#936 Infamous

Posted: 20th August 2011 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

78th game played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Have I mentioned that I got a new PS3? Have I mentioned that I love it ever so dearly? Have I mentioned the guilt I originally felt for choosing Microsoft over Sony all those years ago? I have? Oh okay… time for our first Playstation 3 exclusive!

Our Thoughts

Right, as we’ll keep bringing this up: This game was released incredibly close to Prototype, and the games are similar. Here is the plot in a nutshell: You are in a city quarenteened after both a disaster and a plague. As Cole you have developed powers over electricity and are fighting the (now souped up) local gangs to defend the city and find the truth behind your new powers and the disaster itself. Which is very similar to Prototype except for gangs in the place of mutants and electic powers instead of bloodbased mutations. Both games also draw inspiration from graphic novels… makes you wonder how such a similarity occured. Like with the films Antz and A Bug’s Life. This, by the way, is made stronger by the gameplay, which can be roughly summarized as a sandbox game in a large city which involves a lot of acrobatics inspired by free running, and so both take place in a large part on roof tops and hanging from walls. With cool powers that you can upgrade as time goes on. (It is going to be hard to review this game without drawing comparisons to Prototype so I apologise but… with the exception of power variation Infamous wins in all areas)

So where shall we start? Perhaps those power variations? Yes, the fact is that if Prototype wasn’t an obvious comparison point then the power variation would still be great. You have your bog standard aim and shock power which you start off with, as you get further into the game you are able to heal, incapactite, throw electronic bombs, form ball lightning, use static electricity to glide and ride the rails whilst recharging your powers. These are all upgradable based on XP, karma and the types of missions you undertake. You have to hand it to Sucker Punch for getting as much out of electricity-based powers as possible.  I mean, to be honest, when you pidgeonhole your hero as having one of the tradtional elements as a power then… you can get backed into a corner. It would be the same if they just had him have powers over wind, water or fire. I believe this changes in the sequel, where you get limited powers over fire or ice. Yes and this is based on karma too.

The karma system is an interesting addition, where your actions influence your character’s development. Not something new, but it integrates seamlessly with the actions, the world and, as said, your powers. When you are loved people will take photos and ask for help otherwise then tend to recoil in terror. Also, there is a significant amount of urban rejuvenation when you are trying to act heroic.

This brings us nicely along to another major plus of this game; your interaction with the city around you. Although we are yet to play Free Running it is clear how much this phenomenon had. On a personal level this is something that I first saw in Assassin’s Creed and it really has been used well here. Instead of Prototype’s “let’s run up the side of the building and just ignore the notion of gravity” you have to clamber up pipes and hang onto ledges. I mean okay it can take a little bit longer in some cases but it feels more worth it when you get to the top.  Like how it is meant to be more satisfying to climb a mountain instead of using the chairlift. It also adds more interest to the exploring. As you go through the series, you can electrify rusty objects, causing them to crack and unlocking shortcuts – or even other things to climb up. When you explore you are able to pick up ‘blast shards’ which increase the amount of electricity in your body. These collectables, along with the dead drops, are far more useful than the ‘hints and tips’ from Prototype. Even if you need more and more to get a benefit The first one takes five shards… then eleven… I didn’t find out how much further. At the moment I need thirty-eight until my next one.

I guess the last major thing to cover is Cole, the main man himself. At the heart of every good game needs to be a central protagonist that you can like in some way. Of couse he is moody and, like every central character in modern games, he wears a hood but… you really can relate to him more than Prototype‘s Alex Mercer. He really does feel like an innocent man caught up in a big plot, because he happened to be the one delivering a package. Later in the game you find out he was specifically targeted… but to so why would be spoilerific. Thank you.

In the epic battle of Infamous versus Prototype the undesputed champion really is Infamous. In the not-so epic battle of the necessary sequel, again, Prototype really comes up short. When you remember how much I loved Prototype I would like to have it noted that it took about half an hour of playtime to notice how much better this was. If you have a PS3 you need to get it.

Final Thoughts

Since I have just recently been accepted onto a Masters (at the time of writing this) I will now be able to complete a few games in my own time. This has now made it to the top of the list alongside Bayonetta, Prototype, Rockstar’s Table Tennis, Mirror’s Edge, Dead Rising and Fallout 3’s DLC. Awesome times.

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