Developer: Sucker Punch
Release Date: 06/07/2011
Available Exclusively On
inFamous 2 is the perfect example of improving upon every aspect of a prequel, but not adding anything new to evolve the series. It seems Sucker Punch focused so much on what seems to be what they wanted the first game to really be – given more time – and yeah. It really feels like what the first game should have been. The improvements are noticeable right off the bat when you take control of Cole. The camera is closer to him and it bobs and shakes and the visuals are greatly improved. This is one of the best-looking PS3 games to date, but more so on a technical scale – more on that later. Thanks to motion capture and a better actor for Cole the story and characters have greatly improved. He’s actually quite likable and the cast is pretty entertaining to see on screen thanks to the frequent cut scenes.
The writing is also better I actually got a few chuckles out of me and the subtle inflections in the voice acting all add character and weight to the story which is also better. It picks up right where the first game let off, in fact, you’re leaving Empire City while you watch its destruction. The Beast hinted at in the first game is the main goal here and it adds a sense of urgency and dread to the whole story. Your main goal is to find more blast cores to give Cole more power to detonate an RFI to save New Marais from the plague seen in the first game. The Beast is destroying all human life as he moves down the Eastern Seaboard, but why he is would be a spoiler. It takes forever, but the game does have a satisfying ending and concludes the series as a whole. However, the whole morality thing just isn’t nailed down still. It’s still very binary and you now have two female characters – Nix and Kuo – who try to sway you in either direction, but this attempt at organic morality shifting like in Mass Effect just doesn’t work. It’s basically the angel and devil on either shoulder and in the end, your choices don’t matter outside of specific cut scenes and missions you might see or play. The ending choice determines the ending and even if you played as good through the whole game you could choose the evil ending which is really disappointing and weird.
Outside of the much-improved characters and story, the overall game loop is identical. You run around completing the same type of side quests life before and gain back territory from three different factions. This became just as monotonous and tiring as the first game did despite slightly less annoying mission types. However, Cole’s ability tree is completely meaningless in this game as you need to unlock powers before you can buy them. Even if you have the option to buy them it’s grayed out and you always have enough XP to buy these abilities as most of the passive ones are just acquired through the story. So, one back step is the ability tree for sure. It just feels pointless to have an XP system.
Combat is improved mostly with melee. You know get a stick to beat enemies up with and there are cinematic finishing moves to go along with it. You will do a lot of melee combat in this game when someone is up close, but your other abilities are also improved and some are added. Cole’s overall combat feels improved with better animations and effects. Various new abilities include a missile, triple grenade, pulse blast with gravity negation, and also ice abilities which tie into the story, but I felt these were pretty useless. I guess there are only so many lightning abilities you can have without delving into other types. If you venture into the evil path you get a different ability type which is maybe some weird evil mist type power? It’s hard to say what it is exactly as it’s not an element. I mostly stuck to Cole’s abilities and eventually found a loud out I preferred and stuck to it.
Parkour hasn’t changed much with Cole magnetizing to ledges a little too much still and New Marais is still a pain to get around. There are two light rails you can speed around, but they aren’t connected which makes no sense, and the other two areas don’t have any means of traveling quickly and there is still no fast travel. New Marais as a whole is just as lifeless as Empire City with nothing to do in it still. In fact, it’s exactly the same. Just more pedestrian and animations added and that’s it. It’s still a colorless, lifeless, drab, and gray open world for an excuse to do side quests, dead drops, and find blast shards. It feels better designed for this type of game, but overall it’s not much better.
With that said, the game improves upon many things like story, characters, animations, graphics, combat, and better quest design, but it still feels like the first game in the end. There isn’t anything really new here outside of some new enemies and mini-boss encounters. New Marais itself is a lifeless dull city with the same exact things to do as in the first game. I did enjoy this game more, but after a few hours in the honeymoon phase wheres off and you realize you’re playing the same game.