Posted by Tim on June 28, 2009

Project Gamers InFAMOUS Review

Post Rating

Most people know the difference between something that is good, and something that is bad. People can recognize a good movie or book and distinguish it from a bad one. People can also identify characters within those movies/books as good or bad. What is easily recognizable from the moment you start inFamous is that this game certainly is good. In fact, it’s great. It combines the marvel and drama of comics, with shockingly entertaining game play. There are enough good things in the game to make you forget about the few bad things. And that is what the game is all about, good and evil. Morality encompasses everything about the game, from the decisions you make, to every character in the game. On top of that, this game is full of subtle mechanisms that allow for deep immersion into the story, and an increased satisfaction while playing. Sucker Punch has truly produced a well rounded and flat out awesome game to play.

The game lets you take control of Cole McGrath, a courier in Empire city, who finds himself taking the blame for an explosion that demolished half a district. However, Sucker Punch didn’t just throw you into the midst of that storm. When the game first starts up, a placid scene of the city appears, with sounds of kids playing and passers-by in the background. Then, with a simple press of a button, there is an explosion! The lights go out, and utter chaos ensues as hundreds of people scream and run. This is one of the subtle details that make the game great: you physically caused the explosion by pushing a button; it didn’t just happen. This gives you a sense of ownership for the explosion, and helps you connect with Cole. After the blast you try to escape from ground zero, during which Cole discovers that he has the power of electricity.

Several days go by, and you resume play standing on a roof owned by a friend named Zeke, a boisterous character whose edgy demeanor and careless attitude makes you wonder if he realizes the entire city is trapped in chaos. Zeke is one of the many conflicted characters you encounter in this game. From there you start your journey in understanding what happened that day of the blast, who exactly is to blame, and how you got these powers. You soon find out that the explosion was caused by a Ray-Sphere, and that you are not the only one with super powers. Yes, in any game with a super hero, there must be super villains, and in true comic book style this game has some interesting ones. But again, are these villains really ‘evil’? Sucker Punch doesn’t exactly draw a line in the sand, and by the end of this game you may very well be asking that same question. All these conflicts and interesting characters create a very intricate and well told story, but it is the game play where this game zaps you silly.

In true sand-box style, the entire city is yours to explore. You can scale any building, jump down and crush cars, or run around zapping/healing people to your heart’s content. There are side quests and blast shards to collect spread around the city for extra goals. And while most sand-box games have boring, repetitive missions, Sucker Punch did a good job of keeping them fresh. That’s not to say there isn’t some repetition, but you don’t mind it since it is reasonably spread out. Additionally there are a few boring missions that seem tedious, but there are also many that will leave you begging for more. What is even better is that most of the missions have morality choices in them, which changes the game up depending on how you choose to play, and provides motivation to play through more than once.

For it is moral conflict that resides in all facets of this game. From the missions to random tasks you encounter throughout the game, you certainly have many chances to be charitable or malicious. For example there are injured people lying all over the place that you can heal, drain the life out of, or trap to the ground. How you choose doesn’t really affect the story, just how people in the game react towards you. People will either applaud while just walking around, or throw stones at you, depending upon which path you chose. Additionally, people will actually run up to you randomly and ask for your help. This creates the feeling the city is truly alive, and that the people in it care how you treat them.

But this brings up the games first flaw. It seems there is only a benefit from being 100% good or 100% evil. You can’t get the best powers unless you are fully committed to one path. This limitation doesn’t allow you to choose exactly how you want to dish out mercy or punishment. However, there aren’t really any games out there that do allow this, so it’s a minor flaw at best.

Another flaw in the game is part of the story line. Without giving anything away, things happen later in the game that just seems too contrived. There is a twist ending, but it just feels like it was forced and Sucker Punch didn’t bother to iron out the wrinkles. But again, this flaw is only minor, and doesn’t at all take away from how freakin’ awesome it is to play the game.

The real fun of this game is the powers. While I was hoping for a bit more, almost every power you get is extremely useful, and some are just down right deadly. Your basic power is an electric blast that shoots from your hands. So in reality, this game feels more like a third person shooter, as you will find yourself blasting bad guys and citizens off from roof tops and in back alleys. Or if you want a more personal touch, you can get up close and beat the living snot out of anyone. On top of that, just hoping around from building to building is a ton of fun. It feels like you are Spider man who shoots out lightning instead of webs.

The further you get into the main missions, the more cool and powerful abilities you develop, until you’re at the point where you can destroy a city block in to time at all. You have a limit to how much power you have though, in a gauge marked with battery cores. The more blast shards you collect, the more battery cores you get, allowing you to dish out more electric destruction. However, if you run yourself dry, all you have to do is find an electricity source, and drain it to restore your electric powers. You truly feel like you are a walking electric generator.

What it comes down to, is that this game is well balanced and really capitalizes on the strengths of what it is: you have super powers and you live in a city where you can do just about anything. It has a very interesting story to keep you on the edge of your seat, while intricate enough to make you come back to fully understand its subtleties. It is thick with morality decisions, which will push the definition of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. The ending will leave you stunned. From top to bottom, this truly is a fantastic game, and a real thrill to play. While not perfect, inFamous delivers entertainment that is shockingly good, and one you’ll want to play over and over again.

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One Response to “Project Gamers InFAMOUS Review”

  1. John says:

    Fantastic Review!

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