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Jul 01 2018

Late Infamous 1 & 2 Review

A series that I’ve been wanting to play for a while having since played Infamous: First Light, which I thought was great for making the most of a gaming platform about having supernatural powers in a city setting. So before starting Second Son, I wanted to see where it all began with the PS3 originals, Infamous 1 & 2. I’ve decided to combine these reviews together as I played each iterative game straight after each other, and due to the two games having many similiar traits to each other.

Infamous

A courier, sent to deliver a package, is caught up in a plot killing tens of thousands, the blast originating from the package containing a mysterious artifact, unlocking mutated DNA strands within the courier protagonist Cole, giving you the powers to now harness electricity. With these newfound powers, will you use them for the purpose of good or for evil?

The start menu at the beginning of the game is a treat, displaying a lovely green, peaceful suburb, press the button to start a new game, and the world blows up and goes to shit within .2 of a second, with a mushroom cloud in the sky and a crater in the ground. If you really want to be a true hero, having now been forewarned, you would just turn the game off and not press that New Game option, saving the world from any catastrophe to begin with and the pain to come in later years from the future iterations in the series.

Left in the middle of the crater is Cole, dazed and confused on what has just occurred. Pushing forward on the joystick is the start of the tutorial, learning basic controls of jumping and exploring. As some point, Cole passes out from a lightning storm that makes him glow, cueing a cutscene of the next few days after, explaining how Cole discovers his powers amidst the support from his friend Zeke and girlfriend Trish. The character’s are certainly reminiscent of many other characters from games of the 2009 era, falling into certain personas alongside over-the-top emotional responses.

Having Zeke as your friend isn’t exactly your greatest asset, influencing you to bend the rules and use your powers for personal gain. During key moments in the game, there will be options in which you can either choose to be a good samaritan for the local civilians or to relish in the pain you’ll bring down on them. The first option consists of either sharing a food drop with people in desperate need in the area, or keeping it for yourself and friends, giving you enough supplies to keep going for a few months. Zeke’s all about looking after numero uno, but I wanted to have a 100% hero rating by the end of the game to earn a trophy. So if you’re looking to obtain all the trophies from the game, including the evil ones, you will have to play through the game twice. I’d be interested to find out how someone’s gameplay played out from a combination of evil and good choices, I feel that you would miss out on certain trophies, so whether the gameplay would still award the player would be interesting to find out. What I don’t appreciate about when it comes to playing the hero role, is having to deal with an assy girlfriend, Trish, who makes it a chore to make the right choice. Just because you inadvertently killed her sister from the blast, makes you the bad guy all of a sudden. Don’t need it, get rid, to quote Karl Pilkington.

Getting tired of being stuck on a government quarantined island, Cole and Zeke look to get off the island over the only bridge available to the main land, seeing as boats are out of the question with Cole discharging and receiving damage when in a body of water. The bridge is made up of military blockades, lined with trigger happy soldiers. Bypassing these defences, allows you to lead a group of stragglers also looking to escape the island. At the final blockade, a wall of machine guns mows down the stragglers, with Cole making a desperate escape through the nearest barred door. Conveniently enough it appears he’s fallen into a trap, which has been so carefully designed so that he can have an off-the-records chat with FBI agent, Moya , who want’s him to do her bidding on the island to find out the results of her undercover husband’s mission of infiltrating the First Sons, the group responsible for setting off the Ray Sphere that Cole was delivering. Your balls are in a vice until you uncover more of the plot.

Back on dry land, and it’s up to us to clear districts of enemies and monstrosities, completing side missions which aren’t exactly difficult, usually just clearing out a bunch of enemies, or scaling a building to remove some security cameras. The main campaign missions involve exploring the underground sewers and power lines, looking for a substation to charge from and gain a new power from. Once a substation has been activated, the area above ground comes back into life, with electricity restored to the grid for civilians and for Cole to charge from when in need of recharging his powers or gaining some health back. Along the way, you can become sidetracked with positive/negative karmic events such as healing pedestrians or draining the life force of incapacitated enemies. The reputation gained can go towards unlocking additional skills and upgrades for your powers. Positive skills will provide you with mostly healing abilities, whilst negative skills seem to provide more offensive and gory attacks. Experience points required to be spent to unlock skills are gained from missions and defeating enemies, with combos and special attacks providing bonus exp.

