inFAMOUS 2 Review
When Sucker Punch launched the inFAMOUS franchise it was an interesting experiment; a tale that could have been lifted from any Stan Lee comic with a morality mechanic attached, allowing you to be a hero or an anti-hero depending on your choices throughout the story.
Two years later we are given a somewhat predictable sequel. inFAMOUS 2 is a bigger, bolder and more refined experience that builds upon the original to expand the rich world of Cole McGrath and CO, but does little to change the gameplay formula.
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What inFAMOUS 2 Got Right
Badass new powers - From beginning to end Cole is far more powerful this time round, allowing you to create some spectacular displays of destruction as you clear the streets of New Marais. All of his powers seem to pack a bigger punch, and some of the new ones (such as the Ionic Vortex) are totally bad ass!
With great power comes great responsibility, and thankfully the developers have included an easy to use power management system that allows you to change your assigned powers on the fly. Simply hold left on the d-pad and the action pauses allowing you to assign different abilities to different buttons. It works well and allows the game to flow perfectly.
Fun and frantic combat -
inFAMOUS 2 is all about electrifying combat, and when you combine Cole's new powers with the implementation of a far more robust melee system you have some great gameplay on your hands. Armed with a new melee weapon dubbed "the amp", Cole can channel his electricity through this handy tool that delivers some devastating blows to his enemies.
When combining a mixture of movement, powers and melee you can't help but smile as the carnage unfolds. Nothing beats gliding towards a rooftop and taking care of two enemies with a well timed ground smash before throwing out some shock grenades, and Ionic Vortex and finishing up with a melee finisher. The combat is fast paced, addictive and is a driving force to why inFAMOUS 2 just works.
User Generated Content -
One of the key selling points of inFAMOUS 2 is the inclusion of an easy to use level editor, allowing you create custom missions and share them with the online community. User Generated Content is essential to the livelihood of the title, as UGC appears in the game world alongside the main story missions.
Missions can be played, rated and shared with your friends which helps to create a sense of community within what is a single-player game only. While some missions are completely arbitrary, there are some true gems out there that offer up something new, and that is a trend that is only going to continue to grow as gamers become more proficient with the tool set.
Environments and colour -
While the gameplay of the first title was fantastic, Empire City was just lacking personality and colour. Thankfully the new city of New Marias has lashings of colour, and certainly has a personality all of its own. The city has been modelled from New Orleans, and it really shows the culture of the classic city.
Stepping outside of the general grey and brown colour scheme really brings the city to life as you traverse different areas. Whether it be the party sector of town, the slums or even the swamps the environments always look interesting and it helps to connect the player to their surroundings.
What inFAMOUS 2 Got Wrong
While bad ass new powers and a new environment help to make inFAMOUS 2 stand out, you can't help but shake the feeling you've been here before. The general gameplay mechanics are exactly the same as the first, and Sucker Punch rarely try to step out of their comfort zone to shake things up.
That's not to say the game isn't a whole lot of fun, it truly is, but it does little to shock or surprise the gamer. Aside from the combat additions and the user generated content, this really feels like inFAMOUS 1.5 and that is a shame because the tantalising streets of New Marais deserve something a little more fulfilling.
Weak morality system - What should be one of the strongest features of inFAMOUS 2 is actually one of the weakest, and that is the morality system. The central gameplay hook is that you can either be a hero or an anti-hero dependant upon your decision throughout the story.
However these decisions are so plainly black and white you barely have to consider your actions at all. These moments should have you questioning your morality, but instead you are presented with two totally polarising options that require minimal attention. You either go down the alter boy at Sunday school path or the Hitler comes to town evil as hell option. There is no reason to question your options, and that is completely disappointing.
The Final Verdict
inFAMOUS 2 is a whole lot of fun that builds upon the original to create a bigger, bolder and more refined experience. While Cole's new powers are bad ass and the new setting of New Marais does well to create a compelling reason to jump into this new adventure, the gameplay remains largely unchanged from the original, which is a little disappointing. Regardless, inFAMOUS 2 is fun, frantic and explosive.
By Stephen Heller
Fun and frantic combat, but not enough new additions from the original title.
The game world has spatterings of colour which keeps things looking fresh, and the world in general is far more detailed.
If you're a fan of the original the new Cole voice will take some time to adjust, but otherwise a solid soundtrack is on offer.
The main missions will take 10-12 hours, there are a bunch of side missions to complete, collectables and of course User Generated Content can keep this alive.
Fun, exciting but too predictable