaning up the gang affected areas. Nothing quite like chucking an electric cluster-bomb into a crowd of hooded bad guys and watching the bodies fly.

Oh, yeah your powers are limited in one respect. You charge your powers by sucking the energy from lamp posts, outlets, cars and even (if you really are a bastard) people. This would seam tedious at first but becomes second nature and your “internal battery” improves making these charging point top-ups less frequent. But you still get your basic lightning strike power that never needs a recharge so you’re never defenceless.

The scaling of buildings and running around the roof of Empire City feels very natural and never forced. Some times I had issues with jumping on a thin pillar, Cole not grabbing it etc. but this is more to do with me than the game. It never feels forced or breaks you from the immersion of the game and with the ability to get charged by grinding the over-ground train system, “glide” using electrical-magnetic repulsion and grind electrical wires from roof to roof travel is fast and not a problem. In fact it feels like a natural evolution of Cole’s powers. Sucker punch could have wimped out and given Cole the ability to fly or teleport but they went the more character way and it works out better in my opinion.

Empire City itself is divided into 3 districts which become un-lockable in the progression of missions (thank you GTA). You start out in the trendy part of the city then the slums and then the historic district where the game climaxes. Each district has about 15-20 side missions and are very good and have real variety over the usual “go here, do that” or the “escort this” ”protect that”. The side missions feel important and every time you complete one you clear the area of bad guys and sometimes get perks like a hospital check point in that location, should you die you will re-spawn there instead of the other side of the map. Very helpful!

The city itself is a character. It gets cleaner if you are good (people come up to you and are nice, take photos of you etc) and becomes a hellhole if you are bad (people form mobs and come after you, putting up posters of you etc). You never really question the nature of the city and it does feel alive.

Ah, yes, the Karma system. No grey area here. Good or bad and variations of good and bad e.g. guardian, champion hero for the good side. Either side gets you unique powers so you can swing between good and evil or like me do a “good” play through and then a “bad” play through. In the “bad” play through I did feel guilty at first but after using the lightning storm to cook a street of people I unashamedly did my evil, tyrannical laugh (usually only heard from my workshop after I have overclocked my PC or I have invented another bacon recipe).

The only flaws I could gather are that one type of side mission gets very annoying. You have to scale a building and destroy several listening devices scattered around it. It can be a challenge but I always just found it boring. You only have to do this a few times in the game and this is offset by all the other excellent other side missions. Play through the pain.

I

nFamous delivers in shovel loads. Giant mechs made of trash, psychically charged enemies, hordes of weapon welding, gasmask wearing bad guys, a twisting story line, romance, consequences and a great ending. There are some moments in the game that made me jump out of my seat doing a Darth Vader “NOOOOO!!!” at the screen, but I won’t spoil it for you. Coupled with a great desire to do good and stand posing in front of waving American flags (damn you Spiderman 3) or to burn down entire crowds of innocent people in a hell-storm of electric death, InFamous I love you. Sucker Punch, get on with the sequel. I cannot wait.

9/10

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InFamous Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
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