Superhero games are universally known for being mediocre. Each subsequent title averaging an average score, but inFamous aims to change it all. Not only is it the best superhero game to date, but is one of the best games of the year thus far. With a beautifully rendered open world, and a slew of electrifying powers (pun intended), inFamous shapes up to be a considerable contender for game of the year.
In a world gone to hell you play as Cole, who can be Empire City’s (or what’s left of it) savior or destroyer. This moral dilemma isn’t anything new, but Sucker Punch did a wonderful job implementing the many choices you must face, and how those actually do affect the storyline. Every moral choice you make influences how other characters perceive you, and even how the city looks. The diversity between good and evil also encourages a second playthrough, and anyone who is as hooked on trophies as much as I am, will inevitably spend hours collecting blast shards and healing fallen pedestrians. No doubt inFamous will consume close to 40+ hours of your life.
At its core, inFamous is a shooter, and while you do have plenty of melee moves at your disposal, they become increasingly obsolete as you progress through the game. It even comes to a point where engaging in hand-to-hand combat with an enemy is suicidal at best. The electric shooting technique however is carried out well, and with a “shoot-anywhere” method, it doesn’t matter whether you’re riding the rails (literally) or scaling a skyscraper, you can utilize your powers regardless. If worst comes to worst you can always rely on your lighting spewing arms, or send in a trusty lighting storm to take out the larger foes. It’s always important to know where available cover is also, because the extremely accurate AI will be unforgiving if you aren’t careful. That being said, the AI is smart, perhaps too smart for their own good. They know where cover is, they shoot with astounding precision, and they are certainly a challenge when faced in large numbers. The only real question is why these hulking brutes sound as though they are in urgent need of a powerful laxative.
The story of Cole and his newly formed powers is conveyed through stylized motion graphics. It’s a contrast to most other games which utilize pre-rendered movies instead, and these scenes often belittle the in-game graphics, so it’s nice to see someone addressing this in a creative and appealing way. In all honesty, these cutscenes are absolutely amazing, and it’s hard not to be disappointed that there weren’t more of them to feast our beady eyes upon, the story seems to be compacted when it could’ve been more fleshed out. On a more important note, the story itself was an utter disappointment in itself, being both farfetched and unrelentingly clichéd. Though it sported some rather interesting characters, its climactic battle was sorely inadequate. On a much brighter side however, this is only a small blemish on what could otherwise be considered a perfect game.
To describe inFamous as visually appealing is a gross understatement, particularly if you consider that the game is set in a massive open world which spews quality. Every building, every poly, and every texture has received top-notch treatment to ensure the utmost detail. Slick animations will also offer up some extra eye-candy. However, when climbing, Cole seems stiff and all around jumpy. Sucker Punch could learn a thing or two from Assassin’s Creed in this respect, apart from that though, it’s difficult to criticize. Destruction is implemented in small doses, while such things as chimneys or phone booths have a dazzling destructive nature; the rest of the environment is static. While there is nothing at all wrong with this, I would’ve liked to see more groundbreaking damage than featured.
Beyond environment and beyond destruction is the all powerful electricity. To this day I have yet to witness a more awe-inspiring sight than that of inFamous and its incredible real-time lightning; especially when it comes to my all favorite Black lightning (for the incredibly evil folks only). I would have a blast simply recharging my drained battery cores, every chance I had to shock anything, or anyone I wouldn’t hesitate, it was honestly the most fun I’ve had in a game since LittleBigPlanet. If you’re still finding it hard to see a reason to buy this over its alternative Prototype, look no further than its remarkable and diverse powers system, I guarantee you won’t be let down.
Despite the lack of Multiplayer or even a sensible story, inFamous does everything it sets out to do, and achieves it with flying colors. Both graphically astounding and incredibly fun, it would be disillusioning to own a Playstation 3 and not have this rightfully placed at the top of your collection. Apart from a few other 2009 hard hitters like Killzone 2 and Resident Evil 5, there hasn’t been a better use for your wallet than to buy this game.