The original Infamous was released around the same time that Prototype was released in 2009, with numerous comparisons being made to one another.
Both games were open-world action adventures starring protagonists with super-powers. Although Infamous was the more technically impressive game, I preferred Prototype as it was more fun due to the fact that it made you feel like a bad-ass super hero. So let's see if Infamous 2 will win me over.
The story of Infamous centres on Cole McGrath, a bike courier that caused (or so it seems) a massive explosion in the fictional Empire City that killed thousands of people. The same explosion also gave him electricity-based super powers. Cole then uses his new-found super-powers to find the man who was actually responsible for the explosion and clear his name.
Infamous 2 follows the events of the first game and starts with Cole trying to destroy The Beast (a gigantic being with devastating power) before The Beast destroys Empire City. Alas, Cole is not powerful enough to take on the The Beast and retreats to New Marais with Empire City being destroyed in the process. Once in New Marais, Cole has to find a way to defeat The Beast before it reaches the city.
Infamous 2 's gameplay follows the same template as its predecessor in that it's an open-world action adventure game. You can explore New Marais and tackle missions in any order you see fit. Besides your main story missions, you also have side missions with varying objectives as well as random mini missions that appear as you explore the world. Anyone who's played games such as Crackdown or Grand Theft Auto will have an idea of what to expect.
As you progress through the game you gain experience points which can be used to unlock power and ability upgrades. The good/bad karma system returns from the first game too, with upgrades specific to the good or bad path being unlocked depending on your actions.
An example of a bad karma action sees you killing street musicians to shut them up, while a good karma action has you stopping innocents from being mugged by militia. Tied into this, you will also have good or bad side-missions that, by choosing one, will effectively lock out the other for that particular playthrough. This essentially means that to experience all the powers, abilities and missions that the game has to offer, you have to play it twice.
Infamous 2 also has new enemy types like mutants (which reminded me of Prototype for some reason) in addition to the standard fare like the militia and mercenaries.
Cole's aforementioned electricity-based powers are unimpressive as you first start out. However, as you unlock various upgrades, you become quite powerful. Shooting electric bolts with pinpoint accuracy, lobbing sticky electric grenades or creating all powerful ionic void whirlwinds are just a few examples of this.
Upgrades also allow Cole to move around at a quicker pace, which is quite welcome, because in the beginning, you only have a climbing ability that is functional at best and not very fluid.
Extra modes on offer
Besides the story mode, there is also a mission-creation mode that allows you to upload your own scenarios to the Playstation Network for other users to play through.
Since I'm not really the creative type, I opted to play some of the content other users had uploaded instead (although there is a tutorial on the Sucker Punch website) and I must say, that I was quite impressed.
In this mode you make up your own story (like a gunfight in the old west, for example) or use the game's various assets (such as enemy types and vehicles) in various ways to fit your mission type. It's like Little Big Planet for action junkies and it could keep people busy for months to come.
Visually, the game isn't a major leap over the previous game, but does have a few improvements nevertheless. I did experience some major texture pop-up at certain times but nothing game-breaking. Compared to other AAA PS3 titles like Uncharted 2 and Killzone, the visuals do not compare, but are on par with everything else.
The audio is above average, with the soundtrack not really being memorable, but it's still passable for this type of game. The voice-overs were decent enough, although I'm not a fan of Cole's new voice actor, as the previous actor was much better. There are some South African mercenaries in the game too, with some hilariously bad accents, but this just adds to the charm of the game.
Initially, I wasn't really impressed by Infamous 2 as it seemed to be almost a copy of the original, but I really got into it as my powers were upgraded and the side-missions got more interesting. I become so hooked on the game that I practically completed all the side-missions as well as collected all the blast shards (the collectibles in the game).
Infamous 2 is a very good title that will appeal to all action and sandbox fans alike. It does get slightly repetitive eventually, but not as much as similar games in the genre. Is it better than Prototype? No, because both games are different enough to exist equally and buying this now will at least tide you over until Prototype 2 arrives.
Score: 8.5 out of 10