Monday, May 8, 2017

Infamous (PS3)

Infamous is an open world game developed by Sucker Punch, the same developer behind the Sly Cooper series.  Infamous is their first game for the PS3 and the first in a new franchise, Sucker Punch has succeeded in developing a fun game.  You play as Cole, who gains electrical superpowers after an explosion which destroyed much of Empire City.  Afterwards, a viral epidemic forces the city to be quarantined off.  Conveniently, the city is on three islands with the only bridge out of them blocked.  During an attempt to escape the city, Cole gets into contact with FBI agent Moya and ends up helping to restore the city and find a missing FBI agent who was the key to the item that destroyed half the city.  Coles was forced to help since a video showed him carrying the bomb before it exploded, although he does not remember why and Moya has promised to clear his name if he helps.

The plot is a take on a superhero origin story and the story is told via cutscenes including ones where it takes inspiration from comic book panels.  It is a decent story with a good plot twist for the ending, loosely setting up for a sequel.  The touted feature in Infamous is the morality system.  There are certain points in the story where Cole faces a problem and has the choice of the solution generating either good karma or bad karma.  The good choice could be that Cole takes the hurt himself and the bad choice is that he forces an innocent bystander to do it for him.  This affects Cole's appearance and his powers, as well as citizens' views towards him.  When good, Cole has blue electrical powers, while when bad, Cole has red electrical powers, looks more hollow and citizens will come up and hit him.  Picking a side will also allow specific side missions to be completed while locking the other.  There are slightly different scenes depending on whether you're good or evil, which makes a second playthrough more worthwhile, although overall, there is no significant difference.

The game takes on a third-person angle.  Initially, Cole is only able to shoot electrical projectiles out of his hands in a way similar third-person shooters.  Additional electrical powers are speedily unlocked as the story is progressed, where eventually he is able to grind rails, do shockwaves and other super moves such as summoning an electrical storm, electricity grenades and sniper shots.  The constant unlocking of powers is addictive and pushes you to wanting to keep continuing the story.  There is an upgrade system in which you earn experience for completing missions and defeating enemies.  The experience points can be used to upgrade your powers.  Using special moves drains Cole's electricity gauge, therefore to refill it, he can leech electricity off various items in the street such as cars and generators.  Draining power will also heal his health.  Cole has the ability to climb various structures, which helps with the travel and makes it help more fun since the game lacks a fast travel feature.

The climbing is similar to Assassin's Creed but less finicky to control although there will still be instances where Cole will not want to go to where you want and there are often smooth walls that Cole cannot get a grip upon even though it looked like he could.  It gets frustrating when you have to scale vertically into thin corridors because Cole will end up grabbing a ledge when you wanted to jump through the gap in between.  Empire City is drab as expected of a city that has been partially destroyed, and also because the developers went for a dark gritty look.  There are three islands to explore which are unlocked as the story progresses.  There are fun side missions to help liberate each city and stop enemies from respawning.  It gets addictive in doing the side missions which have a variety of objectives such as defeating enemies, races to checkpoints and healing people.  Unfortunately, these side missions start to become repetitive from the island onwards as it recycles the same missions.  Similarly, the main story missions will start to get tedious towards the end of hte game.  It will keep asking you to repeat the same thing three or four times in a particular mission, when only doing it once or twice would have sufficed and kept it fresh.

There are several annoying missions where there are too many enemies or timed missions where the next checkpoint is tight on time.  It makes it super frustrating when you continually fail because  of the unfairness.  There is variation in enemies, it is initially human terrorists known as Reapers who wield guns but eventually, new enemies with supernatural powers appear.  The graphics make it evident that Infamous is an early PS3 game.  They're by no means horrible but lack in detail and the character animations are off, especially when they talk.  There are also occasional glitches, which coincidentally, seem to be more frequent during the evil route.  Glitches including pure visual glitches, but other more annoying ones such as falling through the ground and dying, Cole not responding to your controls and even an invincible enemy.  Overall, Infamous is a fun superhero game.  You have control to do whatever you want in a city, with a strong combat system, solid story and mission variety, it's well worth a play.


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