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inFamous Member Review for the PS3

Master_Craig By:
GENRE Adventure 
DEVELOPER Sucker Punch 
T Contains Blood, Drug Reference, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

What do these ratings mean?

inFamous is a title I haven't really been paying attention to let alone looking forward to. I heard about it through a variety of gaming websites but as I said, it never really caught my eye. While browsing I noticed they had made a video review of the game. The game had already been released in other locations but here in Australia it was not out for another week. GameTrailers really enjoyed the game and when I checked inFamous on Wikipedia I noticed a wide range of gaming websites have enjoyed the game. Apparently it's good, so I decided to check this out for myself.

inFamous is a single player game that has the player in the shoes of bicycle courier Cole, living in fictional city Empire City. While delivering a package there's a massive electrical explosion which pretty much devastates the entire city. Somehow surviving the explosion Cole discovers that he has somehow gained electrical superpowers. On top of that, shortly after all of this, Cole discovers that the package he was carrying was the bomb that detonated. Not only that, the government has placed Empire city under quarantine due to a sudden plague outbreak, leaving all the civilians of Empire City essentially locked in a cage with gangs and factions of murderers and psychos. As the player, it's up to Cole with his super powers to either save the city, or to be its very downfall.

With that being said, inFamous promotes to the player that they are to take a side during the course of their adventure. The side of either good or evil. No neutral here. As players play the game, Cole will make many choices which will effect his karma. Depending on what the player does will determine Cole's alignment which will also determine Cole's overall abilities and appearance. Many powers can only be used by a good Cole, while many powers can only be used by an evil Cole. Cole is not commited to be purely good or evil throughout the entire game, if the player so chooses they may change alignment when given the opportunity. Cole doesn't always have to make in-game "choices" to be good or evil. Helping civilians and healing them from injuries can make Cole better, while harming civilians and wreaking destruction can make Cole a little more bad. Just a little. As mentioned before, Cole's karma can also ultimately determine the game's overall storyline... at least that's what the developers have claimed (I've yet to see this as I am still playing inFamous, playing as a good guy first).

inFamous is all about running around playing with your super powers in the huge, open world sandbox environment of Empire City. Cole can shoot lightning bolts from his hands, send off electrical shock waves, heal himself and his own energy by absorbing sources of electrical power and as the game progresses Cole will receive many new abilities, such as temporary hovering, quick grinding on rail tracks and electrical wires, to throwing powerful electrical grenades and missiles. If necessary Cole can also perform some simple, yet effective electrical powered melee attacks.

The combat of inFamous is very run and gun, similar to that of any third person shooter nowadays but it works quite well. It's fun and destructive. Cole's also able to take cover behind objects or even while hanging off a ledge, which gives the combat a little more variety and offers the player more opportunity in their combat tactics. As for actual navigation and exploration, Cole's movements is very similar to free running/parkour albiet to a super human level. He can quickly scale buildings and ledges, in a very similar fashion to say 2007's Assassin's Creed, if the building has an edge or a groove, then Cole can climb it.

One noticeable issue however is players may find themselves occasionally getting frustrated at the free running/parkour system as Cole has a sort of, auto tracking movement, to which he will automatically try and land on the nearest object when jumping. This isn't all that bad but when you're in a mission where time is against you, there is a possibility of frustration. Thankfully though due to his super human abilities, Cole receives absolutely no fall damage when he falls from great heights.

As the game progresses Cole is able to access and upgrade many of his powers and abilities. Upon unlocking an ability the player may have the option to upgrade it using experience points. While there are experience points there is no real "level up" to the game. Instead experience points are used like money, to which players can upgrade whatever abilities they may possess, in exchange for their hard earned experience points, which are earned by defeating enemies in various manners, performing in-game combat stunts and by completing missions. Upon unlocking an ability Cole may not be able to upgrade it entirely as he must be of a certain karma level to upgrade certain skills, for example as a "Champion" (second level of good) he may not be able to upgrade a certain skill as it may require Cole to be a "Hero" (third level of good).

There are a wide variety of missions in the game however some may be considered repetitive as optional missions tend to be recycled. There are three types of missions. Storyline missions, optional missions and karma missions (whether it be good or evil). Storyline missions by all means progress the game's storyline and allow Cole to receive the most experience points upon completion as well as the possibility of receiving brand new powers. Optional missions give Cole a smaller amount of experience but in a way, clean up the streets. By "clean up the streets" it simply means that area of the city (where the mission was conducted) becomes safer and free of enemies, or at the very least, enemies will not respawn in such areas again. Karma missions are also optional missions but require the player to be of a certain side to play. So if you're evil, you can't do good missions and if you're good you can't do evil missions. Karma missions also, like optional missions "clean up the streets" and furthermore award the player with either positive, or negative karma points.

The game isn't a masterpiece visually but it doesn't look bad, it looks quite good. There's a lot of people walking around in the streets, Cole's character model is well detailed, the powers used look very destructive and powerful, it is a good looking game. Sometimes though like with any open ended environment sandbox there's a fair amount of objects popping in when Cole gets close and popping out when he leaves. There are a few bugs such as civilians randomly shivering in one place or getting stuck in certain objects. The soundtrack of inFamous is great, it's very superheroish and has a lot of orchestral sound, similar to that of superhero films such as Batman Begins or Superman: Returns. The voice acting itself is fairly decent, however players may have to get used to Cole's rough tone.

The game's storyline is interesting, players will be intrigued as they continue to play the game, watching the story unfold before them. There aren't that many movie sequences as most of the game's dialog is told in-game while Cole is running around (told via his mobile phone). The comic cut scenes however are, I say this as an artist, absolutely awesome. A lot of video games that used two dimensional animation or comic style cut scenes in my opinion seem to be lazily done, almost a "cop out" but inFamous pulls it off very well with its gritty and rough design. It works perfectly.

inFamous is currently available for the PS3 console and is apparently an exclusive. If you're an owner of a PS3 console then inFamous is a title you should really check out. It's got a few bugs in all fairness and may also contain some minor repetition and frustration but the game is certainly worth it. It's a lot of fun, using the powers is a blast and the conspiracy style storyline is very interesting.

Will you be the city's saviour, or it's destroyer?

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