Release Date: June 7, 2011
ESRB Rating: Teen
This upcoming fall is going to be hard times for all gamers out there; an abundance of high-quality and much anticipated video game sequels are on the horizon for the months ahead. One video game sequel came out of the gate a little sooner than the rest, however, and in this I am referring to infamous 2.
infamous 2 (go figure) follows the events of Sucker Punch’s first award-winning infamous game. The incidental superhero/supervillain Cole McGrath and his companion Zeke are sent fleeing from Empire City to the lively city of “New Marais,” an instantly recognizable portrayal of New Orleans. And yes, this is made complete with the addition of annoying street performers. Cole believes he can expand his electrical powers exponentially in this new city in order to overcome “The Beast,” the powerful entity that Cole was warned about in the first infamous. Unfortunately, gamers only recently joining Cole on his journey may find themselves slightly confused with the plot, even with the animated graphics attempting to catch newcomers up to speed. On the other hand, veteran players are initially rewarded by loading their old Infamous save, both in experience and alignment of morality.
infamous 2 is in every way a true sequel; Sucker Punch (which was recently purchased by Sony) knew not to change too much of what was correct from the first game. Like Empire City, New Marais is an open world for Cole to explore, climb, glide around and destroy to your choosing. Players will still have to “repower” areas of the city that have lost electricity because, after all, without electricity Cole is essentially useless. However, developers did do an excellent job of creating a different atmosphere between the two cities. New Marais is a much shallower city; buildings are shorter, floods have affected areas of the town and bayou, and it seems to be a much more superstitious town, filled with cemeteries and churches.
Cole’s abilities are back and as wicked as ever; players can still upgrade his various electrical powers in order to overcome the threats that plague New Marais. Electrical bolts, rockets, and grenades are all back, but one aspect in particular is most enjoyable. Zeke crafts a nifty device referred to as “The Amp.” Think of a metal baseball bat which Cole can simultaneously beat and shock thugs with. This melee addition was the best improvement to the combat from the first infamous; finishing moves are especially a joy to watch.
Sucker Punch did a fantastic job fixing the ridiculous aspects of the first game. Players can finally climb chain link fences (and get a trophy in doing so). But like every game, infamous 2 is not without its problems. When the first infamous debuted its morality system, it was a great way for players’ choices throughout the game to skew the storyline. Evil deeds beget evil powers and evil story endings. However, the morality system in infamous 2 seems shallow and pretentious. There’s a lack of depth to moral choices, and it frequently comes down to whether or not you just want to kill innocent civilians. This may have worked for the first infamous, but with as far as video games have advanced in the last few years, we should expect much more.
Overall, infamous 2 is a worthwhile purchase; exploring and side missions make the single player campaign stretch into a 20+ hour experience. Add in that the storyline can be played two ways, and that Sucker Punch added the ability to create and share user-generated content online, and you have one worthwhile game.