Infamous 2 has its ups and downs and comes across as a great sequel. Cole heads down to New Marais to gain new powers that will help him to fight the Beast, a conduit planning to kill everything in its path. The game along with Cole has brought several new improvements such as destructible scenery, more powers, more missions, and better combat. The story too is improved and has some great twists and decisions for you to make. However, not everything in the sequel hits perfection as there are a few annoyances and things I wish they had changed, but overall the game is good.
The gameplay in Infamous 2 has been improved all around. Melee combat is more enjoyable with the bull prod like weapon you batter enemies with, and the combo moves are awesome. Cole’s powers have branched out beyond electricity allowing you to use ice or fire depending on a decision you make about halfway into the game, and electric powers also get an update. Traversing buildings and shooting across electric wires in New Marais is as easy as it was in the first game, and some new moves like the ice jump allow you to quickly get to the tops of buildings or travel great distances when combined with Cole’s static thrusters. While the new gameplay was refreshing I was left with a desire for a more diversified set of powers.
Cole’s powers are set up into categories of: bolts, thrust or push moves, grenades, missiles, ionic moves, melee, and a category with assorted moves. All of the moves are then sorted into power levels of 1,2, or 3 and also by morality. Being good allows you to unlock certain powers as does being evil. I had a big problem with the diversity of the bolt moves Cole has. Apart from the bolt move you start out with I found the only other useful bolt move, acting under good morality, was the bolt stream allowing you to fire bolts rapidly. The other three which where the pincer (fire three bolts that then pinch inwards and hit an enemy), the artillery bolt (long range bolt), and the magnum bolt (stream of electricity) all where relatively in-affective due to slow fire rate and while the magnum bolt does big damage it fires so slow that the regular bolt is a better option.
The different grenades also felt more like upgrades than separate powers, they were split into a regular electric grenade, then sticky, freeze grenades if you chose ice powers, and then cluster grenades. Apart from ice grenades the electric grenades felt like a steady progression rather than different more powerful moves. The missiles all felt different and good, as did the R2 moves which ranged from an ice shield (again if you chose ice moves), telekenesis, electric tether, and an ice jump.
Overall, the gameplay was fun but got stale in between getting blast shards which is when you have the ability to get new moves. You go through long sections of getting nothing and then you suddenly can get 3 or 4 moves. I would have preferred a more spread out approach to gaining moves. The game also makes you do menial challenges before purchasing a move like getting 10 headshots or sticking 10 enemies with a grenade. This just felt un-needed and annoying. Also not being able to access the bad moral choice moves or fire moves felt like a cheap way to make you play the game again. I wish the designers would allow you to use both power sets as the gameplay experience would be greatly enhanced.
Infamous 2 portrays the story the same way as the first with occasional comic book style cutscenes, but also adds some interesting story details through the use of Doctor Wolfe’s birds that have recorded messages you can pick up. The characters are interesting, apart from Nix who seems placed in the game on a whim, and really add to the story. Apart from the overlying plot of the Beast heading to New Marais there is also the story of Bertrand the leader of the militia in the town of New Marais who has the city under lock down. There are several twists throughout the game with Bertrand which I will not spoil. Cole’s relationship with Quo and Nix change throughout the game depending on who’s side you pick, which is a nice added element to the story.
Throughout the story morality plays a big role in how the story plays out. The decisions you make decides how the citizens of the town view you, which powers you can get, and ultimately how the game ends. Each ending could lead to two completely different games if they make an Infamous 3. Neither ending necessarily ties up the series, but it would be interesting to see how they would make a third game.
In the end it was the story that lead me to finish when the gameplay got a little stale. As I mentioned before there were parts of the game when the powers just didn’t do it for me, they felt weak towards the end of the game against the tougher enemies, and I don’t mean bosses. The side missions also became so repetitive by the end that I skipped them because it was the same task of clearing out enemies, moving medical boxes, or jumping on a supercharged generator and traveling across the electric wires to another generator. My only other complaint about the missions were the ones when you would have to fire a tesla missile from one generator to another to power up another part of the city. It would be okay to do it once, but having to do it for each new part of the city just felt very repetitive and unnecessary.
Graphics and Sound
New Marais has a lot more life to it than Empire City did. It is filled with people and much more color and life than Empire City, which had a dark sullen feel to it. The variety of environments in the city is refreshing moving from swamp areas to industrial parks. The city itself was very colorful adorned with bright lights and interesting buildings beyond that of ordinary skyscrapers like the ones that littered Empire City. The character detail was good, but most impressive were the effects of the electricity as it hit an enemy or when an ice grenade would encase an entire enemy, and leave him frozen solid.
The sounds effects were also good and really emphasized the power of Cole’s attacks with the zap of an electric bolt, the bang of an electric grenade, or the thunderous roar of an ionic vortex. Character voices all played well into the those they portrayed, Cole with a deep and sullen voice, which constantly emphasized the growing concern he had of the Beast hitting and potentially destroying New Marais. Zeke would constantly chime in with some comedy or optimism to lighten the mood. Each character played off one another like true friends and brought the story more meaning.
Overall I enjoyed the game and the powers Cole had. The gameplay did manage to get stale from time to time, but there was always the relief of gaining new and more impressive powers. The story moved along nicely allowing you the player to see the relationship of Zeke and Cole blossom, and the choices you make with Chuo and Nix helps play into the weight of the moral dilemmas you face in the game. Even though some of the choices are easier to make than others. The graphics were good and brought nice changes to scenery and different environments, and the sound helped to emphasize Cole’s power. The voices used for the characters fit each one accordinly and added to the game. Overall, I recommend this game to anyone who owns a PS3. It has a fantastic story and is a great game.
Graphics & Sound: 9