InFamous Review

16 07 2009

Infamous Box Art

InFAMOUS is a sandbox-style third person action adventure game that is exclusive to the Playstation 3 and developed by Sucker Punch Productions who were previously behind the Sly Cooper series. In this game you take control of Cole MacGrath a bike messenger who survives a massive explosion that disables Empire City, a fictional world where the game takes place. This explosion caused a plague to develop thus forcing the military to quarantine the entire city. The blast subsequently granted Cole electrical based powers allowing him to traverse the city to reveal the conspiracy behind the blast and the origins of his powers while fighting off the resistance of various gangs and factions that are attempting to take over the city.

Can inFAMOUS successfully blend these aspects into an electrifying game, or will it simply be uninspiring? Continue reading to find out.

Single Player

One of the main elements of any open world game is the movement of the character. I feel Sucker Punch truly nailed this action with the fluidity and the relative ease of traversing the city. The climbing mechanic has a stickiness or auto lock feature to it making it painless to grab onto each window sill, pipe or ledge on your way up even the tallest buildings. The controls for these actions are easy and intuitive whether you are scaling large buildings or using your thrusters to gracefully fly from one rooftop to the next. Even the transition between combat and movement is done with finesse and blends together effortlessly. The game is just plain fun and gives you the perception that you actually have these powers.

Infamous 2

Speaking of powers I really enjoyed the use of electricity as the core power and how that translates into the story and missions. For instance if you venture into an area with no power you become visually weaker but if you turn on the power in that section you can now grind on the power lines and train tracks. The powers you receive are not only fun to use but also empower you to make you feel like a super hero. There is also a karma aspect, more on that later, and the direction you choose impacts your upgrade options. For example choose the good route and your powers focus more on precision and limiting civilian causalities. But if you choose the evil route your abilities are more concentrated on destruction and chaos. The natural progression of these powers in the overall story is just logical. The abilities you unlock directly help your advancement in that particular mission by forcing you to use that power to better understand and familiarize yourself with its strengths and weaknesses.

I found the story to be interesting and for the first time since Fallout 3 was actually invested into the story and was eager for the story to progress. The premise of the game that was divulged in the intro was captivating and instantly had me committed. The story is portrayed through unique comic book style cut scenes along with transmissions via your phone with various individuals. These characters evolve along with the story giving meaning and purpose to Cole’s actions. The deeper the story progressed into the conspiracy the more fascinating and intriguing the story became.

Infamous 1

Like most other open world games your missions are scattered throughout the city and are divided into story missions and bite sized side missions giving you the flexibility to tackle them in any order. The completion of missions grants you experience points that can then be used to upgrade and unlock your powers but also have a morality aspect to them. During these missions and over the entire game you are given moral choices that directly affect your powers, your surroundings and how the city reacts to you. Thus making Empire City actually feel like a living, breathing world that changes along with you, an aspect genuinely lacking in open world games in my eyes.

The graphics while not stunning are still impressive especially for an open world with little to no loading times. This lack of interruption was one of many aspects that I felt helped the game to be more believable. Another major factor was the development of the story and how that coincided with the pace of the game. This delicate mixture allowed the game to be more diverse as the story progressed while still allowing the subsequent development of the story to be understandable and believable.

Infamous 3

Don’t get me wrong inFAMOUS is not perfect and has its obvious flaws. For example some of the missions are repetitive and can become cumbersome. There are also problems with the enemies as they seem to have the innate ability to shoot you from remarkable distances without you being able to see them or discern where they are shooting you from. One of the other aspects that bothered me but isn’t necessarily a defect was the use of chain link fences. These fences were simply used as physical barriers that could not be climbed over or penetrated through in any other way. Which is silly since I, Cole, am able to scale mammoth buildings throughout the entire city. I understand the concept but believe another more original idea could have been implemented. Either way none of these flaws distracted or annoyed me enough to warrant the game unplayable. In fact I wanted to continue to play despite the obvious defects. I found the rest of the game so satisfying that it easily made up for those imperfections.

Infamous 4

If you are looking for replay ability this title is rich with opportunity. There is a whole different moral choice to explore along with blast shards and dead drops to collect. Both of which actually expand your experience making the allure to get them all that stronger. All of the collectibles while not easy to obtain are accessible. The trophies are perfectly integrated as to not cause a distraction but actually promote the progression of the game. One of the things I wish the developers included was a detailed statistics page that elaborated on the collectibles and such. However that is a small complaint.

Even with my aggressive tactics the difficulty was a non-factor, which is exactly what it should be. I found the game challenging but not to the point of frustration. The save points were liberal enough that you don’t have to replay a whole mission if you ended up dying, which for me was rare. The few times I did die was during the boss fights which for me were really refreshing, elaborate and memorable; eventually culminating into one of the best endings in a game that I can remember

Overall

There is something about this game that neither I nor other reviewers have been able to put a finger on that makes it so enjoyable and addicting. At times I had trouble putting this game down, not many games warrant that kind of reaction from me. Anyways the game took me about 12 ½ hours to complete as a good character on medium difficulty. After completion I had the immediate urge to replay the game on a different setting which is a testament to the replay ability.

The single player campaign was perfectly paced leaving me completely immersed into the story. The basic gameplay was molded into the story so well that I enjoyed almost every aspect of the game. All of this led to a game that was just simply fun and gratifying to play. The developers did a fantastic job and I anxiously await a sequel. inFAMOUS is clearly another one of those must have games of this generation. If you own a Playstation 3 you owe it to yourself to experience this title. I whole heartedly recommend purchasing this game not just for the exceptional story mode but also for the shear amount of replay ability it presents resulting in countless hours of enjoyment.

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7 responses

17 07 2009
GregHorrorShow

Great review – I totally agree. There really aren’t many games these days where I consider replaying it immediately after finishing it.

Next time I am going to be soooo evil 🙂

17 07 2009
BeyondTheD-Pad

I actually just started my next play through which is evil, its so much fun 🙂

17 07 2009
Shaha44

I cannot wait to get my hands on this game! It looks like A LOT of fun, maybe I will one day get to it once my addiction to BF1943 passes. As always, great post again.

24 07 2009
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[…] 4 & Ghostbusters 24 07 2009 Despite my busy schedule and complete infatuation with inFAMOUS I found the time to try out some overdue demos, below are my quick thoughts and impressions as I […]

4 08 2009
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[…] role playing game in the likes of Fallout 3 and that I absolutely adored the 2009 blockbuster hit inFamous. Therefore I was already looking forward to this title and not much more needed to be done or said […]

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