Thursday, 30 June 2011

Infamous 2 Review

Barely two years have passed since gamer’s first encounter Cole MacGrath, Choosing to side with justice or rebel against it in the original Infamous. Yet it’s time to take charge (intended pun) again and confront the beast.

This time around, after a brief reminder of the first game, almost immediately the threat is laid out – the beast is here. Cole’s powers drained after an initial confrontation with the beast, the only path to victory lies in collection of several “blast cores”, creating a central focus for the game. However, each blast core leaves the beast a step closer, so the pressure is on to gather them all before it’s too late.

One of the defining aspects of Infamous was the karma system, completely changing Cole himself, from a revered Hero to an Infamous villain. These choices can be carried over, so if you’ve played the first game (And you really should) you at least feel your previous efforts are not completely wasted. The karma system is still in place, but this time around I noticed a few problems with it. Some dialogue shared between both sides feels out of place with establishment of character elsewhere. This is only a minor issue, and for the sake of time and plot some things need to stay central. In the first game we are lead to believe Cole couldn’t give a damn if the beast total’d the world, yet the majority of the game is spent preparing to defeat it. You are also not punished enough for taking actions contrary to your choice, making the small decisions seem unimportant.

Kuo and Nix generally have there own karma alliances, and you will see more of one depending on your karma decisions.

However, some nice touches make balance these negatives and make it worthwhile. Some primary missions allow you to choose two means to an end, and while they lead to the same outcome it makes a second play though even more worthwhile, especially for the final karma choices. Outside of missions random events can also alter karma, from silencing protestors to diffusing a bomb, building on a similar mechanic from the original but giving greater variety to constantly show off heroics or wreck havoc around the city, giving a more real sense to your choice rather than the odd mission or line of text here and there.

Combat remains fairly similar to the first game, harnessing electricity to take out enemies from any distance. There are a few new moves, with a selection of equally devastating Ionic moves, which well placed can decimate entire armies in one swoop. It’s generally a blast(did it again!) to experience, and any qualms with melee combat are solved with the amp, Zeke’s latest invention that makes fighting up close more satisfying, with a successful streak ending in a cinematic finishing move. The new selection of enemies in the Militia and Ice Men are generally fun to play against, but with some later conduits simply bypassed after a few defeats. Cole’s knack of being pulled to the closet object is great for exploring, but during combat can lead to frustrating moments of hopping between scenery under a bunch of fire. Luckily enough, this is forgivable seeing just how fun zipping around the city is, and this same pull is what allows this.

The new ionic moves look and feel great to see, and quickly defeat most in your path.

When it comes to reviewing a sequel, the best you can do is compare the changes, and on most fronts Infamous 2 is a far superior game to its predecessor. Yet playing though shows there are still issues here and there, yet it is not enough to take away from the overall experience. The game is at its heart an upgrade of the previous installment, so if you enjoyed that this will be just as good, if not better. While pacing seems out of place at times, it’s fun to play though and demands you return to see the other side of the story, leading to a worthwhile purchase, and with Infamous for free to most PSN owners, or cheap pre-owned prices, you really have no excuse not to pick up the pair and have a shockingly (third time’s the charm!) good time.

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