Review: inFamous 2

Published by David Liao on June 10, 2011
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inFamous is a series that I’ve long had problems with. Initially I played the first demo and I already knew I wouldn’t like the controls. Then I played the retail release. The characters, the story, the combat, and even the good/evil decisions all seemed to be pretty mediocre. But somehow I’ve managed to play through the entire first game and still come back for seconds, so I figure Sucker Punch must be doing something right.

inFamous 2 (Playstation 3)
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment of America
Release Date: June 7, 2011

If there’s one thing I like, maybe even love about InFamous, it’s the pacing. Unlike a lot of open world games which rely on vehicles as the main mode of transportation, super hero games like inFamous allow the world to be traversed in a much more interesting way. Albeit that inFamous is not as smooth or satisfying as another one of my other favorites, Crackdown, it’s still far better than the tedious travel in a game such as Grand Theft Auto. The objectives are clearly marked and I enjoy the brisk pace of simply going from checkpoint to checkpoint. I’m not exactly one for side quests, especially when more dire situations are at hand. In the case of InFamous 2, a giant being of energy is on a destructive path to the city of New Marais. In a nut shell, that is the InFamous series to me. It’s a formula that I enjoy but can’t stop complaining about while I’m in the process of playing it.

The inFamous series implements what I call sticky mechanics. Your character will automatically grab things around the world when climbing. The main purpose for this system is to be forgiving towards players who might make mistakes while climbing. It’s a good idea and I know why it implemented, but this mechanic frustrates me to no end. For every one time it does save me from falling, it messes up my timing on nine other jumps. Other times I just want to fall directly to the ground.

This is my biggest knock against inFamous. Navigating around the world always seems like a chore. I always feel like I’m grabbing onto something I don’t want to be grabbing. I never feel like a super hero jumping from building to building. I have to be careful to measure my jumps because the float might not carry far enough. Or take the long way around because it’s not worth the risk of missing a gap and having to scale the building again.

Sucker Punch did implement a sort of grappling hook power, which I absolutely love. But unfortunately the power wasn’t obtainable until near the end of the game when much of the world had already been traversed. Had they put it in earlier, I think it would have made a significant difference.

This is a common theme for inFamous 2. Where I thought Sucker Punch would make improvements or take some chances, I found things to be nearly identical to the first game. While I’m glad they didn’t strip Cole of all his powers, the combat is the same. The addition of fire or ice, although explained story-wise, makes almost no new impact gameplay wise. They could have just as easily been more electrical powers and no one would have been the wiser. The decisions, which I felt they failed to capitalize in the original inFamous were just as lame and uneventful in the sequel. There is no reason a player would change their choices dependent on the story because it’s still most beneficial to go all the way good or all the way bad. Players want to fill up their bar because it unlocks more powers and making an opposite choice would only hinder that. So the decision making process is just an illusion. A player makes a decisions in the beginning whether to play blue or red from then on everything is just following the pre-laid out path. It’s frustrating to me that the game is marketed as choice driven when really it's not.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of all is the cast of infamous 2. Even though Cole has found himself in a completely new area of the United States, he’s still doing battle with similar looking hooded henchmen. From there Cole finds himself engaging genetically altered ice people with guns and hulking ice gorillamen. And while the first game already dealt with the super natural, inFamous pulls out all the stops by introducing Dead Space-esque creatures with virtually no explanation of their origins except that they are a product of mutation. I found Cole’s allies, enemies, and the creatures all to be completely uninspired. I would have liked to see some sort of one on one super human clash. Cole fights these giant monsters sharp teeth because it’s the traditional man vs beast but even that makes the lines of good and bad extremely obvious. The game did not need more of that.

I hoped that Sucker Punch would have addressed these problems in the sequel and try for a more immersive experience. Where there could have been steps to further the series into something like Uncharted 2, the decision was made to play it safe.

The saving grace is that the last decision you make is actually interesting. It’s the only choice a player might think about. I questioned myself for a couple seconds, but then when I looked back on how I progressed up to that point, it was easy to just go with blue again. Even so, I think my true opinions of inFamous 2 depend on how the story continues should Sucker Punch decide to make another sequel.

Score: 66 out of 100
Nearly identical to the first, saved only by its’ decent ending.


Quick Notes
I'm curious about seeing the Bad Story – Maybe I’m missing something?
User Generated Content....?
You can import your Infamous save. Didn’t know until way late.

Credits
Xophen & NCCreations for the banner.

Comments

  • Avatar
    Kalekemo
    9 years, 1 month ago

    I'm going to have to agree completely with this review. I played the demo and liked it for what it was, but upon renting it and playing it, I found it took only 7 hours to beat the story and was almost exactly the same as the first game...
    The moral choices had not been changed like most people wanted, and the game has little replay value.

  • Avatar
    Microcombo
    9 years, 1 month ago

    I haven't gotten the game yet, but I'm mostly considering the purchase because of how much I enjoyed the first one (despite some major issues I had with it). With Sucker Punch's sequel, I think I remember an interview stating that they wanted to expand upon the first game. I thought that the combat, though identical, felt a little bit better in the second game (though I've only played the demo). Also, the developer tried to change things up with the mutated creatures and ice/fire powers, but it seems that the game probably follows a similar path to the first.

