PS3 Review: inFamous, Love him or Fear him

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Surgical masks, hot flowing magma or pachinko arcades.. hmm what caught my attention first.  I think it’s when I saw Ray Spheres shattered down to earth and breaking into shards, that I knew inFamous was going to be a great title that didn’t need help from the Uncharted 2 Multiplayer Beta to get attention.  Your choice to become a force to be reckoned with or the lovable noble hero of this metropolitan city is completely up to you.  Good or Bad, the choice is all yours…

Many are claiming inFamous is a mixture of Spiderman: Web of Shadows and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed in a Grand theft Auto world and with good reason.  The similarities of jumping atop building to building, hanging from ledges or the fact that you wield a force like electrical power through your body can contribute to the comparisons.  But instead of playing the role of Peter Parker or The Apprentice, you play Cole in Sucker Punch’s first title for the PS3, inFamous.  The story begins in Empire City, a city resembling NYC of course, which was struck by a cataclysmic blast that left civilians in survival mode with a plague spreading and the chaos surrounding ground zero.  The city is  quarantined and taken over by the gangs, most notably the Reapers.

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Karma Karma Cole-melian. You awaken from a massive explosion with many question beginning from what happened to who’s responsible.  One thing is clear, your newly discovered powers of electricity is your main weapon and how you want to use it, reflects your Karma System.  Throughout the story you will be presented with scenarios that will raise your meter in the blue zone (Good karma) or lower it to the red zone (Bad karma) in Karma Moments.  A voice over of Cole will weigh the options of deciding a good or evil decision, leaving you with plenty to consider in little time.  Your powers will also take on this system and when you accomplish good missions, you’ll have the option of upgrading that power but not the evil.  And vice-versa.

The enemies you enCounter. The city is filled with red hooded goons or Reapers that terrorize the remaining people left in Empire City and also have no trouble shooting at you from buildings, trains and alley ways.  One thing you’ll notice is their aim is precise from long distances.  You’ll also find Conduit’s running around and attack you with an electric blast.  Conduit’s have a grim reaper look to them and are more powerful than Reapers.   Thanks to an open world map, you can clearly see the Reapers from your on-screen map in red in the lower right corner.

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Sticky fingers and feet. One of the neater parts of inFamous is Cole’s remarkable approach to landing on power lines and grabbing hold onto poles thanks to the easy to maneuver control system.  Jumping from tall buildings and landing on a street light is generally easy but it can deter you from the finer controls not possible due to Cole landing on the “anything close” method.  This minor inconvenience of not being able to jump and hang on a specific spot is one you won’t mind much.

Mission Waypoints. Throughout the open world of Empire city, you’ll be challenged with Story Mode missions in blue and Side Story mission in yellow. When you take on a side story mission, you will be helping out those in need. And once you complete their task you are awarded with XP points and you unlock more of the city ridding enemies from that are you just unlocked. On Story Mode missions, you’ll be guided by Moya, Trish and Zeke on Karma moments. Based on your decision, you can either go “Good” or “Evil” which will reinforce your reputation and raise that rank. Ultimate goal is to become a Hero “Good” or inFamous “Evil”.

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Weapons, Shock value. I mentioned before after side missions and story missions you gain XP and also after defeating the over populated Reapers, Conduits and others that get in your way that roam Empire city. Depending on which road you traveled, you can upgrade your “Good” or “Evil” powers using your available XP points. Upgrades include stronger Lightning Bolts, Electromagnetic Shockwaves, Shock Grenades etc. But be-mindful using these powers. You have a “Battery Core” that displays how much charge you currently posses. Don’t fret, you can easily regenerate your electric meter by pressing L2 near an electrical current. Pressing the L3 button will show you where you can get a charge from thanks to the lightning bolt icons in your mini map.

Killing the foes. Many ways to kill bad guys or helpless hobo’s in the game is to shock them dead. I found the methods available are quite entertaining and vary from sticky bombs for 15 XP, death by water, or melee attack. Remember your opponents are down and not out… yet. Focusing in on an injured victim with the R1 button allows you to perform one of several finishing moves. Three moves for civilians two for enemies. You can Bio Leech, (which takes all their energy an restores yours) Arc Restraint (straps them down to the floor with what seems like electric cuffs) or Heal them (which helps them on their feet but can only be performed on a civilian).

What you might not see. I’m usually the type of player that pushes the envelope. Burning every bush in Zelda was my forte. So when I wandered the streets of Empire city, I was amazed to see a living and breathing city happening around me. From civilians cheering me on when I perform a good deed at random times to some who down right bash me and disapprove of me. In one of your first mission you are asked to either share food that was dropped in the middle of the city, or destroy everyone within the area to preserve the food for yourself. The city got the better of me, as I saw helpless sick people going for their ration of food and I just couldn’t bring myself to electrocuting the crap out of them. Thanks Sucker Punch, for once I used my personal morale in this game.

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Pros:
Sticky Platforming
Karma Moments
Comic book style cut scenes
Unnoticeable load times
Empire City is alive
Superhero powers

Cons:
Below average melee combat
Some missions feel repetitive

For the fans of any Open world game, inFamous will float in that genre boat. Superhero fans will enjoy the power you posses and the decisions you make, good or bad. There’s too many innovative concepts here to list in a review, cause honestly every time I play I find something that went unnoticed earlier in the game. For those of you who want the bad guy to win at the end of a film, this is the game for you!

9/10

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