Late the the Game: Infamous and Infamous 2
Infamous was the reason I chose a PS3 over an XBox 360. It’s an open world game that is one part superhero game and one part third-person shooter. You play Cole McGrath, a bike messenger who gets caught in an explosion in Empire City, which is loosely modeled on New York City. The explosion gives you electrical powers which increase during the course of the game. These powers allow you to glide, shoot balls of energy, throw grenades, and basically cause mass amounts of destruction.
A lot of the game is built on exploration, and your powers make you largely invulnerable. I love video games that allow you jump around a city with no fear of falling. It gives you an incredible sense of freedom that I often think about wistfully as I’m crammed onto a train in the morning during my commute. Would it be way better if I could just ride the rails like Cole, and then climb up on to rooftops and glide my way to work? There’s elements of Tony Hawk in the rail and powerline riding.
The shooting mechanics and cover system are well done, and I loved the fact that the game combine the acrobatic/exploration elements with the shooting elements – those things aren’t often combined. I also liked that it is a shooter that doesn’t use guns. I found it much more interesting to be shooting electricity at the bad guys rather than the usual pistol/rifle/sniper/rocket launcher. It also takes away that ooky feeling I get when I’m playing shooters that use real weapons, where it can get a little too real.
The game is open world with new areas opened up during the course of play. There are also side missions to play and energy shards to find which give a nice break to the action. Less well executed is the morality system, which dictates which powers you have. You can either be good or bad, but these choices are very obvious and binary: you need to be either all good or all bad in order to unlock the best powers. I played as good in both games, but I’m thinking I’ll go back and see what being an asshole feels like.
Infamous 2 improves on the original, setting the game in a sort of post-Katrina New Orleans, called New Marais. It adds more supernatural elements to the enemies, and develops the plot started in the first game. I enjoyed the setting of Infamous 2 more than the city in the first game, but they are both are a lot of fun. The voice acting is good if a little over the top, and I found the story interesting. These games are among my favorite games that I’ve played. They are really all I want from a video game. They look great, they control well, they give you a lot of freedom while still proving a story that makes you want to complete story missions, and it is a ton of fun to jump around the cities blowing away bad guys. (Images stolen from thegamecritique.com)