Alright. So, you’ve traversed the ruins of Empire City as Cole Macgrath once before. You know all about his electrical powers, whether blue lightning or red, the odd events that gave them to him, and the giant “wtf” waiting for you at the end of the first inFAMOUS game. Kessler warns you of “The Beast”, and leaves you on your own to wander the city with your almighty powers. What do you do next? Pop open inFAMOUS 2’s case and throw it in your PS3 as soon as possible. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for since you bought the inFAMOUS collection.
Story and Presentation 8/10
New to the story? No big deal. The game lets you in on some of the stuff you missed via it’s attractive, comic book-style cutscenes. Maybe you beat the first game, and you’re making a reluctant return to the series. Well, you get to import your save file from inFAMOUS 1 and proceed with the story using all of your decisions and your fancy-colored lightning, along with some pretty cool bonuses. You once more take control of Cole Macgrath, the lightning-based superhero of conflicting personalities, as he sails away from Empire City in search of a way to improve his powers, all in an effort to defeat The Beast. He sails with Zeke, the comedic relief best friend, and Agent Kuo, a new character with connections to Kessler, and the lead scientist behind the Ray Sphere, Doctor Wolfe. Just as Cole and Zeke get comfortable and prepare for their trip to fictional New Marais, tremors rip the ground apart, and a portal appears in the center of Empire City. From this portal, awakens The Beast, a big, red, naked man-creature who starts to destroy the city with an unknown purpose, just as Kessler had warned you. Cole, equipped with all of his awesome powers from the first game, immediately jumps in the rescue, and you begin the game with a boss fight. Cole throws everything he has at The Beast, but eventually realizes it just isn’t enough. The Beast grabs hold of Cole and begins to drain his powers, so Cole unleashes the epic lightning strike you waited all game for the first time around. All goes black, and Cole is forced to retreat, and leave Empire City to ruins.
This time around, things are handled much, much better. Cole has a new voice actor, which at first can deter fans of the original, but the new Cole is a much more believable, lively, and relatable character. The new cast of characters, including several more with new and interesting powers, is a fresh change of pace from the first game. Cole’s goal is much more linear: get stronger via absorbing the power of Blast Cores, objects originating from the Ray Sphere, and defeat The Beast before he decimates the country.
inFAMOUS 2 is, in every bit of the word, a sequel. The game embraces it’s projectile-based combat, and improves it ten-fold. Many aspects return from the original, such as climbing, hovering, and rail-surfing, but none of it goes without enhancement. Suddenly, Cole is more agile and can run and climb much faster than before. The city is designed in a way almost as if Cole was meant to hover and surf his way around wherever he desired. Your lightning-bolt attack is stronger, and you even get some new powers to play with. New bullets for your lightning bolt, new methods of projectile. Hell, even the non-existent melee combat returns, and has somehow transformed into something enjoyable. Cole wields a weapon dubbed the “Amp”, a device similar to a sword that he can charge with his electricity and mercilessly beat on enemies with flashy combos and kill strikes.
The Karma system makes a return as well, judging Cole as a “Hero” or “Antihero” based on how he solves problems, how he takes enemies down, and the decisions he makes along the story. Your Karma, just as it did in the first game, affects the ending of the game and the color of your lightning. This time around, it also determines how Cole levels up, and what powers become available to him. Take the Hero route, for example, and Cole’s lightning bolt takes the shape of a machine-gun. Fast and repetitive, but do minimal damage on their own. Go down a darker road, and they become more like cannon balls. Slow, but really powerful. You are also introduced to special attacks, which are mainly used to clear a street or take down a wave of enemies at a time. In the first game, Cole only really had the one, the epic lightning strike, and you could only use it late in the game. This time, you get your choice of several, equally satisfying, destructive moves for Cole to wreck things with.
Overall, it’s inFAMOUS. It feels exactly like a sequel should: everything we loved about the original, with vast improvements on everything we didn’t love, without losing focus of the big picture. You are still the big superhero everyone in town looks up to. You still hold the fate of the world in your hand. It is still a game that adapts to the way you want to play it. It’s a fun run from start to finish, and it’s even worth doing it over again just to let your bad side out and test out all the powers you didn’t get to use on your first play through.
Overall – 8/10
The designers of this game took a shot with the first inFAMOUS and they almost missed, but they learned what they needed to fix, and this time they nailed it. One of the only things keeping this game from being perfect is it’s dishonesty. You make decisions in the game, whether good or evil, and you feel as though they are important. They have an effect on you, they have an effect on the characters, and seem to have an effect on the story, but they really don’t. This game’s story had so much potential. It dove into areas that many have yet to go, and it could’ve gone so much further. But you could be a giant douche throughout the entire game, get up to the final boss of the final mission and make that crucial decision to become a Hero. And it suddenly feels as though nothing you did really mattered. Nothing in the story changes, than if you were to be a Hero the whole way through. This is my only complaint, and it is a minor one, even though it hurt the experience from being as great as it could’ve been. It doesn’t change that inFAMOUS 2 is indeed a great experience, a must-play for any PS3 owner with the extra money.