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Review: inFamous 2 Is a Satisfying Return to the Series

I’m nearing the end of my good playthrough for inFamous 2, and just like the original it has been a solid gaming experience.  It’s definitely not a perfect game by any means, but it’s a great follow up to the original, and at times Cole feels like an unstoppable ball of electrical powered goodness.  Unfortunately, there’s other times that he feels like the biggest p*ssy on the planet, and not the superhero/villain that he should be.  Regardless, inFamous 2 is great sequel to the original, and fans of that game should have an excellent time playing it.  To help make up your mind though, I’d like to step through a full review of the game, and the parts of it that I found to be awesome, as well as those that aren’t so awesome.

 

inFamous 2 Score: EB 8/10

The Awesome: Fast Paced Gameplay, Solid Visuals, Musical Score

The Not So Awesome: Twitchy Controls, Unbalanced Battles, Uninspiring Story

 

The Awesome

Fast Paced Gameplay

The same action packed, fast paced gameplay of the original inFamous returns in the sequel, which is one of my favorite aspects of this franchise.  Unlike most open world games, inFamous 2’s pace of play is very quick and frenetic in a good way.  I love the fact that there’s a plethora of missions that all can be completed in under 10 minutes.  Even the main story missions don’t drone on for long periods of time, which for someone with gaming ADD is a welcome treat.  I hate long drawn out missions in open world games that feel like they’re never going to end, so the fact that most of the missions in inFamous 2 are short and sweet is money for a gamer like myself.

Cole’s Electrical Powers Provide for Some Fast Paced Gameplay

Due to the fast pacing of the game I find enjoyment in completing every mission on the map.  Usually, in most open world games I don’t like p*ssing around town finding stuff to do, or going for hundreds of collectibles, but that is not the case in inFamous 2.  Most of us usually know what it means to collect hundreds of collectibles in an open world game, which is typically a process of reading a guide, pinpointing a location on the game map, and then navigating to it with your character.  This is not how collecting is done in inFamous 2.  Rather you have a sonar like power to expose all collectibles within Cole’s vicinity, so the task of collecting them is actually quite entertaining.  Every time I entered a new area the first thing I found myself doing was bouncing from building to building to find every blast shard and pigeon until they were all collected.

From there I could pick and choose which side mission or main mission to complete within an area, and just like the collecting bit they’re very easy to find and begin.  I just enjoy the fast paced nature of inFamous 2, and because of that I rarely found myself feeling like I’ve been playing the game for too long.  This is always a concern of mine in open world games, but luckily it’s not an issue in the inFamous franchise.

Solid Visuals

It’s no surprise that an exclusive PS3 game looks beautiful on the system.  I always appreciate how well games run on the PS3, and maybe if Sony could come up with a decent online service I’d play more games on their console versus Microsoft’s.  inFamous 2 and all of its fast paced action look very smooth on screen with hardly any frame rate issues.  At times there seems to be 20 or more characters on the screen, and not once did I notice any slow downs in the visuals due to all of the mayhem taking place.

Graphically inFamous 2 Looks Wonderful, but New Marais’ Landscape Falls Short of Empire City’s

The character models and environment look sharper than the original (the environment looks sharper, but I’m not a big fan of New Marais in general, not enough high building to climb), but I have to say after playing L.A. Noire all games look to be a few years old when it comes to the facial animations.  inFamous 2 doesn’t have cheap looking character models, but when you compare them to L.A. Noire they look last-gen.  That’s not a knock on inFamous 2, it’s just a testament of how bada*s the character facial animations look like in L.A..  Even if the character’s faces don’t look life like they’re in line with other next-gen games that aren’t called L.A. Noire, so they aren’t awful by any means.

The in game engine graphics are solid, but I’m probably a bigger fan of the motion comic styled cut scenes.  Sucker Punch used them to tell parts of the story in the original, and they’ve returned in the sequel.  They just fit perfectly in a game that is ultimately about a superhero/villain, and they help add to the comic book feel of the franchise.  I’m actually looking forward to going back and watching all of the cut scenes again as one long motion comic.  In fact, I may have to return to the original to brush up on the motion comic from that one.  Overall, the inFamous 2 visual style is a beautiful thing, but it’s nothing revolutionary like L.A. Noire.

