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PS3 Review – inFamous

At first I had little interest in the title, but a little while back I got early access to the demo and I knew right away that I wanted to buy it. The demo showed interesting gameplay and overall was really fun.

So does the final game live up to the expectations I made after playing the demo?

Read on and see!

Looks and sounds
The graphics are quite good. Cole’s model looks great and the changes depending one whether you go Good or Evil are pretty nice. Other character models are average. Story characters look a bit meh (Trish looks weird, Zeke looks very fake). Pedestrians look fine. All are pretty generic, but they represent well the situation that is going on in the city. The enemies are pretty cool. Each area in the game has it’s own type of enemy. Each type of enemy has its own “generic” look, but from that basic design they manage to make a few different looks, so that they look similar but still different enough. Dustman in particular have to very interesting enemies, including garbage-made mechs. Nice.
The areas in the game are a bit on the downside. They look okay and there is SOME variety to some areas, but overall the look of the game is quite repetitive.
Graphically, the high point is the story segments made in comic book-style. They look great and stylish, and do a great job in explaining the story. The drawings are really good.

So sound-wise. Well, the gunshots are standard. The electricity sounds are great, but it would suck if they weren’t, right? The voice acting is pretty nice. Cole sounds like your regular badass, Zeke sounds like an asshole, Trish sounds like an idiot, Moya sounds strong and commanding, all like they are in the game. And the music is okay, but not memorable.

The game looks and sounds pretty good. Not outstanding, but it’s good enough.

Story
Cole, some deliveryman, is carrying a package that he must bring somewhere. Well, the package is actually some sort of bomb, and it explodes. It destroys a small part of the city, kills a bunch of people, and Cole wakes up, quite hurt but still alive, with the power to control electricity. The city is put in quarantine, there’s a big epidemic going on, and other super-beings and street gangs are screwing with the lives of people in the city.
Once Cole starts doing better, he decides to help the people in the city. After trying to get out of the quarantine area, he is asked by an FBI agent to find someone(random guy named John) and get the Ray Sphere, which is what exploded and  gave Cole his powers.

That’s pretty much it. You have to help people doing errands and stuff, find clues towards where the Ray Sphere is, find John and figure out what exactly happened. Overall the story is pretty interesting, though it does occasionally seem to just randomly go from one event to another without proper continuity. But most of the time the events make sense and the story is not too bad at all.  The characters aren’t overly likable, other than Cole, but they still carry the story along just fine.

Gameplay
As Cole, you are given a slew of electric-related powers. Lightning bolts, lightning grenades, lightning rockets, lightning ground pound of doom, lightning shield, lightning hovering powers, electricity drain, grinding on electric wires and train tracks, sensing residual energy, and other things like that. You have to use those to fight enemies, move around the city and achieve objectives.

For navigation, the most important aspect is the parkour element. The parkour element is pretty fluid. When you jump, if you’re close enough to an object you can hang on to, you will be attracted to it automatically and hang on to that object. From there you can jump off in any direction and get to whatever other place you want to go. This works really well… MOST of the time. Sometimes you’ll be chasing after someone or something and you’ll be jumping around and be latching onto things you don’t want to, or sometimes the game will forget to register that you’re supposed to latch on to something and you’ll just fall to the ground. But overall it’s not too hard to get where you want. The only problem is that you can climb on almost everything in the game… EXCEPT chain-link fences. HE can climb up buildings without trouble, but he can’t climb on a chain-link fence, which even I could climb on? This makes no sense.

The combat is fairly simple. You have projectile attacks, area of effect attacks and melee attacks. Most enemies are vulnerable to head shots, but still go down in a few normal hits. Some enemies have shields, some of normal machine guns, others have rocket launchers and grenades, some(called Conduits) have super-powers just like Cole (but they’re pretty weak anyways). There’s a nice variety of enemies, but most are dealt with the same way. Each battle is a bit different though, as the situations frequently change. Some times there’s turrets everywhere, sometimes there’s different kinds of enemies making the available strategies different. But overall it’s pretty fun to fight Reapers/Dustmen/First Sons.
Cole is a bit on the weak side though, as his health goes down really fast. You can get back health, as well as energy used to do certain attacks, like grenades, by draining electricity from surrounding electric-powered objects, and if there’s a downed enemy you can leech of their energy to fill yourself up.

