infamous_boxart
Sucker Punch, developers of the Sly Cooper series, is back again to bring us an all new open-world super-hero game. After years of wait inFAMOUS is finally here, but is this the super-hero game we’ve all been waiting for or should this hero hang up his cape?

When you start inFAMOUS you wake up in the shoes of Cole. He just isn’t having the best of days. First the package he’s transporting explodes and kills thousands of people, a plague has stricken the city, the government has quarantined the city, gangs have taken over the place, and not to mention you have super powers. Ok, maybe that last part isn’t so bad. It your job to decide how you want the outcome of the game to play. Do you work to become the city’s savior, or do become Infamous?

inFAMOUS is your typical open-world game where you have a huge world to explore, collect hidden items, play side-missions, and fight for territory. Sucker Punch blocked off areas in a unique way. Instead of having it all blocked off those areas are out of power. Without power Cole is weaker, the screen blurs a little, and most importantly with no power you have no way of recharging your energy. Every once in a while you’ll get a mission to go deep into these powerless areas to go into the sewers to restore all the power. Each time you do this you acquire a new power from shock grenades, an electrical shield, or the ability to rain lightning from above. There are 16 in all. inFAMOUS has a similar button layout of your typical 3rd-person shooter with L1 for aiming and R1 for your basic shock attack. The face buttons are used for your various instruments of electrical death when L1 is pressed.

Cole is an urban explorer, so that means he knows his way around the city and is skilled at parkour. Cole can climb pretty much anything you see and does it with such a grace and his animations are beautifully done. My only grip is that when you want to jump down Cole will attempt to grab onto anything he sees which can be a little annoying sometimes. Now you see, Cole has electricity running through his body. So if he got into a car it would explode. This means he has to get everywhere the old-fashioned way of walking. When you first start out it feels like you’ll be taking forever to get around, but once you acquire the ability to grind on rails/wires and glide you find that you’re getting everywhere pretty quick and more importantly, it’s fun.

inFAMOUS has few issues. Every once in a while you might experience some pop-ins or have cars appear out of nowhere. I’ve even seen cars with no drivers but that happened maybe 2 or 3 times. The framerate also drops when the action on-screen starts to get hectic. It doesn’t drop to an unstable rate, but it is worth noting.

The instant you start playing inFAMOUS you will be confronted with choices on how you want to play. Do you go the Hero route and save the city, or become Infamous and destroy it? Your actions are tracked on a six-part morality gauge on the top left of the screen, and every action determines which direction it will go from big story events to even helping a person. The are big differences between each karma path. Good Cole will have a cleaner look and have blue lightning. A bad Cole will have a pale face, filthy coat, and red lightning. The biggest change is in the city. If you’re a Hero civilians will wave and take pictures of you, they’ll put up posters, and even throw rocks at enemies. The sky will also shine a bright blue and be clear. Although if you take the Infamous path the city itself will be dirtier, civilains will throw rocks at you and look dirty, posters against you will be put up. The weather will also take a darker look with an intimidating red sky.

The game has 3 areas to explore with it’s own gang. The Neon district is populated by the Reapers, hooded machine-gun weilding enemies. The Warren is home to the Dust Men; homeless men in armor made from spare parts. The final district is the Historic and is where the First Sons make their domain. These are gas mask wearing enemies that will not hesitate to show you how fast they can take you down. Each gang has it’s basic grunt and a rocket wielding unit. They each also have a unique special enemy called a Conduit. The Reaper Conduit is clad is white and can teleport while firing waves of energy at you, the Dust Men Conduit and turn into a giant junk machine and fire balls of flaming garbage at you and fire a chain gun type attack, and the First Sons Conduit morphs into a giant energy being.

The graphics in inFAMOUS are brilliant. Cole looks great and each of the enemy models are interesting to look at. The real part I love is the comic-book style cutscenes. These are remarkably drawn and I must say are probably better than an actual cutscene for this comic book inspired game. It’s almost saddening that when you see the in-game cutscenes it pales in comparison to the comic cutscenes. Seeing the characters wave their arms around talking and doing a quick change in pose just doesn’t look natural.

There are tons of things to do in the game even after you’ve finished. There are 84 districts to take over from the 3 gangs. Each district has a side-mission that ranges from racing to rooftops to drain satellites, destroying surveillance devices on buildings, to protecting an informant from enemies. There are also 15 karma specific missions that you can do. Each time you complete one it will lock out the opposite mission. For example one Hero-Karma side mission involves protecting a group of people who are supporting you by marching, the Infamous-Karma version of this would be to stop people from protesting about you.

There are also 350 blast shards and 32 dead drops hidden throughout the world. Now I’m not a big fan of having to find hidden items in open-world games (200 pigeons? No thank you.), but these are worth acquiring. The dead drops are audio recordings made from a character John who is an inside informant who infiltrated The First Sons. These provide additional information to the plot. The blast shards when collected give XP and also give more energy when enough are collected. Probably the best part about collecting these are that they aren’t hidden at all. A simple click of L3 will show a “sonar” type effect on your mini-map in the direction of any dead drops that are nearby, and any blue spots that appear on your mini-map when L3 is clicked are blast shards.

There are also 21 stunts to perform in the game. When you press start it will show you one of the stunts with an explanation on how to perform it along with how many you’ve done out of 21. I’d recommend doing as many of these in the Neon district before you liberate the entire Neon area since some of the stunts are downright impossible on later stages(good luck finding 3 guys on a roof that will die from a high-fall for your “Have a Nice Fall” stunt). One thing that would have been nice would be a statistics page that showed you which stunts you have and haven’t done.

The Final Word
inFAMOUS shows how a super-hero game should be done. It’s an exciting game from start to finish with tons of things to do in a city that feels alive. With tons of collectibles, territories to take over, and replaying the campaign with different karma inFAMOUS will keep you playing for a long time. With only the pop-ins and framerate my only complaints it should be noted that they are minor. This is a must have for any PS3 owner.
Monstervine Rating- Excellent