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Video Games

Reviews and news from the gaming world, with emphasis on major consoles

Review: inFAMOUS 2

inFAMOUS 2
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Cole McGrath has a “beast” of a problem.

As recounted in the ending of the first inFAMOUS game in 2009, McGrath had successfully vanquished nemesis Kessler, who then used his telepathic powers to warn him of the coming of the “beast.”

inFAMOUS 2 immediately picks up the action as the beast is approaching the city, and McGrath, unprepared, takes him on.

After failing and fleeing across country to New Marais, McGrath must gather enough blast cores in order to power a machine that will kill the beast, which is making its way across the country, devastating all in its wake.

Fans of the first game will have no trouble also picking up the action. Gameplay involves harnessing electricity – from whatever source to fight enemies and revive areas without power.

Increasing abilities and powers takes place during the course of play. Gathering blast shards scattered throughout the game incrementally builds up the amount of electricity available.

inFAMOUS 2 again involves making moral choices. Small examples include helping foil muggings (good) or eliminating street musicians (considered bad). In addition bystanders react to you, either cheering you or hitting you, according to your karma.

The good/evil dichotomy plays out on a broader scale, too, with McGrath having to choose missions that can be one or the other. These decisions shape the future course of the game, leading to a monumental final decision.

Fortunately, the game designers make it possible for players who complete the game to go back and find out what would have happened had they chosen the other path.
Highlights of the gameplay are the use of powers and the ability to climb just about anywhere in the world.

During the course of gameplay, McGrath again partners with his friend Zeke, despite the fact that Zeke tried to gain powers for himself in the first game. New in inFAMOUS 2 are two other conduits (people with special powers) McGrath meets – one “good” and one “evil.” Joint missions are played with the other conduits, with McGrath choosing which side to play, causing his karma to trend toward one side or the other of the spectrum.

The game is of the sandbox variety, meaning you can roam far and wide to interact. Missions are begun by finding starting points, but the player is free to travel about the city, gathering items, climbing and finding side missions.

While inFAMOUS doesn’t offer a multiplayer mode, it does offer UGC (User-Generated Content) missions. These side missions are created by users of the game and can be widely divergent in their goals.

UGC missions are noted by a green icon on the main map and can be turned off as to not distract from the main game.

A fully-fleshed-out mission designer is available. A player can choose from nearly 20 mission templates that can be tweaked – choices include Ring Races, Parkour and Collectibles – or a player can begin from scratch, molding the mission to their exact specifications.

Players can even take a mission created by someone else and remix it and make it their own.

The UGC aspect of inFAMOUS 2 is a definite standout feature of the game, with the potential of greatly increasing re-playability.

One issue I did have with the game was the seeming fuzziness to the graphics. I don’t know if that was a conscious esthetic decision of the game designers, but the game gave off a distinct low-def feel, at least as compared with other current-generation games.

However, inFAMOUS 2 does a good job implementing the whole good/evil concept. Your choices have actual consequences as to the outcome of the game. The action is smooth, with plenty to do enroute to saving (or destroying) humanity. The comic book stylings engage the player in the storyline and make inFAMOUS 2 a top offering this summer.

Platform: Playstation 3

Rating: Everyone

Manufacturer: Sony Interactive

Rating: 8.5 electrically-charged chilies

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