Cole McGrath was an everyday run of the mill messenger. That was until he awoke one day after delivering a package which set off in his possession. This resulted in destroying a good chunk of Empire City around him. When he comes to, the city is in ruin, quarantined and over run by lawless gangs. Cole has mysteriously gained superhuman powers as a result of the explosion. Granted these new powers, the question is will Cole use them for good or for evil? The choice is entirely up to you. Sony’s latest offering puts you in control and the fate of the people of Empire City now rest in your hands.
The plot behind InFamous is almost clique and reads like any stock standard super hero comic book. Hero wakes up from an explosion, which gives him superhuman powers allowing him to shoot electricity from his fingertips and possess superhuman strength. It is with these powers that our lead character must use, to find those responsible for detonating the bomb and bring them to justice. From early on in the story, Cole meets up with Moya an FBI agent who is also trying to get to the bottom of this explosion. She enlists Cole to help her in finding her husband who is also an agent, but has been missing and who may also hold vital information relating to these episodes of events. The story is intriguing and well written and I’d recommend it to all those playing through it, to pay close attention to the comic book style dialogue in the cut-scenes. Working in tandem with Moya and your pesky side-kick Zeke, be prepared for plenty of drama and twists as the story unfolds.
The story in this open world game though is not just about seeking revenge and finding the perpetrators; you actually have control in how it pans out. You pick and choose the path to take during your missions and depending on your decision, this will reflect on how your Karma meter is indicating. Be a saint and help the people of Empire City by healing the wounded and restraining enemies and your Karma readings will be on the blue end of the scale. The citizens will cheer you on and get right behind you. But if you flip the switch and be a bad ass by unleashing hell and killing the citizens, your Karma readings will be towards the red end of the scale. Doing this will also turn the citizens of Empire City against you and they will throw objects and attempt to take you down. Cole’s super powers are also decided on your Karma readings. Good Cole will have more finesse and control over his powers whilst an evil Cole is more mass destructive. These powers become available to you as you gain XP upon completing missions. To unleash Cole’s full potential powers, you must decide to follow the good path all the way, or be an all out villain.
The game play in InFamous is straight forward and easy to pick up, with a mini introductory tutorial at the beginning of the game. My first impression of the game play was that it had elements of the Grand Theft Auto series mixed in with Prince of Persia. Then add to that the super hero element of say X-Men or a Marvel Alliance. The tight and responsive controls allow Cole to automatically grab onto whatever is set out in front of him, be it windows, pipes or any other fixtures on the buildings. The platforming element is very similar to that of Prince of Persia. Cole will leap seamlessly from building to building, jump down from great heights, grind across power lines and railway tracks, and make his way up and down objects and buildings with the ease of Spiderman. Later in the game he’ll also have the ability to hover above objects and use that to glide across greater distances.
The combat system in InFamous begins with the basic punch, jump and shoot lighting out of fingertips combination. The face buttons are used for the punching, jumping and cover, whilst holding the L1 button puts the player in an above the shoulder third person aiming mode and R1 is used to unleash the bolts of lightning from Cole’s fingertips. As you dig deeper into the game, Cole’s power and abilities increase. With this you will be able to perform other special moves such as throw grenades and rockets, use telekinetic force and create force fields, precision like sniper shots and the ability to harness a lightning strike from the heavens above. This is similar to calling for aerial support in Call of Duty 4. Cole can also utilise these abilities whilst hanging off ledges or from behind cover.
The game play in InFamous is fundamentally a combination of platforming and combat. The added feature of the Karma meter and a good assortment of varied missions make this blend of game play a thoroughly addictive and enjoyable experience. Side missions can also be undertaken and provide some respite from the intense main missions. These pale in comparison to the main missions but they still provide good value and also forces your character to choose between taking the good or evil path at various junctures in the mission. Selecting the good one will make the evil path unavailable and vice versa, so your character can’t be neutral throughout the game. The Karma meter really does bring a whole new dynamic to the game play and one that I believe makes this game what it is.
Visually this game does not keep up with the incredible game play. Empire City is done very nicely though and as you explore the city; you really do get a sense that the place has been rocked in the aftermath of that massive explosion from the beginning of the story. The developers have done a great job in bringing these raucous and chaotic scenes to life. The streets of Empire City are full of sick and dying people, high crime wave and ruined buildings and landmarks. Cole’s character is done well if not spectacular but the movement and animation is top notch. The comic book style cut-scenes in between missions are great and kind of make the character models look somewhat dull in comparison. The enemies don’t quite have the same polish as Cole does either and the three boss battles are visually uninspiring. Texture popping does occur in some instances as you glide your way through the cityscape. The frame rate does drop when there’s a lot of activity on screen at once which is a little disappointing but overall the graphics are good enough for what it’s worth.
Audio is well executed with good voice acting and the narration by Cole during the cut-scenes is befitting of any super hero slash villain. Actually the narration by Cole is more in line with Solid Snake off Metal Gear Solid. He has that distinctive deep, dark husky voice which is synonymous to a Batman Dark Knight or even Wolverine. Brilliant soundtrack, coupled with outstanding sound effects and the ambience generated from the streets of Empire City really does bring it all to life. Cole’s lightning powers that jolt through his enemies and victims alike, have some serious zap behind them. Overall the sound effects are solid, as explosions, crashes, and other sounds that go 'boom' all sound terrific.
Value wise, InFamous is well worth every cent of your hard earned cash. This is another fantastic Sony exclusive title following the likes of Metal Gear Solid 4, Little Big Planet and Drake’s Fortune to name a few. InFamous plays exceptionally well, and is a lot of fun to boot. With three maps of Empire City to conquer, it’s a massive game world that you can explore and interact with extensively. The loading times are barely noticeable and the game seems to process smoothly with minimal issues. There are also three difficulty settings to choose from and character development is involving and quite compelling to say the least. My only complaint about this game is that there is next to no online content. I can just imagine how much fun this game would have been if there was an online element to it. To be honest this is a little bit of a let down, however it does not take too much away from this outstanding title.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play out your childhood fantasy as a super hero? What if you were a disturbed and destructive child? Then you’d fit the villainous role with glee. All this is possible with InFamous and this is what makes the game so intriguing and so much damn fun! You will have unbridled pleasure in exploring the streets of Empire City with your new found super powers. The story is well paced and it really does seem to continually improve as you unravel deeper into the plot. New abilities become available to your character as you gain XP and missions become a lot more enthralling with more twists and turns than an episode of Dancing with the Stars. This is a fairly lengthy campaign and there is replay value in that once you complete the game as a hero or villain, then it makes you want to play out the other role accordingly. Infamous is a breathtaking and incredibly fun open world game which is very difficult to put down. The combination of outstanding game play and combat showcases a very thought provoking and morality driven medium, upon which you as the player have total freedom in deciding. This latest offering by Sony is most definitely worthy of inclusion in your collection. Fly out and get your hands on a copy of this immediately.
AAG Score: 9.5/10
1. The concept of having a Karma meter to determine how good or how evil you are and its impact on the game is quite refreshing.
2. Comic book style presentation and cut scenes with narrative are done exceptionally well.
3. Game play is easy to pick up with great combat and platforming elements, add to it the awesome power ups.
4. Engrossing story with lot of different mission types.
5. Navigating and exploring Empire City is a lot of fun.
1. Graphics could have been better and there are numerous glitches.
2. No online content.
Reviewed and Written By Yuto Hayasaka