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inFamous 2 Review - PS3

5.5
Gameplay: 6 stars 6
Graphics: 8 stars 8
Audio: 4 stars 4
Innovation: 3 stars 3
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Introduction

2009’s inFamous really confirmed the arrival of the PlayStation 3. Despite launching two years earlier, with a high price and few titles of interest, the system had not made a huge splash. The price drop and some appealing exclusives meant the system really built steam a few years in, and Sucker Punch’s debut on the next generation hardware impressed with its engaging open-world superhero dramatics. Two years later, it’s time for the team to take it to the next level in inFamous 2.

Gameplay

Except, well, they didn’t.

Quick background: you play as Cole, an innocent bike messenger turned electric powerhouse when caught in an explosion of suspect origin. Choose to use your powers for good or evil, battle your time travelling nemesis, and roll credits. End of first game. Turns out your future self had been battling an entity called The Beast and realised the only way to win was to go back in time and prepare the earlier Cole for battle. Game two sees you fleeing from The Beast and taking up residency in New Marais, a New Orleans-esque metropolis, while you try and find a way to defeat it. Phew.

Here’s the problem. inFamous 2 is not a big enough evolution of the original formula. That formula, for those unfamiliar, was basically to take over territory across three islands of the city, fighting insurgents and mutants, and upgrading your powers. You can opt to stick solely to the main quest, but if you spend time working on the side missions you’ll gain territory and be able to wander through town without being attacked, and also earn the XP you need to afford more upgrades. Throughout, you’ll have to make choices between doing good or evil, with your decisions affecting how your powers evolve.

Last time, I noted that the moral choices were artificially binary and thus unsatisfactory. A triangular system where you could be chaotic and make varyingly good or evil choices depending on the situation would have been a great inclusion. As it is, if you waver you miss out on the more powerful abilities earned as your Karma meter swings to an extremity. So, the moral system is the same overly simple one as before, though at least this time it affects the final outcome of the game, with a different climax and confrontation depending on how you side.

Plus, most of the new inclusions are really just substitutions for existing systems in the first game. New city replaces old city. Trains replace trams. Repetitive ‘drain all the TV satellites’ missions replace repetitive ‘fry all the spy bugs’ missions. Dead drops aren’t hidden in satellites any more, but are attached to flying pigeons. Instead of activating the power for islands by going ... (continued next page)


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