I’m not a comic book fan and don’t particularly care for superhero stuff at all. Despite hearing great things about InFamous, it never really appealed to me as something I’d want to buy. When I finally got a Playstation 3, it came bundled with two games: Killzone 2 and InFamous. In addition to those two games, I also got plenty of other PS3 games at the same time. I played InFamous very little; I tried it out and was routinely getting killed without even seeing where the enemies were at. It was frustrating, and I had only advanced very little in the story when I quit playing it.
As I made my way through all the PS3 games I had gotten, plus the additional ones that I had bought after, I finally put InFamous back in and gave it another chance. And I’m glad I did, because it ended up being a really fun and worthwhile game, with a really good story as far as superhero/comic book stories go.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about this game is that it can be pretty merciless on you in the beginning. You’re going to get killed, and odds are you’re not even going to realize what’s happening. This can be frustrating, but if you wait it out and approach it strategically, you’ll quickly find yourself progressing through the story and gaining/upgrading new powers that are a joy to unleash, and maximizing your potential to harness more energy.
Don’t let the fact that you’re the electric hero fool you; while you are wielding electricity as a weapon, you’re doing so on a model based on standard weapons. And yes, this is a standard third person shooter, with a little less emphasis on the need for cover. You have your basic, primary attack of shooting small amounts of electricity in rapid secession like you would a pistol. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about running out of ammo with this. Then you have more damaging version of that weapon in form of a rocket launcher style attack and grenades. You can even enter sniper mode (that does drain energy) to get that all important “head shock” even easier. If that’s not enough for you, you have Star Wars style force push and a hellacious lightening storm attack that you can steer by tilting your six-axis controller. These all control very well for the most part and you’ll get to a point where combat won’t be too much of a problem, or at least not as difficult as it can be in the very beginning.
Our supercharged hero Cole can also climb pretty much anything he can get a grip on. He’s definitely not as smooth as Ezio from Assassin’s Creed, but the basic mechanics are good enough. You will encounter some wonkiness where you’ll have to move the camera to a certain point to finally grab what you’re trying to grab, and this can be frustrating especially if you’re trying to make a quick vertical escape. Luckily, the climbing mechanics work as intended the majority of the time, and when they don’t you can often repeatedly spam the X button to awkwardly scoot up the side of a building. Once you’ve acquired the glide ability, there really is nothing better than climbing to a high spot and jumping off and slowly gliding your way around.
InFamous takes place in the fictional city of Empire City, and this city is made up of three islands connected by bridges. As an open-world game, the city is more than big enough and there’s a lot to do. Besides the obvious story missions, you have either good or bad side missions to pursue in addition to other side missions to accept. These all work to help clean the city up from crime and drive out the gangs. While there’s a ton to do, don’t expect a lot of variety. The missions that involve you doing something usually entail killing a bunch of gang members, escorting a group from point A to point B, or gathering stuff that gang-members have stolen. There’s a lot of repetitiveness here, but none more so than the boring missions that have you climbing up the side of a building and zapping surveillance bugs. These aren’t difficult to do, but rather boring and or tediously dull.
Other repetitive missions are called “Satellite Uplinks,” and these are essentially a race against the clock. You have so many seconds to race past a satellite uplink, each time adding a little more time to the clock, to reach the finish. I like the idea, but some of these can be unforgiving and are exceedingly frustrating. If you miss a jump or mess up in any way, you’re screwed and you’re going to have to start again. Many of these uplinks are far apart, and you really have no way of scouting the route that you need to take. That’s not exactly fair since you’ll be sliding across power lines for most of these, and some require precise timing of jumps. And of course sometimes when you jump, Cole gravitates towards the closest thing he can grab. There’s really nothing more frustrating than being right at the uplink, yet unable to reach it because during your jump Cole decided to latch on to and hang from a billboard.
The powerline surfing brings me to another frustrating feature. The city is pretty big, yet you have absolutely no way of getting around the city other than running or sliding across powerlines (or standing on top of a el-train. I’m not saying the game needs vehicles, but it could have benefited from some system of getting around the world faster. Climbing isn’t exactly smooth and fluid in this game. This is admittedly a minor flaw for me, but it’s hopefully something they’ve considered for the second one.
Overall, InFamous is very much an entertaining and fun adventure that every PS3 owner should experience. There’s a great foundation here, and a lot of stuff that works quite well. The story is easy to get into, and it features a great ending and twist that I didn’t see coming. But the game does have noticeable flaws that detract away from it. If Sucker Punch has worked out all the kinks, InFamous 2 (due out next month as of this writing) could be something really special. But as is, this one is just slightly above standard third person shooting based in an open world with some really cool and exciting concepts sprinkled in.