Review by Bkstunt_31
"The start of a saga.."
Destiny, whether you believe in it or not, is sometimes a very cruel mistress. For Cole McGrath, destiny handed him super powers. What he does with them is up to you.
Cole is a package deliverer, but one day he picked the wrong package to deliver as he was instructed to open a certain package in downtown Empire City (what kind of courier opens packages?). What happened next was catastrophic, as the package exploded, leveling the downtown area and killing thousands in its wake. Somehow, though, Cole survived the blast and soon learns that the explosion left him with electrical-based superpowers. The US government soon quarantines Empire City after the blast, leaving Cole inside trying to find answers to how he survived and what will he do now with these powers.
The story picks up fairly fast as Cole and his best friend Zeke (another package deliverer) work towards surviving in an Empire City that has fallen to lawlessness and is being run by gangs. In an attempt to breakthrough the quarantine, Cole is captured by an FBI agent who uses him to search for her husband John as well as the ray sphere, which was the device in the package Cole delivered. While working these missions, Cole finds himself in the middle of a conspiracy and only one of several players in a greater story.
Overall, the story is very entertaining, and contains one of the best plot twists I've seen in recent games (I really liked the ending). There are times where you'll have to play through several "fetch" quests before the story develops in any serious way, but they aren't too bad. Also, the story gets noticeably better through various side quests that Cole can accomplish. Quite a bit of the story is left ambiguous, no doubt to make way for a sequel.
Game play: 8/10
Infamous lets Cole play around in his sandbox known as Empire City. You'll start out with only a few basic powers at first (zapping people with lightning), and gradually acquire more and more powers as you advance the story. Cole is also quite the acrobat and is able to climb literally every building in the city, and some powers will also let him get around by electrically riding power lines and railroad rails. Unfortunately since Cole is basically electricity personified, he's unable to touch water, or use guns or cars. To use the more powerful powers though, you'll need to store electricity inside your body, and an electricity meter shows how much you have stored. You can easily recharge yourself though, by simply finding a power source and draining it. You don't have a health meter either, but you'll know your close to death by how the screen looses color, so you'll either have to stop taking damage or absorb some more electricity to get better.
As you play, you'll open new areas in Empire City to explore. You'll also be given several secondary side quests to do at your leisure such as collecting power shards which give you the ability to store more electricity, or listen to dead drop satellite signals, which tell you more of the story. There are also several side missions that once you complete, the enemy gangs in that area will stop re spawning and you'll "take over" that part of the city.
The real draw of the game, though, is the ability to choose if you want to be evil or good. doing certain things and making choices will give you either good or bad karma and change several things in the story, your appearance, how the city's citizens react to you, and most importantly changes what kind of powers you have. As you play you'll gain experience for defeating enemies and karma for your choices. With the experience you can level up your powers, but certain powers are only unlocked if you are good or bad, and furthermore how good or bad you are. You will eventually gain enough karma to change your good or bad title. For example, you can go from a thug to an outlaw on the gad path, and that change to an outlaw will unlock several new powers you can level up. As you level up powers, they will not only get stronger but often have certain side effects.
In all, the game play is Infamous is interesting and fun to play. Powers are given to you at regular intervals and every single thing you do in the game either directly helps you or advances the story. Fighting enemies while they take pot shots at you on the roof is probably the most frustrating thing about the game, aside from your completely inept friend Zeke, but overall the game play was a blast.
The graphics in Infamous are, frankly, quite good. Character designs are well done with the exception of the gang members who have hardly any variation in how they appear. Heck, even the common civilians appeared to have more variety than the gang members. I also liked how every single building was scalable, but to make them like that the developers had to put pipes, windows, and other climbable items on each one. The game's cut-scenes and important karma choices are often presented in a comic book style as well, usually while Cole explains what's happening. Powers were entertaining and looked good, especially the side effects that you get when you level your powers up. There are also many different environmental objects that can explode throughout the game, leading to some very satisfying kills. While I was playing, though, I often came across some "pop-in" enemies, who would just appear out of thin air from seemingly nowhere. It doesn't look that good to see them pop-in like that and I think it has something to do with the game's draw distance. Aside from that and the poor variety of common gang members, the game looks good and the graphics aren't really an issue.
The voice actors throughout the game were picked well, and the story was well written, although overall I thought Cole was a pretty quiet individual. I also like the rouge DJ who gives the isolated Empire City status updates through regular broadcasts on local TV. I really don't remember any of the music throughout the game, as it wasn't very distinctive in any way. I do remember the massive amounts of explosions and electricity sounds, though, as you'll be hearing them every time you fight. Overall I would have to say the game has average voice acting, cool superpower sound effects, and just generally the noise of a populated city.
Playing the game over again will first of all let you play as the hero or villain; whatever you didn't get to play as or choose not to play as the first time. This changes your powers and which ending you will get. Other than that there's really no incentive to play through again. Once you do finish, you will get put back into the city and can continue to collect shards, dead drops, and maybe work on getting some trophies. Also, you can download a new power from the PlayStation Store for free, so you might as well grab that as well. There are also a few different difficulty settings you can try out to add some more challenge. It took me about three good afternoons to beat the game, so while it's not terribly long it does provide a good amount of play time (and even more if you collect all of the collectibles).
Although it may have a few issues, such as forgettable music and some graphical problems, Infamous is a solid super-hero title that is worth any action fan's attention. Infamous 2 was actually announced recently, and I'm looking forward to all the new and improved things that the developer, Sucker Punch, is going to bring to the table. Infamous is still moderately priced in stores, and may just be better to rent, but that's your call. Have fun and keep playing.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 07/01/10
Game Release: inFamous (US, 05/26/09)
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