The original Infamous was kind of a surprise. I picked it up only because it included a code for the Uncharted 2 multiplayer beta (as I’m sure was the case for lots of people), but it turned out being a really fun game. It was a little rough around the edges but was well worth the price of admission. So now that the sequel is out, how does it hold up?
Infamous 2 picks up a bit after the first game. You may remember the final boss talking about how Cole is going to have to protect the world by killing a monster called The Beast. Cole has since been training and the game opens with The Beast’s arrival. In order to combat the thing, he heads to New Marais (New Orleans, pretty much) to further develop his powers.
That’s the general framework of the game and as you can see, it’s not all that different from the first game. You’ll work your way around the districts of the city, turning on power and unlocking new abilities as you fight against three different groups of enemies. Sounds familiar, huh?
Also familiar are the controls. The game plays exactly the same as the first Infamous, with the variation on ”shooter controls” left untouched. What changed is how you select what powers to use. Rather than picking one type of lightning bolt, for example, you can scroll through those you’ve unlocked on the fly. It’s a great addition and makes you feel more versatile in every situation. Also changed is that stunts now unlock powers. For example, if you want to upgrade your shockwave, you need to complete a certain task ten times before you can buy said upgrade.
The powers all feel great and the variation on the different bolts and rockets and the like is nice. New superpowers have also been added, in addition to the classic thunderstorm. You can now create giant electric tornados that sweep the streets, you just have to be willing to get some civilians hurt in the process.
Morality works the same way this time around, with the story presenting you with very black and white choices to push you through one side of the story or the other. I’m getting kind of sick of this style of morality systems in games, but I do like that in Infamous good and evil earn you different abilities. You may remember that in the first game being good or evil only modified your current abilities. Now, you can gain fire or ice skills for being evil or good, respectively. I more enjoyed ice if only because it allows you to launch yourself into the air with large ice spikes.
Of course the traversal system is back as well and not much has changed in that area of the game. Vertical power lines have been added to the sides of buildings to get you to the roof more quickly, at least. Sucker Punch seems to have taken the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach here because it’s still a blast to jump, glide and grind your way around the city.
You may have noticed a pattern here. If you’re thinking “this sounds just like a lot more Infamous,” you’re pretty much right. All in all, Sucker Punch really didn’t change a lot about the game. The story is a little stronger this time around and the visuals are definitely much sharper, but otherwise very little has changed from the first game. Thankfully, this makes it easy for you to decide if it’s a game you want to play. If you enjoyed the first Infamous and would like to play more, then you will enjoy Infamous 2. If you were indifferent about the first game or didn’t like it/had problems with it, I doubt the sequel provides anything to win you over. If you’ve never played Infamous before, I recommend getting the first game free off the PSN right now (before this “welcome back” deal ends) to see if you like it before you go out and buy the sequel.