Bosses will pop up now and again, the best being some crazy bitch infatuated with Cole, who will rise out of sewage water and attack with tentacles. There are 3 different regions in the game that you gradually unlock, with enemies increasing in difficulty, health and size the further into the game you get. Combat consists of basic melee attack, with powers used to shoot small bolts of electricity, sticky grenades, shock waves and powerful ionic storms once charged up. The game wasn’t too bad on hard difficulty, though you never have the option to sneak up on enemies even with their backs to you, they just have the foresight to know you’re coming and will open fire on you from over 50m away.

 

Whilst exploring Empire City, Cole being into his parkour, is able to scale up buildings in a blink, using his powers to glide across the streets to the next roof top. At some point, you gain the ability to grind on electrical and rail lines, fast travelling around the city, whilst charging your power bar at the same time. It makes for a few interesting areas where the electrical lines run around in large circles, allowing you to grind around a mission, shooting down at enemies whilst healing up, not requiring any cover. There are plenty of collectables to find spread across the map, including blast shards that are used to increase the health bar.

Cole’s powers inhibit him from being able to do certain things that us mortals are used to, with his powers interfering with objects. It means that Cole can’t drive vehicles, use guns as a weapon and go into large bodies of water. He is though allowed to stand in small puddles of water, in which if anyone else is standing in, will shock them to death, which is all fun and forgettable until you run through a puddle and lose a load of karma for killing a load of civilians.

The ending I felt was a bit out of the blue, not what I was expecting and feel that there might actually be a few flaws to the logic of it, but I’m not going to go into that and spoil it for anyone. It just feels like one of those inevitable plots that most super hero comics at some point have all explored previously. My only other gripe about the game was that there was some anonymous fella hacking into the news networks, with him popping up on screen with his propaganda and crap. Got annoying fast with his whinging voice.

Graphics are ok. Still fairly hold up.

Overall, it was an OK game. As usual, I’m sure it was more of a hit back in the day, and it atleast explains about how the Infamous Universe came into being. I wouldn’t necessarily say though that it was required to be played to play Second Sons, with its improved gameplay and graphics, but if you’ve got some free time and an old PS3 kicking around, then one to try out. It was reminiscent at times of Arkham City, which helped keep my interest in the game at times of  when it dragged. Now onto reviewing Infamous 2.

 

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Infamous 2

Having been a few months since when the last game left off, Cole has been in training, ready for the one that is coming for him as visioned in the ending of Infamous. The game resumes on the outskirts of Empire City, as Cole, Zeke and NSA agent Kuo are boarding a boat to head to New Marais in search of the doctor who created the Ray Sphere, now in possession of an even stronger version which would bestow Cole with enough power to defeat the antagonist, the Beast. Before the boat is able to set off, the Beast conjures from nowhere and attacks Empire City.

Cole jumps straight into battle, and with a brief recap of the controls, uses his strongest of attacks against the Beast, but barely makes a dent, who counters Cole, knocking him out and leaving him for dead in the sea. Cole comes to a few days later on the boat, having been rescued by Zeke and Kuo, leaving Empire City to the carnage of the Beast, becoming absolutely desolated, millions dying in the onslaught. It’s now a race against time to get to New Marais along the coast of America whilst they track the progress of the Beast marching in the same direction as it leaves behind a trial of destruction.

Having had a few weeks to recover, Cole not yet quite at full strength, is put into action to clear out an enemy barricade blocking the ship pulling into New Marais. Having learnt that New Marais is in disarray due to the introduction of conduits, humans with new found powers, and monsters roaming the streets, a militia task force is in place to keep order in the city and to put away anyone showing signs of powers, led by a fella called Bertrand. The fight against the Beast only became more difficult having to now juggle the local law and order.

New Marais is a complete contrast to Empire City, with a lively city centre, surrounded by marshland and manor houses around the edge, giving rise to creatures from the deep. Graphics have been slightly refined, the world looking slightly more realistic at 720p, less comic book/cartoony and with character models being completely changed up, including an entire recast for the voice actor of Cole.

