As with any game that features an open-ended world, you’ll spend a lot of time navigating‘s landscape. Luckily, the developers showed mercy on the player by allowing Cole to retain many of the abilities he gained in the first game. This is a bit unusual for the industry, sequels typically wipe away all of your learned powers from a previous entry when starting a new chapter. You won’t have access to every single ability accumulated during inFAMOUS from the get-go, but your travel powers are available from the moment you start the game.
If you’re not zipping along power lines, you’re going on missions, both the plot-related type and your usual side quests. As in inFAMOUS, you’ll quickly get tired of stopping random muggings on the street but inFAMOUS 2 does a decent job of throwing a lot of mission variety at you. From escorts, to fetch quests to search-and-destroy missions, you’ll never want for something to do. I typically spent several hours in between main story missions just pounding out one side quest after another.
A huge part of the inFAMOUS 2 experience is leveling up Cole in order to prepare him for his showdown with The Beast. Cole’s electricity powers are still your principal weapon, but making yourself cozy with either Kuo or Nix nets you additional abilities. Follow the path of the heroic and virtuous and you’ll soon find yourself wielding Kuo’s visually stunning ice powers. Similarly, aligning yourself with Nix allows your slightly more asshole-ish Cole to throw around balls of flame like Mario hopped up on Fire Flowers.
While these are nice gameplay additions, you’ll more often than not find yourself relying on Cole’s innate electricity powers. They have a much wider variety of uses, some of the higher level powers really showcase the’s graphical prowess and they also permit me to make really awful electricity puns. Here, watch.
If you get tired of combat, New Marais abounds with collectible items just itching to be found. Blast Shards are plentiful and, considering that they augment Cole’s energy reserves, it’s highly recommended that you spend at least a small amount of time locating as many as you can. In a mischievous bit of dark humor, innocent civilians often carry around Blast Shards so if you’re playing as a nice guy, the temptation to fry these poor slobs can get somewhat overwhelming.
Wrapping up the whole inFAMOUS 2 gaming experience with a nice bow is the ability to design your own levels. inFAMOUS 2’s map editor is one of the finest on the market, second only perhaps to that of games designed entirely around the concept of level creation, such as Little Big Planet. It takes hours to learn how to properly manipulate the environment and countless more hours to master, but sharing your masterpiece on the PlayStation Network makes it all worthwhile.
Overall, inFAMOUS 2 is a great game to play, one of the year’s best and that rare sequel that outdoes its predecessor by massive lengths. Never boring, always providing you with something to do and with an awesome comic book story to boot, look for inFAMOUS 2 to make some best-of-the-year lists at some point.
While not a major graphical leap forward from inFAMOUS, the visuals in the second game are still on par with most major releases of the past few months. There’s nothing in the game environment that will make you stand up and take notice, though the city of New Marais itself is a wonderfully realized slice of southern hospitality. I’m surprised the developers didn’t simply recreate a virtual New Orleans, traipsing about The Big Easy would have added a new level of fun to the festivities.
Graphically speaking, inFAMOUS 2‘s major set pieces are the battles. If you’ve played the original, you’re no doubt already familiar with the destructive potential of Cole’s electricity powers. Add fire and ice to the proceedings and you’re talking massive carnage. While dishing out the wattage will take up most of your time, both ice and fire abilities can take up a lot of onscreen real estate at higher levels. Ice in particular can really deform and reshape the environment. Also: more puns!
inFAMOUS 2 is a great game to stare at while still maintaining a fluid frame rate. It’s not pushing the PlayStation 3’s hardware toward any heart attacks, but you’ll still find yourself whistling in awe the first time you try out a particularly impressive power. Complementing the visuals is an impressive array of sound effects. Fire powers are easily distinguishable from ice and bursts of electricity crackle nicely in your speakers. Cole’s voice actor grated on me in the first game and the symptoms aren’t in remission in inFAMOUS 2, but overall the voice acting is suitable for the genre.
The Verdict: [rating:4.5]
inFAMOUS 2 is pretty much as good as gaming gets. It does most everything right and very little wrong. What flaws it does have are completely overshadowed by its strengths. Sony has a strong franchise on its hands; it’ll be interesting to see where they take the series for its third installment.
Your faithful reviewer,
Now to go abuse some more senior citizens. I’m sure the karma on this won’t come back to bite me on the ass. It’s not like this game takes place in a comic book universe where people come back from the dead all the time to seek revenge against the people who, for the sake of argument, stole their walkers and kicked them in front of a bus. Heck, what’s the worst that could happen?