inFamous 2 is, as anyone would expect from the title, the sequel to Sucker Punch’s inFamous. With the first game being such a huge hit and being critically acclaimed by both professional reviewers and gaming aficionados from around the world, it was no surprise when the mere announcement of a sequel got everybody buzzing. As such, the anticipation to the game was extremely high and gamers went into frenzied discussions into how this new inFamous title would play out.
The good news is that inFamous does live up to the hype to a certain extent and is an extremely impressive game that most definitely merits playing. It is an engrossing video gaming experience that deftly combines superb graphics, exceptional music, and a truly marvellous game play any PlayStation 3 owner should definitely try at least one. The funny thing is that inFamous 2 nevertheless fails to be more thrilling than its predecessor due to some flaws that can often be frustrating.
The first thing blatantly noticeable about this game is that it decidedly enjoys impressive graphics. The first inFamous game itself enjoyed great graphics, but this sequel is vastly superior to the original and is quite close to being a visual masterpiece. The animation is brilliant and simply running around New Marais, the game’s setting, gives way to an amazing city where the wealth of details can get overwhelming.
One of the criticisms with the first inFamous title was that the character designs were quite bland and the animation was often rather disappointing. This includes both the comic scenes and actually cutscenes. inFamous 2 has no such flaws as the character designs have been completely revamped, probably thanks to a new game engine. The visuals of New Marais itself are absolutely brilliant and never fail to surprise with an attention to detail that is simply marvellous.
The music and audio of inFamous 2 are similarly a vast improvement over the first game which was frankly so-so. The soundtrack does a great job of making the action even more intense and a couple of those music themes are quite catchy. This great music is supported by equally impressive voice acting, particularly Zeke’s which is by far the best in the game, as his actor really seems to have nailed the character. It was always a joy when Zeke would be on-screen (which is thankfully quite a lot) as his voice actor does a spectacular job of conveying Zeke’s attachment to Cole throughout the events that unfold in New Marais.
However, one extremely disappointing aspect is that they changed Cole’s voice actor and this was at no point announced prior to the release of the game. inFamous fans may thus feel very surprised upon first hearing Cole’s voice which sounds nothing like the original. Moreover, the Cole from the first inFamous had a gritty sound to him which is sorely missing from this sequel. The voice actor in inFamous 2 unfortunately fails to give off this superhero (or, at the very least, superhuman) feeling.
inFamous 2 does a great job of improving on its predecessor’s visuals and audio but sadly, the same cannot always be said about the game play. The latter is actually quite similar but obviously comes to a few tweaks. In this respect, the major flaw with inFamous 2 is that it is nowhere as challenging as the first and the pacing is so glaringly uneven. In the first game, you would always be on your toes as enemies could pop up at any time.
Unfortunately, this second title has taken a step backwards here as there are too many times where there does not seem to be any enemies around. I often had to actually go find the enemies as these seem to be focused in specific parts of New Marais. It is amazing that a game that relies so heavily on its uniquely rewarding combat system would suffer from such a flaw.
Moreover, the overall difficulty of the game seems to have been toned down compared to the first inFamous. Enemies now hardly pose a real threat, and even the bosses can easily be defeating by simply unleashing the same power over and over again. The game is simply not challenging enough even on the higher difficulties and the bosses never prove a real problem throughout your adventure in New Marais. As a matter of fact, even the final boss is extremely easy whether you are playing on the good or evil side, and the game would probably have been no different had the concept of the final boss been completely scrapped.
Cole has infinitely developed when it comes to fighting and generally wreaking havoc. However, there is a serious misbalance between playing on the evil side and the good side. While the powers are great on the good side and extremely rewarding, those on the evil side are quite generic and generally seem less powerful. This is a bit surprising since you would expect the evil side to easily trump the good one.
Another frustrating flaw in the game is how Cole would often grab and stick to things regardless of my controller inputs. Since the game relies heavily on climbing up buildings and this is even a core part of many missions and side-missions, this can become very irritating and sometimes hamper your experience. Imagine trying to climb up the tallest building in New Marais to pick up a blast shard only to fail each and every time simply because Cole has other ideas in mind. There are also many situations where the camera can be an annoyance, especially if you are combating multiple enemies.
As in the first inFamous, the main basis of this game is that it uses a morale system which allows you to choose between being a good hero or an evil badass. Cole gains positive or negative karma depending upon your actions throughout the game, and this ultimately leads to two endings. Obviously, this greatly adds to the replay value of the game as you need to beat it at least twice if you want see two endings. However, inFamous 2 again fails to at least match up to its predecessor.
While this morale system sounds great in theory, the missions you can choose from do a poor job of actually making you feel either pure or evil. Both the overly generic mission descriptions (for example, Save the Convoy) and your actions during those missions do little to actually make the morale system rewarding. You can simply kill both the innocent civilians and the bad buys in one mission and still go on with the good missions, which completely defeats the purpose of the whole system.
The good news about inFamous 2 is that its missions and side-missions are more varied than in the first game. You can now simply battle enemies such as Ice Soldiers, rescue hostages, and protect convoys. inFamous 2 enjoys a great collection of missions that do a perfect job of providing variety throughout the game. Of course, whether you feel like doing all the side-missions or collecting all the blast shards throughout New Marais is up to you, but doing so does unlock trophies if you are into this kind of thing.
Overall, inFamous 2 is definitely worth playing. It fails to completely live up to the hype and is indeed not as good as the first inFamous but is still extremely fun. Rabid fans of the first inFamous (and they retrospectively appear to be numerous) may however hate it due to its lack of challenge and Cole’s surprising new voice.
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