Continuing the story of Cole McGrath, inFamous 2 brings the city of New Orle- – sorry, New Marais – to life with phenomenal art design and some really fun platforming and combat. The storyline gets expanded, almost needlessly so in my opinion, as well. Unfortuantely, a few small problems can cause headaches for you as you work to try and defeat The Beast.
With a nod to the end of the first game, Cole starts this one with a nice set of abilities, and you can add to those by unlocking new ones. The unlock system is based upon how you defeat enemies or by performing certain actions, which encourages you to experiment in combat and explore your environment.
This means you can’t rely on the same three or four moves all the time if you want to unlock more powerful attacks. Of them all, the Ionic Vortex, a street-clearing tornado, is one of my favorites. Being able to correctly line it up so that it takes out an entire enemy force at once makes me smile.
The combat is fun, but occasionally unbalanced, with the random horde of enemies sometimes hitting you in just the right sequence to keep you from fighting back or escaping, which is very frustrating. This is usually when I resorted to button-mashing in an attempt to gain a little breathing space.
Luckily, the melee combat in inFamous 2 is greatly improved from the first game, so you do have a (pardon the pun) fighting chance! Unfortunately, the camera positioning can cause a lot of problems, if you’re meleeing, so be forewarned.
There are a ton of missions, side-quests and hidden items for you to collect. One of the coolest items is the ability to connect your game to the online world, and play side-missions that other players have created, or even create your own and upload it for others to play. Several of the player-created missions I tried were obviously simplistic first attempts, but some of them had a startling degree of planning and polish to them.
I look forward to playing more, as the community begins to harness the power of the creation system (much like the community created levels in Little Big Planet and storylines in City of Heroes). The player-created missions are clearly marked on the screen, to differentiate them from other side-quests, so you can easily avoid them if you wish.
The morality system in inFamous 2, unfortunately, doesn’t doesn’t have the same polish as the UGC (user generated content) component. I didn’t feel like there was much of a difference between the two, other than Cole’s powers shifting to blue (good) or red (evil). The biggest difference is, similar to the first game, how the surrounding civilians react to your presence.
You do get the opportunity to team up on occasion with other conduits (people with similar-style powers) whose powers are fire-based or ice-based. You’ll also get the chance, at one point, to make a morality choice to absorb some of those powers, based upon your actions. However, they don’t add much to the game, and so you can really play however you’d like.
I do admit, though, that some morality missions are hilarious (I mean, really, who HASN’T wanted to take out one of those street performers painted up in gold glitter and posing like statues? … Or is that just me? )
There are two extremely different endings, based upon your actions, which is pretty much the only deciding factor for me, as I played, so I knew which ending I was going to be getting (and then replayed it again, later, so I could see the other ending).
All in all, if you’re looking for a solid action platformer with some great combat, and don’t mind a negligible morality system or the occasionally troublesome camera, give inFamous 2 a shot. You’ll be pleased, I think.