inFAMOUS: Festival Of Blood Review – Vampires In Marias

I have a confession to make; I do not like inFAMOUS 2. Despite the fact that the first game is one of my favourite PS3 titles the sequel did not manage to hold my attention for more than a few hours. My biggest gripes with the game were related to the wealth of uninteresting characters which plagued the campaign and of course, Cole’s voice! Although Cole was never the most articulated speaker, the actor who was hired to voice him in inFAMOUS 2 quickly became the bane of my existence. Rather than fix the games’ issues with a sequel, the geniuses at Sucker Punch has chosen to make good with a vampire themed spin-off, released just in time for Halloween.

There seems to be a bit of confusion on what exactly inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood is, therefore I would like to take this opportunity to clear up a few things. For starters, Festival of Blood is not DLC for inFAMOUS 2 but rather a standalone PSN title which does not require a disc to run. Prior knowledge of the series also isn’t needed so if this is your first time running around New Marias as Cole you won’t feel lost or out of place. Finally, the events in Festival of Blood aren’t cannon and for that reason none of your previous save data will carry over. Festival of Blood is merely the fictional ramblings of Zeke as he attempts to charm a piece of eyecandy out of a bar and in to his car.

The game starts with Zeke recounting a tale in which Cole is kidnapped and used as a catalyst to bring a once beautiful and extremely powerful Vampiress back to life. Once Cole unwillingly relieves Bloody Mary from her eternal slumber she expresses her gratitude by sinking her teeth in to his neck and infecting him with virus that will effectively make him her puppet once the sun rises. Its then up to Cole to spend the remainder of the night trying to figure out a way to destroy Mary before daylight creeps in and his soul is lost forever.

Although most of the abilities that Cole previously earned are initially taken away from him, being bitten has made way for a whole new set of powers which fit the games’ Halloween vibe. The most prevalent new aspect of the game is Cole’s ability to transform in to a swarm of bats and soar above rooftops for a short period of time. Doing so draws from Cole’s blood meter which can be instantly replenished by sacrificing innocent bystanders. Cole also possesses a Batman-like “Vampire Vision” which allows him to uncover hidden secrets and point out demons that are cunningly disguised as members of the public.

Cole can eventually regain most of his old abilities thanks to a streamlined upgrade system which rewards you with enhancements every time you hit a combat milestone. Slay 10 vampires, earn a new ability. Slay 25, earn another one, Slay 50… and well, you get the picture. The combat and traversal mechanics remain relatively untouched from inFAMOUS 2 so if you’ve already confronted The Beast from New Marias you’ll be able to jump in and enjoy straight away.

Completing the main story will take anything from 3-5 hours depending on whether or not choose to seek out trophies and upgrades. As there is no moral system in place or blast shards to collect there is not much incentive to re-play the game or fiendishly explore the city which reduces Festival of Blood’s replay value even further. User Generated missions are back so you can theoretically play this game for months but you’ll probably hate yourself for it. Festival also has Playstation Move support (for real this time!) but Stereoscopic 3D is still a no-no. I’m not sure why anyone would want to play an inFAMOUS game with a glowing wand but I’m not one to judge.

I’m well aware that Festival Of Blood is a stripped down version of inFAMOUS 2 but for some reason I enjoyed it much more. It’s probably due to the fact that Cole hardly speaks and stupid characters like Nix aren’t present. Think of this as merely a PSN title rather than “the new inFAMOUS game” and chances are you’ll love it. It’s not very long, or deep but at 10 bucks its hard to refuse.

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