Infamous was one of those games that offered a far superior superhero experience even though its protagonist was no Superman or Batman. You were Cole McGrath, a courier who just happened to be saddled with a highly volatile device that not only leveled his city but bestowed upon him bitching electric powers. He could then use those powers for good by being Empire City’s savior or just be an utter ass without a disregard for anyone’s safety. Infamous 2 expands upon that formula with a new setting and a plethora of new powers. It’s core gameplay hasn’t changed a lot but that still does not stop Infamous 2 from becoming one of the most entertaining games I’ve played in recent times.
Death from above
As you boot up Infamous 2 for the firs time, your actions from the previous iteration – be they good or evil – will get transferred to the game. Or you can start with a clean slate from scratch. Players once again step into the electric boots of Cole McGrath who’s now on his way to New Marais to amp up his powers. You see he’s up against a fifty foot behemoth called The Beast and unless he expands upon his powers exponentially, there’s no way he can take it down. Cole is joined in this noble quest by his best friend Zeke as well a cast of pretty interesting characters. The game does a fine job of recapping the events from the first game so even newcomers can catch on real fast. Voice acting was surprisingly good and I really dug the chemistry between Cole and his compadres. If Cole didn’t shoot out lighting bolts from his fingers, he’d probably make a cool addition to a guy’s night out.
New Marais is loosely based on New Orleans and developer Sucker Punch have done a bang up job in capturing the city’s vibe. Certain parts of the city will be in utter ruins after the floods while the flourishing ones will be soaked in neon lights and festivities. The entire city is your playground but initially you’ll be confined to just one part of the city. After the half way mark, you’ll be required to help out the flooded parts of the city and it’s during this time, the game gets real intense. Since Cole has a gazillion volts of electricity coursing through his veins, he must obviously avoid water like the plague and in an area that’s pretty much submerged under-water you can figure out how tricky navigation could get.
You one ugly mofo man
Navigation thankfully isn’t a problem in the game as Cole is well versed in the art of Parkour (free running) and could very well give Altair or Ezio a run for their money. While Cole is more than capable of climbing any structure present in the game world, his climbing animation lacks the fluidity you’ve been spoilt with thanks to the Assassins Creed series, looking a tad clunky in the process. Plus unlike the Assassins Creed games where there’s somewhat of a strategy involved, Cole can scale any building by simply spamming the jump button. He can also grind on electric cables spread out all over the city. These powers were present in the first game as well but were presented to Cole after a while. Here, the game starts you off with these essential abilities making travel a breeze right off the bat.
Combat in Infamous 2 is pretty much the same as its predecessor with the additional of melee attacks. These attacks allow players to take down enemies that get too close in stylish ways thanks to their very own lightning rod. Your powers are variants of real world weaponry so you’ll be able to fire off electric bolts (like a pistol), launch electric rockets, blow enemies sky high with electric nades and lots more. The game has a huge selection of powers, some of which are locked to your Karmic choices. Like the first game, Karma plays a major part in Infamous 2. Your choices will not only dictate your appearance to a certain extent but they’ll also determine which powers you unlock. Be the nice guy and you’ll inherit powers that don’t have much of a collateral damage but be the evil one and you’ll receive crazy volatile powers that kill as many civilians as they do bad guys.
The only way to travel
Your moral choices in this game will also be reflected in either good or evil side-quests. I really like the way developer Sucker Punch have integrated side-quests into your upgrade system unlocking new powers after an ‘x’ amount of side quests. This way you actually feel like you’re being rewarded for breaking away from the plot. And it really helps that these side quests are well designed and not just cheap clones of the main story missions.
As Cole progresses through the game and gradually upgrades his powers he’ll become a real badass towards the end of the game. But this does not make him invincible. Sure he can regenerate health from any electric device but that still doesn’t make him impervious to bullets or monster puke. Through the game you’ll encounter a diverse amount of foes, ranging from gun totting hicks, to ice soldiers, to swamp monsters to some big ass bosses. Boss fights in this game are truly impressive in scope and without spoiling anything for you, let’s just say they would give some of the ones present in God of War III a run for their money. My only issue with them was that I ended up fighting a few of them multiple times through the game and since I knew how to take them down, it just became an exercise in repetition.
Don't you run away from me
But these are minor issues that are nothing but a thorn in the grand scheme of things. Infamous 2 is a gorgeous and entertaining game that is full of content. It also warrants multiple play throughs thanks to its Karmic system that lets players be as good or as evil as their heart desires. And with the game's User Generated Content (UGC) system, you can play missions created by other users for months on end (at the time of this review, I never really got to try that mechanic out so I'll be putting up a separate write-up somewhere down the line). It will without a doubt appeal to anyone looking for a solid action adventure.