    In turn, I see that the game might feel like a polished version of the first one when I play it. and hopefully I'll enjoy it (at least) as much as the first one. Thanks for the review.

  • Avatar
    Skrams
    9 years, 1 month ago

    I'm not quite sure you're being very fair about the User created levels. If people have made Space Invaders with it I'm sure there's even crazier things they can do with it.

  • Avatar
    Vitalus
    9 years, 1 month ago

    I enjoyed this much more than you did. I was also a huge fan of the first one, however, and I believe that they made enough improvements to parts such as traversal and occasionally the implementation of the moral choices. Also, how did you not notice that you could import your infamous 1 save? It asked me to as soon as I got to the menu.

  • Avatar
    Comradebearjew
    9 years, 1 month ago

    I really liked the first one, so leaving it almost identical is a plus for me.

  • Avatar
    The_Australian_Ashman
    9 years, 1 month ago

    While I did enjoy the first one, I was hoping for significant improvements all round.

    And I hate fuckin' Zeke.

    In fact, so intense is my hatred for him, I refuse to buy this game, and i'll rent it instead.

    Cheers David, that was quite a read.

  • Avatar
    sleeprocks
    9 years, 1 month ago

    Infamous 2 fixed most if not all of my problems with the first game. I actually enjoyed the story this time around and the combat felt a lot more satisfying. I just wish it had as much content as the first one did.

  • Avatar
    Akim213
    9 years, 1 month ago

    Just want to put it out there you get Ice launch a lot (as good) earlier than lightning hook and basically It allows you to never really need anything but ice launching while running and then the improved glide it can end up replacing grinding on power rails.
    Also loved the amp.

  • Avatar
    kaceanator
    9 years, 1 month ago

    first off i watched you play the game and you really shouldnt complain about the icey powers because you hardly ever used them in the game but all together like the reveiw. ps:this game is either your gonna love it or ya gonna hate it i think david was the hate it and anyone reading this shouldnt be put off from buying the game

  • Avatar
    CodyP
    9 years, 1 month ago

    Seems to me like the first one. The game was only tolerable because of the final ending when you saw everything come together. Also, I agree on the karma decisions however they do give different cutscences it still tells the overall main point and to switch karmas in the game is pointless.

  • Avatar
    champ1270
    9 years, 1 month ago

    I just got the first one from the Welcome Back package and the climbing is a pain in the butt. Going up is ok, but coming down is ridiculous. You seem to never get to wherever you want to be when you go down.

  • Avatar
    M2D
    9 years, 1 month ago

    I'm currently playing through Infamous 2 and having a great time with it. The new city offers a very fresh looking world when compared to alot of other recent open world games, climbing to a high point in the city and looking around really is beautiful and then you get the fun of leaping back down to the ground.

    I've found myself stopping to do alot of the side missions and collecting blast shards, this has helped to increase the games length and also improve coles abilities. These side missions offer enough diversity so as not to make it feel like a chore.

    All in all I think that sucker punch has done a great job of advancing their universe with the game. I especially enjoyed finding the cinema and looking at its movie titles.

  • Avatar
    CoolChrono
    9 years, 1 month ago

    Now that I've finished the game, I feel kinda indifferent with this review. I agree with the climbing, it's pretty annoying and frustrating to keep Cole from sticking to walls when you just want to land on the ground. The jumping from rooftop to rooftop thing just takes some getting use to. About the moral choices, they could have been handled better just like you said. I felt no need to switch morals because of the choices, it was just I wanted to get fully good or fully evil. The fire and ice powers were pretty "meh" and I just found myself sticking to Cole's regular electrical powers.

    The enemies are better this time around. Sure, you have the gun welding soldiers, but you also have the ice men that use ice powers and the mutants that use fighting and weird glow balls as attacks. This is a step up from the enemies in the first InFamous where they were just guys who shot at you. At least in InFamous 2, the enemies change it up by running around and using their powers against you. As for the explanation of the alien creatures, they were explained around the mid point of the game. Honestly, they should have been explained more towards the beginning so that the player would not get confused.

    Also in this review, you did not mention anything about the story and how you felt about it. To me, they cleaned it up from the first one with all that crazy bull they pulled out. It was much easier to follow this time around. What about the characters? Did you like Kuo or Nix? They played a big part in this game and I thought they would have needed to be mentioned. I thought they could have been developed more so that the player would know more about them. And what about the sound? How the game immerses you with the bustling sounds of the people and the city. Also, how the music is queued at the right time to compliment the ongoing action that is taking place. There's some things missing from this review.

    Now, I'm not a big fan of the first InFamous, but it is apparent that Sucker Punch did some improvements on the second one. The fans I know of InFamous saw the vast improvement in InFamous 2 and that is where I think the problem comes in. I think that you just do not like the InFamous franchise (you complained about the first one while playing InFamous 2) and I think that we would have got a more well informed review from someone who liked the first one and can see the flaws and improvements the second one had. When I play games, I look at every aspect of the game (mostly because of my mindset of being a game developer more than a game player) and study what the developer did to make the things the way they are. If an objective standpoint came in, then it probably would have been a more fair review.

    No hate towards the review, but I just think it's just a little misinformed and suited to personal tastes, but like my friend criticizes my points in my book before I fully finish it, I'm only here to help out the review. This to me feels like " My thoughts