Just Might Have Lost The Spark: an inFAMOUS 2 Review

7 06 2011

Sucker Punch’s latest addition to the inFAMOUS saga released on Tuesday and follows Cole McGrath as he travels to New Marais in preparation for his upcoming battle with The Beast. The Pause Button’s IncreaseBlue was able to get a first look at the game and offers her review below:

Sucker Punch may have delivered a blow to themselves in trying to follow up what I have proclaimed a PS3-exclusive masterpiece known as the first inFAMOUS game. While the original inFAMOUS wasn’t without its flaws, it had plenty to offer with exploration, a sci-fi plot, and likeable characters, whether you were good or bad in your play through.

inFAMOUS 2 follows up the original well as far as gameplay goes. The city of New Marais is a large and lively playground for our electrified friend and the game doesn’t do that rather annoying thing where all your best powers are taken away for some reason in the beginning, forcing you to level up again (looking at you Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood). There are issues with Cole’s free-running ability, in that Cole will automatically grab for ledges, poles, etc. when he’s near them, but not always grab for things right in front of him or get caught right underneath a ledge and glitch out.

All the oldies but goodies return in Cole's arsenal, as well as the opportunity for some "cross-bred" powers.

The enemies are new and surprisingly challenging. Cole comes up against militia members, as well as mutated creatures that live in the swamps of New Marais. Also the array of powers is much more varied, with both good and bad karmic powers giving players an interesting way to tackle missions; from missiles to grenades to ionic vortex tornadoes to sweep away all who oppose you.

Also new is the User-Generated Content Creator tool where players can create their own sidemissions and submit them for publishing on the in-game map. The tools are reminiscent of LittleBigPlanet but more heavy into programming enemies. In the system players can use in-game maps and populate them with their own enemies, right down to their behavior (guard, patrol, idle, etc.) and which wave they will attack in. Of course the tools can also be used to set up unique beat-the-clock missions, highest score games, and other nifty missions to further explore Cole’s ability and the creativity of the player.

It’s when the game turns to the actual character of Cole McGrath that it starts going south.

Good or bad, Cole still generally comes off as an irritating guy who couldn't care less about anyone but himself.

The first game painted McGrath as an everyman who played the bystander once too often in his life, only to be given superpowers and hefty responsibilities. McGrath was cold, but sarcastic at times and eventually became likeable either through noble or devious paths. The revamped Cole in the second game is converted to a younger looking and Billy-Badass sounding character who you’d rather shove in a fountain before asking for help from him.

This changeover for McGrath may seem minor but it really does affect the game. It doesn’t matter which choices you make, Cole comes off as uncaring, annoying, or just plain mean even when he’s making life-changing decisions to save or destroy hundreds of innocent people. It’s hard to root for a character when his sidekick Zeke and the notably more ’deviant’ character Nix are easier to relate to and sympathize with. Not to mention the new ally Kuo, who equates to nothing more than a stumbling and whiny voice of reason for a majority of the game.

Cole has two new allies in inFAMOUS 2: Kuo (left) and Nix (right). They can fight alongside Cole, in which their moves can be combined with his for extra punch and style.

Final Verdict: 8/10

Overall inFAMOUS 2 feels like the first game but is done more like a complete revamping or reboot when it wasn’t needed. The gameplay and fun is still there, but the magic of the first game is lost. The UGC Creation tool is very innovative and allows for much more play time in-game. However, this doesn’t feel like a continuation of Cole’s journey, but rather that of Cole’s annoying younger brother.

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