Monday, September 25, 2017

Infamous 2 (PS3)

Infamous 2 is the sequel to Infamous, and exclusive to the PS3.  It is a superhero game in which the player controls Cole MacGrath, who wields the power of electricity.  Upon starting the game, you immediately notice an improvement in the graphics compared to the original.  Cole himself has also been redesigned and his voice actor changed, which can take some time to get used to as his voice is not as gravely now.  A neat thing is that it plays on Cole already being somewhat adept at his powers, so that a few of his abilities are now already available from the start such as Static Thrusters (hovering), electric grenades and shockwave.  Of course, there are plenty of new abilities that will gradually unlock over the course of the game.  They're fun to use and there are variations such as picking up and hurling objects, various types of electricity blasts and grenades, and a new simple melee system which helps with close combat.  Abilities will unlock as you complete sidequests and progress through the story.  However, once unlocked, you need to fulfill certain conditions (such as defeating enemies a certain way a number of times) before you can use your XP to purchase it for use.  XP are gained from defeating enemies and completing missions.

While the game has a robust tutorial, it doesn't introduce you to all your abilities that you can perform at that time.  In that aspect, it assumes you have already played the first game and know the controls to try out what you retained.  The story commences soon after the ending of the first game in which it teases Cole's nemesis, The Beast.  It has arrived and proceeded to destroy Empire City, which kind of made the ending of the first game somewhat redundant (since you end up either being the protector or the dictator of the city and now it was all for moot).  Cole was not powerful enough to defeat The Beast and travels to New Malais to gain more powers.  At New Malais, he meets Bertrand, who is against people like Cole, otherwise known as conduits (i.e. have powers).  Monsters also pop up in the city, so in addition to The Beast looming closer, Cole has to deal with Bertrand as well.

The story is surprisingly good and it builds upon the relationship between Zeke and Cole, as well as the new characters Kuo and Nix.  All of whom end up becoming familiar to the player and you care about their fate.  It leads to a solid ending with some truly emotional moments.  The story is mostly told via in-game rendered cutscenes, along with some comic book styled panels.  The morality/karma system returns where at certain points in the story, Cole can pick the good karma choice or the evil karma choice.  Picking one path will change Cole's appearance and some powers are exclusive to one path.  It doesn't change the story much, the biggest change is the ending.  The differences between the two paths are even less than the first game so it ends up being underwhelming.  Different paths do give Cole different powers though.  While New Malais is a new city to explore, the building aesthetics and style remain similar.  Apart from one or two new traversal methods (mainly just pipes that shoot Cole straight up), the city can feel repetitive if you have played the first game and that it doesn't add enough new things.  There are two islands to New Malais, with varied environments.  There are three main portions:  a traditional city, a flooded area and an industrial area.

Cole himself is nimble and able to climb buildings and jump from rooftop to rooftop, which makes up a lot of the fun in playing the game.  Cole generally does what you want him to although there will be a few instances where he refuses to cling onto the narrow-ish object (such as a ladder) you were aiming for.  There are plenty of sidequests which doubles the amount of time to finish the game if you complete it all.  Thankfully, the sidequests contains some new objectives compared to the first game.  While similar objectives are still around, at least there's something new, although they still usually revolve around killing specific enemies.  As you complete each sidequest, you seal off a portion of the city, which prevents enemies from respawning too frequently.  Random sidequests also pop up from time to time, such as saving hostages or silencing protestors, to help with increasing your karma level.  There are nice touches to boss battles, which give a sense of scale as the enemies can be huge.  They aren't unfair and while the battles can be predictable, it is also easy to figure out.

Like the first game though, it can overstay its welcome with tedious objectives in story missions where you have to repeat multiple times when once or twice would have been enough.  Enemies also end up becoming bullet sponges, they take way too many hits before they die which sucks a lot of the fun out of it.  To extend the life of the game, there are 305 Blast Shards to collect once again, as well as 29 Dead Drops, which provide backstory to the first game.  Collecting Blast Shards benefits you as it increases the amount of attacks you can use before you need to recharge by siphoning electricity off something.  Furthermore, user generated content is implemented into the game.  Although as per usual with these kind of things, there is a lot of bad stuff to sift through in order to get to some better user generated missions.  Overall, Infamous 2 improves upon every aspect of the first game.  It's nowhere near as repetitive, with heaps of fun, new powers and a surprisingly good story.  Although the morality system doesn't make much of a difference, the game is still fantastic.


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