Love the Motion Comic Look

Musical Score

Surprisingly enough, inFamous 2 has an awesome musical score.  I can’t really pin it to a specific genre of music, but it compliments the fast paced action perfectly.  It comes and goes as certain scenes play out, so it’s not like the music is playing constantly.  It’s used to heighten the action on screen perfectly, and during times of exploration it provides a serene back drop to the urban climbing.  Music to me is just as important, if not more important than visual excellence in a game to bring out emotions in the gamer playing the game (holy use of the word game Batman).  Luckily, inFamous 2 delivers on this front, so the hours of game play needed to complete this title are filled with a lovely soundtrack to keep you entertained while playing.

 

The Not So Awesome

Twitchy Controls

The original inFamous had a less than ideal control scheme.  Basically, if you didn’t go into the settings and change the default controller scheme the game felt very wonky.  This isn’t quite the case in inFamous 2, as you don’t need to change the default control scheme to play it comfortably, but the controls are still twitchy when it comes to battling the bad guys.  inFamous 2 doesn’t employ any type of targeting system, so when you have to take out a gang of enemies it becomes a test of fighting your aim while the enemies dodge you like they’re superheroes themselves.  It’s not impossible to take enemies out, but when you have 20 of them on screen bobbing and weaving, Cole looks more like a spaz than a man full of electricity.

Good Luck Aiming in inFamous 2

I’d be fine it there was some sort of auto-aim, and aim lock system to help you place more precise shots, but that’s not the case.  inFamous 2 takes an old school approach to 3rd person shooting, which may be too frustrating for gamers that are used to having a lock on targeting system.  The controls aren’t ideal in inFamous 2, but there not horrible either.  I just think it would’ve been nice to be able to cycle through enemy targets versus the natural approach of free aiming.

Unbalanced Battles

Outside of the wonky controls, the biggest gripe I have with inFamous 2 is the grossly unbalanced fights that you’ll come across.  For being a superhero Cole sure does get his a*s kicked more often than I’d like.  There are many times in the game when you’ll happen upon a group of 3-4 enemies, and before you know it you’re dead.  This is usually because there’s a dipsh*t with a RPG in the group who will fire it off at a point blank range instantly killing Cole.  Luckily, inFamous 2 has very fast loading screens, so it doesn’t completely blow to die a few times, but I’d like to see Cole have a little more defense when it comes to battling uneven odds.

Unfortunately Cole Doesn’t Always Pwn Small Groups of Militia Members

Cole should be able to restore his energy by syphoning energy from nearby electrical sources, but this becomes nearly impossible when you’re in a new zone without power, or you’re being chased by a hoard of p*ssed off enemy AI.  Cole can never seem to get juiced up when I need him too, so he’ll expire more times than I feel like he should.  He’s an electrical wielding human who should be able to dispose of common enemies with ease, but this isn’t always the case in inFamous 2.  Because of this Cole feels like a normal person at times, which takes you out of the God like feelings that he should induce.

Uninspiring Story

There is a story to inFamous 2, which does relate to the original, but I could give two sh*ts about it.  Just like the first one, the sequel also has a less than stellar plot, which doesn’t help to make you care about the game’s characters.  This is a shame because the motion comic cut scenes are wonderful to watch, but everything just feels so blah.  I’m still not sure how all of the characters relate to the overall story, but they do.  I found myself just going through the motions on the main story missions, and I rarely paid attention to what they were about, and how they would impact the game’s story.  I think there’s an interesting story to be told, but it is grossly overshadowed by the fast paced gameplay, and it almost seems as if it is secondary to the gameplay itself.  It’s not horrible, but it’s not great either.  Honestly, if you were fine with how things went down in the first game, you’ll be content with the story of the second, but I was hoping for a little more of an engaging plot in inFamous 2.

Still not Sure Why There’s Monsters in This Game

 

Final Verdict

inFamous 2 is another excellent PS3 exclusive that should be played by fans of the franchise.  It brings back the fast paced gameplay of the original in a better looking skin, and at times it’ll make you feel like you have all of the power in the world.  I love the action, and I love parkouring around New Marais to find collectibles.  I would’ve like to have seen some sort of targeting system in the game to give the combat a more fluid feel, but it’s not a deal breaker by any means.  At times Cole feels more like a reject than a superhero, but overall he’s still a great gaming character to play with.  With that being said I’ve decided to drop my initial impression score of the game from an 8.5 to an EB 8/10.  It’s a solid follow up to the original, but there are a few technical things that prevent it from being great.  Regardless, I highly recommend it to all PS3 owners looking for another great exclusive game to play on their console, so take a look at the trailer for it below.  You’ve been thinking that inFamous is still on overall better franchise than Prototype…

inFamous 2 Trailer

httpvh://youtu.be/MOeX4ia8-7c

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Tags : Game ReviewinFamous 2PS3 ExclusiveSucker Punch
Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.