Ride The Lightning
What makes a superhero? Is it the desire to do the right thing no matter the cost? Is it the superpowers? Is it sheer tenacity and willpower? As a long time comic book fan, I know the answer can be skewed depending on the hero and origin storyline, and sometimes their current situation. I also have to admit, in recent years, the lines between hero and vigilante have blurred immensely in the eyes of readers and video game players. A lot has been done to define the moral compass of heroes, but then there are games like inFAMOUS, daring to challenge the very core of what is good versus what is necessary. inFAMOUS 2 goes this extra step to make it even harder to play only one side of the hero/villain coin.
Cole McGrath returns as the main character, however players will notice the different voice over work, and the game begins with a mission from the end of the original title. The mission – defeat the Beast. With nothing to go on, Cole and his best friend Zeke meet up with Lucy Kuo. She claims to know how to help Cole with his mission with the help of her friend, Dr. Sebastian Wolfe. Eager to find a way to stop the impending Beast, they set out for New Marais, but before they head out something appears in Empire City. What happens in the opening moments of the game is something so significantly defining you must experience it yourself to grasp the depth in which Sucker Punch has constructed Cole as the character he is through your actions.
Once the world of inFAMOUS 2 opens up for players to explore, they will realize three things. The powers Cole had at the end of iNFAMOUS have carried over in one capacity or another. Controls are the same as before. Sucker Punch has once again given players a gaming world with plenty of side missions and collectibles to keep them busy parkouring for several hours. In addition to powers from the previous title, players will be able to choose whether or not they bring their save files over to the second game. While it may not provide as much depth as BioWare has with the Mass Effect titles thus far, just having a character not depowered, replaced, or something equally lame to “challenge veteran players,” is rewarding. For this simple act, I have to commend Sucker Punch for not treating gamers like invalids.
Even though you won’t start the game as a weakling doesn’t mean you won’t be exploring ways to make yourself stronger. In the beginning of the game, it appears that you are just expanding upon your electricity abilities. After all, Cole is the electric man so why wouldn’t you? However, as you progress you will be unlocking new power elements altogether. For example, you can unlock ice, and with this new power you will be able to do a multitude of things in the same way you can with electricity. With the new karma specific abilities, where ice is for good karma and fire is for bad, Sucker Punch has given players an additional reason to play through the game on the opposite side of karma.
While in the first title the karma choices didn’t seem to affect the overall game, other than a few different powers and a change in electrical color, inFAMOUS 2 has brought a little more diversity in the way the game plays out. Ultimately, you will reach the same point, and you will find yourself encountering a similar situation, but in more than one instance the direction you take changes the way you experience the rest of the game. The power differences are the biggest example of this.
Just because inFAMOUS 2 delivers a continuing experience without doing the usual retread doesn’t mean it is without its faults. This biggest is the melee system. While it is still as simplistic as the original title, it seems like there is a lot of lost potential. Instead of truly utilizing the Amp weapon as an electricity conductor, it is more of two-pronged stick for beating enemies senseless. While you can do cinematic takedowns with a separate button press, it never goes that extra step to show you why Zeke and Cole thought he should have a weapon to channel his powers through. Even though a lot of players may not use the melee often, it is still something that seems to have carried over from the original title. The same can also be said with how some of the climbing mechanics function in the world. You can easily mark this one off as an experience enhancer, but the simple fact is that at times you will find yourself clamoring to get up a building with visible climbing spots and you are unable to climb, and then in other instances you move up the various climbable areas without effort. While I found this frustrating, it happens so infrequently it doesn’t truly detract from the overall experience.
Graphically speaking, inFAMOUS 2 branches away from the original to bring a sharper and more focused experience, with the impressive New Marais. Mimicking the Deep South of the United States, players can easily see how they can compare New Marais with New Orleans. The level of detail masterfully laid into the game continues to create this fantastical Universe for Cole to be the hero or villain. Speaking of Cole, many found the initial redesign to be an atrocity, and the finished product is a blend of the original design and new design. In fact, Cole’s new look makes him look much younger than he did in the original title, and may potentially rub the fans of the series the wrong way. Couple this with his new voice and it may spark a nerd-rage on every forum.
Let me make this perfectly clear; I do not mind Cole’s new voice. I do, however, know it is an extreme difference from the original and can detract if you have recently played inFAMOUS. Cole’s new voice also supports the idea that Cole is being portrayed younger this time around. These obvious standouts do not harm the voice acting done in the game. The story is never painful to listen to, and after a short time, you may find yourself caring more about this story and characters than you did in the first. Couple this with a great soundtrack of epic super heroic proportions, and you have a truly amazing audio experience in gaming.
It can be hard at times to live up to the hype fans create for a game’s sequel. Too often, I have seen excellent games fail miserably going into their second installment. No matter the reason, the second entry in a game determines the overall future of a franchise. Thankfully, inFAMOUS 2 delivers. Sucker Punch uses an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality to deliver a truly electrifying sequel that dares anyone not to become a fan.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.4 Graphics
inFAMOUS 2 manages to surpass the original in several areas on screen. Most notable this time around is Cole’s appearance. 4.2 Control
With amazing new powers to utilize and an impressive few new additions to the melee system, inFAMOUS 2 is this year’s action adventure game to play. 4.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Despite Cole’s new voice, the delivery by the voice actors is on par with the original title. Add the fantastic soundtrack to complete a nice package. 4.6 Play Value
Much like the original title, inFAMOUS 2 delivers solid open world gameplay, numerous collectibles, and a story that must be played twice. 4.6 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid
|2.5 – 2.9 = Average
|3.5 – 3.9 = Good
|4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor
|3.0 – 3.4 = Fair
|4.0 – 4.4 = Great
|5.0 = The Best