Missions are the beef of the game. There’s story missions and side-missions. Story missions obviously advance the story. Side-missions give EXP and free areas in the city, making enemies less likely to attack you in those areas. Side-missions are pretty varied. Finding stuff hidden in the city, removing security devices, killing a bunch of enemies,  and various other things. There’s also some side-missions based around the whole “good/evil” aspect of the game. Doing one of those cancels out the opossite mission (so doing a good mission removes an evil mission). Story missions also have some variety. Some involve getting through enemy bases, or destroying planes and getting info from them, or fighting bosses… There’s more than enough variety there too.

The big element in the game that’s been talked about was the choice between good and evil. Well, I found that this element was over-hyped. There’s never a grey line between the choices, it’s always either good or evil. When you start the game, you have to decide whether you’ll be good or evil. Because being “neutral” is completely useless. You don’t get any “neutral” powers, and it just makes it impossible to upgrade your character beyond better defense and melee attacks. You need quite a dedication to the side you chose, because sometimes you get lower/higher karma for weird reasons. Once you get to Hero or infamous though, you can pretty much do what you want. Doing something evil as a Hero will lower your karma, of course, but healing a couple people will get you back on track within seconds.
Depending on your choice, you will get different powers… kinda. What you actually get is different effects for the same powers. It can be quite interesting. Good is better against single enemies, while Evil does more widespread attacks. So the choice does have an effect on gameplay.
Story-wise the choice is pretty pointless, by the way, other than a small scene at the end. Really, I just hoped to see more than just pure evil or pure good, and have different powers and story progression depending on all your overall actions instead of just a number of points given to either the good or evil side and the highest number of points decide if you’re good or not…. I do like that the look of the city changes depending on your karma though, that’s a nice touch.

The upgrade system is not too bad. Each time you rank up in the good or evil side, you get access to a new set of upgrades for most of your skills, and with the experience you get from missions and fights, you can buy those upgrades. Upgrades range from increased range to bigger area of effect to completely different things althogether. The normal lightning attack, on the good side, can be upgraded to increase your health and energy when you hit, for example.
The upgrade system isn’t overly deep, but at least it works. And if you somehow lose a rank, you also lose access to powers that require that rank. So it makes you stay on the path oyu took.

Glitches
There’s a big problem with the game though. It was NOT thoroughly tested. At all. It should’ve stayed in testing for another month or 2, just to find all the glitches and correct them. Here’s a few examples.

I’m climbing the prison. I get to a small part in the corner of the wall, and suddenly the camera starts turning on its own.
In one mission, I’m chasing after and enemy, and Cole just starts running in circles on his own out of nowhere.
After a certain “protect the police station” on Warren, there was a downed policeman. I go to heal him, since I was doing a Good run. Well, when he’s healed, all the other cops aroundd start shooting at him like he’s a bad guy. When he’s down, they stop shooting. If I heal him again, they shoot him again.
Police randomly starting to shoot at civilians is seemingly pretty common, even though they shouldn’t be doing that.
In one of the prison missions, I had 1 dustman left to kill, and but he was stuck behind chain-link fence and there was no way to hit him, no matter what I tried, so I had to suicide and start that part again.
I had times where I passed through buildings and got stuck in them.
Once I found a reaper and he was doing the “getting hit” animation, but he was stuck in that animation, despite me never attacking him.

There’s probably more. I heard of people falling through the ground, stuff like that. It’s a shame too. And the fact that it can be patched is not a good excuse. Not when the game is as glitchy as this one.

Overall
The gameplay is incredibly good, some of the most fun I’ve had on the PS3, and there’s enough variety to make it feel not TOO repetitive, and there’s some challenge to be had with some missions and battles. The story is interesting enough, and the good-evil thing adds some replay value.

This is a great game on the PS3, one of its best exclusives I’d say, and there’s little reason not to like it. At least give it a rent, but I say it’s well worth buying full price. The only thing making it a bit lame is the incredible amount of glitches, which SHOULDN’T be in such a well-made game.

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  1. Victor
    June 10th, 2009 at 09:23 | #1

    inFamous is so floaty. Something’s odd about just plain walking in that game.

    I like it but it seems a lot of people compare it to Crackdown. inFamous on the other hand has a good/evil spectrum of play whereas Crackdown just has… well superhuman gameplay. As for story, I’m not even sure there really was one in Crackdown.

    I’ll try to give this game a few more sittings. I wasn’t too compelled to play it again after last time and now that prototype is out… I don’t know when I’ll be back. ^^;

  2. Playstation3
    June 22nd, 2009 at 05:12 | #2

    The story of this game is quite interesting.I would like to play it.