|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sucker Punch||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 26, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The Karma Meter in inFAMOUS is a gauge of your good or evil tendencies. Throughout the game, multiple Karmic Moments will present themselves, which will put you on a path toward good or evil depending upon the decisions you make in key circumstances. In all there are three tiers of good and evil; you can become a Guardian, Champion, Hero, Thug, Outlaw, or Infamous, respectively. Upon achieving each successive tier, you will become more powerful, as the choicest abilities will become available for purchase.
The path of good will lead to a heroic character marked by blue powers and cheering crowds of citizens. Becoming evil will make you grotesque in appearance, causing the citizenry to despise you, even going so far as to hurl rocks and insults at you. Whichever path you take, the story will begin to mold itself around your decisions. This dual-storyline presentation makes inFAMOUS a game you're going to want to play at least twice.
As interesting and enjoyable power-leveling and the Karma system may seem, I was a little put off by its implementation. For example, in order to gain access to the truly bitchin' powers, you'll have to get to either the Hero or Infamous Karma rating. That means there is absolutely no room for a middle of the road playthrough. This forces you to handle tough situations in a rather standard way - you'll either have to take care of your foes with hamstrung tactics, or you'll have to be a soulless bastard. What's more, most abilities are unlocked quite quickly. While this means you'll become powerful early on, it also means there isn't a lot of reward for improving your character. I suppose it is nice to see your abilities become more powerful and take on increased effects, but more often than not the differences seem more mathematical than substantive.
Also, I feel the game suffers a bit from a lack of identity. This mostly concerns combat. Though this title is billed as an action title, it strays precariously close to that of a shooter. While I love the shooter genre, I'm sure not everyone who'll buy this game does. Players should know that while Cole will never pick up a conventional weapon, much of his combat prowess is accentuated by powers that act strikingly similar to guns and grenades. On the upside, mixing in Thunder Drops (electrified ground-pounds) and Shockwaves (a force push of pure energy) keeps things fresh and action-packed.
The visuals in inFAMOUS are awesome. The three districts presented are entirely distinct and full of life. I really enjoyed all the hilarious signs in the Neon District: "Mid-Life Cycles - Light up the Darkness," and "That Smell Is our Deli." The level of detail put into the environments is staggering considering just how grand the scale is. Additionally, Cole's powers animate beautifully - the particle effects are particularly sweet. Likewise, storyboard, comic book cutscenes are interspersed throughout the game, providing a nice contrast to the flowing in-engine visuals. Missing the mark, however, are the conversation animations; the lip-syncing is poor and the hand gestures look painfully artificial. The same goes for the voice acting. Cole's voice is a clichéd amalgam of every low-budget, gruff hero you've ever heard, and many of the supporting NPCs such as Zeke, Moya, and Trish don't seem to fit. Graciously, the varied and content-specific background music helps immerse the player.
Regardless of the few nitpicky critiques I've made, inFAMOUS is a great effort. The five people I played this game with, including myself, all had a wonderful time. We spent hours passing the controller back and forth, giggling, and asserting our virtual dominance. And that's what this game is all about: having a ton of fun. The extremely user-friendly controls, deep open-world, loads of missions, and outrageous powers combine to make this one of the best titles to hit the PS3 to date.
CCC Editor / News Director