Cole now has a more substantial melee attack, making use of some metal prongs that Zeke made up for you, which swing as a baseball bat with a 10,000 volt charge on the end of it. Having placed a few light attacks on an enemy, you charge up an attack bar that allows you to then unleash a finishing blow on anyone standing too close. Again, powers can be unlocked essentially by using experience alongside your positive/negate karma, which again makes a return to influence your decision-making. Skills have since been refined, and you can now choose between a number of skills per button on the fly, depending on what the situation calls for.

You will at some point come across a new conduit, Nix, a lass who was witnessed her parents sacrificed for conduit creation, and seeks revenge on Bertrand. With the help of Nix, you seek out Kuo who has been kidnapped by the Militia, only to find that she’s being held prisoner in a chamber, transferring her unawakened ice conduit powers to a south african militia army, that’s being held in stasis underground. With Nix and Kuo at your side, you will come across a device that will allow one the companions to share their power with you. Nix being considered the more evil option due to the carnage her power can reap, and Kuo being the heroic skill as the ice allows you to create ice columns to rise from the ground as well as freeze enemies. The new powers transferred to Cole expands his arsenal and mixes up the gameplay, rather than being an entire clone of the first game.

On the back of heroic and evil karma, the choices you made in the first game will come to reward you in the second, with some additional side missions and responses from npcs. As long as your still playing on the same profile used in the original inFamous, the game will read the trophies you have unlocked previously, which isn’t a bad system of doing things as some users I’m sure will have lost their original save data between the two years of release at the time and something that we saw was an issue with Dragon Age Inquisition that had to establish the Dragon Keep to keep track of decisions made by players over three games on a number of consoles.

 

Side missions again consist of clearing out enemies, rescuing hostages, picking up packages etc. There are now also user submitted side missions that you can download and play alongside creating your own. Other than experience and trophies to be gained, these missions can vary in quality, so by all means I would recommend to go by rating, but eventually I just turned them off after completing a few. I did try my hand at creating a mission, and it’s nice to see a backdoor to the engine provided in-game, opening up many hours of additional gameplay and tinkering for some users.

The difficulty in the game has definitely been ramped up, too often being overwhelmed and swamped from all sides, becoming nothing more than a bullet sponge. Bolts are terrible to aim with in the middle of a gun fight, with aim being out of whack whilst your moving to evade and chase, bolts being slow to travel across once shot and enemies then moving around as they do out of cover, you’re just spamming bolts, hoping that one will hit. Another part about the attacks that I wasn’t a fan of was that the blast from your own attacks could hurt you, considering it’s only an electrical blast that Cole should be resistant to, doing more damage to Cole than to the enemy it was intended for.

At some point in the game there was a mission that involved not using any powers to avoid detection. It was nice to go back to grassroots and not have to rely on going in guns blazing, spamming the same attack and being overpowered at times.

Exploration is finally rewarded, in which you can unlock an ability to view all blast cores to be picked up in the local vicinity, something that was missing in the first one. This allows you to be in absolute top form for the final showdown.

The final boss fight was easy once fully upgraded, no weak points to target, just going to town using your explosive rocket attack non-stop. The ending of the game was better than the first game, maybe as the story upto this point had felt it had been better explained through the game, and with us now being familiar with the setting whilst still getting used to what’s going on in the first game. The plot twists made some sense and the ending does raise some mysteries, which all the more makes me want to play Second Son to see how things progress, considering I can’t no longer remember much of First Light.

In both games, I’ve liked the ability to walk away as a hero, knowing I saved the day and didn’t entertain the idea of being evil, all quite simply at the push of a button, but probably only because the trophies had my hands tied behind my back. I would struggle to play through both games again to see how the evil options played out, only because there are massive parts where the game drags, and there’s still Second Son to get through yet. I can see how at the time these games were applauded. If you really wanted additional gameplay in the world of New Marais, then there is a standalone expansion called Festival of Blood, which is a non-canon spinoff of Cole becoming a vampire, ie Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare.

 

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