When mentioning 2009’s Infamous, many people to this day do not know how unorthodox the game is. People expect it to play like other superhero franchises such as Prototype or Spiderman; but Infamous is in a lane of its own and due to that it has been highly underrated. Last time Sucker Punch made such an awesome game that I couldn’t anticipate how much further they could go in Infamous 2 besides implementing visual improvements.
The visual improvements are definitely apparent. The first game didn’t even look bad, but Infamous 2’s art-style is a pretty gorgeous improvement. I especially like the graphic novel styled story-telling which Sucker Punch proudly carried over from the first game. One thing that was not carried over though was main character Cole’s original voice actor. Initially this will likely cause distress if you played the first game, but you get used to it eventually.
After playing the first hour you’ll realize that the game plays exactly like the previous game, thus you will feel at home. I found the first fifteen minutes cheap, but that first quarter of an hour is necessary in tutoring players unfamiliar with Infamous to control the game. To someone who already knows how to play it may seem like a very bad attempt at a God of War boss battle.
The game may play just like the first game, but a lot has been added to ensure that Infamous 2 is an even fuller experience than its predecessor. You start off with a few of the powers that Cole had to learn in the first game, and your overall goal is to build Cole up enough to be able to take down a threat known as The Beast. This means that you will be learning a whole host of new electrifying abilities throughout the game. Also this time around Cole has a melee weapon which is very useful for when an enemy chooses to get ‘all up in your face’. It’s a fancy weapon to use, and it allows you to build up to a special melee finisher. The only downside is that occasionally close combat can be made frustrating due to the camera angles going haywire.
Infamous 2 has a very interesting plot, which is personalized by the occasional player choices. As in the first game you can follow either a Hero or Evil pathway, which all depends on the various actions you carry out during your play through. To make things even more interesting, there are also two nicely designed females for Cole to interact with in various missions. Each lady has their very own powers, and each pertains to one of the moral pathways. Getting close to one of these two ladies will allow Cole to collaborate and learn either a new Ice or Fire attack. Kuo pertains more to the Hero pathway, whereas my favorite Nix is more of the Evil. The thing I really liked is that although one may be seen as Hero and one Evil, they both have their good and bad sides which are made apparent in the later stages of the plot.
When you are not partaking in missions which advance the plot there is much else to do to advance the greater goal of cleaning up the city known as New Marais (a take on New Orleans). Completing the numerous side missions help to eliminate the overall amount of enemies you encounter during main missions, which actually gives them more purpose. The more of these side missions you complete, the easier Infamous 2 gets for you in the long run. Also you will need to do a good amount of side missions to rake up points, which can be spent on new variations of Cole’s abilities. Whilst doing these side missions is optional, it is best to just get through as many as you can to ensure you unlock every potential ability. There are also side tasks you can complete to advance in your chosen morality path. If you want to be a Hero you can disable bombs, stop muggings and heal victims; if you prefer the dark side you can take down civilians carrying blast shards, eliminate cops or beat down annoying street performers. All of which will be marked on the radar as you explore the city. You can also look for blast shards which by collecting will enhance Cole’s charge bar. This is necessary as using Cole’s more powerful abilities will drain him, forcing you to find a source of electricity to charge him back up.
Another added feature that gives Infamous 2 a sense of community is of course the User Generated Missions. Depending on the settings you chose, these User Generated missions created by Infamous 2 gamers all over the world will pop up at different parts of the map. You can completely ignore them if you wish, but playing them will lead to some trophies as well as extra points. There are some great concoctions out there, but at the same time there may be some that will put you off the whole thing. As for creating your own User Generated Mission, it has a pretty steep learning curve. You will have to invest a lot of time to create something not only decent, but unique. The fact that its there is a bonus, and it will give you something more to explore after you beat the game the first time.
Infamous 2 is a truly gripping experience. There have been some great games this year, but very few had me as addicted as Infamous 2 did. Even after you beat the game, which does seem fairly shorter than the first game; there is tons of replay value as you will most likely not have beaten the game 100%. Sucker Punch clearly knows how to make great sandbox titles, as Infamous 2 is one open world that begs you to explore every inch. It’s a game that makes you actually want to beat it 100%, and it seems very doable though at the same time challenging. Every side attraction in Infamous 2 contributes something to the overall experience, and nothing has been added “just because”. Infamous 2’s flaws are very few and are not the kind to put you off the experience. The first game went under a lot of people’s radar, but Infamous 2 is quite frankly a game that does not deserve to be ignored.