inFamous (2009), video game review.

Due to their recent security meltdown Sony has decided to include inFamous as one of the games that PSN users may pick as a part of the “Welcome Back” program. And with the sequel just out this was perhaps a very smart move on their part.
But with four other game also included in the “Welcome Back” program you may not want to choose inFamous as one of your two. That’s where I come in.  Read on to see what I think of the first inFamous game…

The Good and The Bad.

inFamous is an open-world game; at the very beginning of the game some of the city is out-of-bounds but as you progress you unlock more sections of the game. And by the end of the game your able to run from one end to another.
The tale that inFamous tells is that of Cole MacGrath, a twenty something guy who happens to find him self in the middle of a colossal explosion that devastates the entire city, and then he wakes up to find that he has the ability to control electricity. The story progresses much as many comic book stories do; you fight against several lesser villains as you try to find or learn more about the main villain. But unlike most video games cutscenes are a central way of conveying the story. Instead you are most presented with comic book slides with Cole narrating them. This I felt hurt the story, the emotional impact is severely lessened. See someone die in a comic book slide is much less powerful than a movie-like cutscene. As well as the emotion being lessened by this way of storytelling, it was also hard to get a sense of who the other characters were in slides. We only learn what Cole chooses to tell us, and sometimes that isn’t very much. And it’s not as if the couldn’t do traditional cutscenes, there are a few short cutscenes, but these are mainly people telling mission objectives.

While inFamous is open-world, it has more in common with Crackdown, or Assassin’s Creed then it does Grand Theft Auto. Cole is able to climb almost anything in the city. Much of your time will most likely be spent on the top of roofs.
This is the thing that make, or break a game, its controls. If a game’s controls don’t work, or are too confusing than most people won’t pick the game up a second time. Luckily inFamous controls fairly well. It doesn’t have any revolutionary new control scheme, but for the most part it worked. You have your jump and dodge buttons, your action button and your punch button, and a few other, but once you press R1 (which is zoom in) then the face buttons change into different attack options. It was easy enough to jump along walls and shoot lighting at baddies.
But the gameplay isn’t always so good. Cole would occasionally leap straight through chainlink fences which were meant as barriers, and one time I even work through a building.  Also the game has a platforming lock-on so when you are leaping about on the side of buildings Cole will direct himself towards what the game thinks you want to grab onto. While this is helpful sometimes, at others it made a simple little hop a pain in the butt.

I have two problems with the game progression.
One; as you make your way through the game enemies become harder and harder. It’s not that they get smarter, or that there are more of them, but it’s that by the end of the game some enemies took up to ten hits to kill.
And two; the way that you unlock new powers is you have to restore power to districts of the city. You do this every time by going into the sewer and then you have to make your way through it turning on and powering up things as you go. Now these are fine the first few times that you have to do it, but after a while it starts to become a hassle. You have to jump around near identical areas for maybe five or ten minutes all just to get a new power, and sometimes you won’t even like the power enough to want to use it.  This could have been changed by having some of these missions above ground or another non-sewer location.

The environmental graphics for inFamous are great. The city looks and feels dirty, but it still is able to look good. Different districts look distinctly different; one district might be filled with lights and tall buildings, while another might be covered in trash with a hobo city in the middle.
But the character models are now where near as good as the environmental graphics are. The only character that I could say looks great, is Cole himself, but the others look bland or generic.

It may not be the best superhero game on the earth but it certain is up there. If you enjoy games like Crackdown, Assassin’s Creed, or Prototype this might be a game worth checking out. Or if you just like shooting things with lighting, this is probably your best choice.

Visual: The buildings and streets look great, but most of the characters feel lacking.

Sound: The music is nothing special but it gets the job done. And expect to hear electric crackles a lot.

Gameplay: For most of my playtime it was smooth and responsive, but I did hit several snags here and there.

Worth Your Money: With the options to play as either good or evil (each with their own set of powers), plenty of side-missons, hidden upgrades, and a large world to run around in, I’d say that this is worth the twenty-five something dollars that it costs at Gamestop. And if you’re wondering if you should pick this to get with the “Welcome Back” package, my answer would be yes.

Console: PS3.

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions.

Parental Rating: T/13+

Overall Score: 8.75/10


Posted on June 10, 2011, in 2009, PS3, Review, Video Game and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Well said. But I’m still enjoying it for now. Speaking of the welcome back package: you can probably get a couple more of the games with Peter’s psp account, and if it’s ok with gus you could get the fifth game too.

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