inFAMOUS is a series of games from Sucker Punch, the minds of Sly Cooper, that you might have missed. The early days of the PS3 were not its best, and while inFAMOUS is a title that has come to define the rare PS3 exclusive game, not many have been able to experience this game during it’s days of glory. Both inFAMOUS 1 and 2 have been re-released in a collection this year for the people who missed out, and both games are worth the look, even now.
Story and Presentation – 7/10
Right away, inFAMOUS tries very hard to drag the player into the story. The game tells the story of Cole Macgrath, a bike courier at the center of a mass explosion in fictional Empire City, believed to be a terrorist attack. Cole miraculous survives the explosion, awakening in a crater of what used to be most of the city. The player is given control of Cole within moments of beginning as he tries to navigate the destruction, slowly discovering the odd effects this event has had on his body. Aside from the scars and bruises, Cole walks away with odd electrical-based abilities, for which the game focuses on. Cutscenes are told in a classic comic style, giving the feel of old Superhero stories. You guide Cole through the game as he develops his new-found superpowers, takes down those who also gained powers and use them for evil, and make important decisions that affect everything around him.
As it is a very story-driven game, I cannot spoil too much, but I will say that I wasn’t too impressed at first. I am a huge fan of Superheroes, and one of the hardest things for a story about superheroes to do is convince the reader that, yes, this story is legit. Backstories for example. Spider-man gets bitten by a radioactive spider to gain his powers. When you’re a kid, maybe you think “You know what, that’s pretty cool :3” but as you grow older, you start to lean more towards “…Really? A radioactive spider? Come on now.” inFamous has this very same problem. Cole gets blown up with a bomb, which you later find to really be a Ray Sphere, or a big… superpower generating… explosive device. And the longer you play, the more you start to feel that things weren’t very well thought out. You fight some street gangs, and then some… garbage mechas… and then telepathic old people… and it just starts to get weird the closer you get to the ending. That doesn’t make it a bad story, just… one that’s really hard to believe. Even still, I found myself enjoying the odd charm and allure of this game
Gameplay – 6/10
One of my biggest gripes is that the first inFAMOUS has a hard time making you feel…super. One of Cole’s superpowers is the ability to shoot lighting bolts. It’s a pretty cool power, and one the game almost feels centered around. Enemies are almost always on higher ground than you, forcing you to aim up and shoot your bolts. A lot. It takes a lot of bolts to kill an enemy, when really, it should only take one or two. I mean, you’re shooting lightning from your hands, but you’d be better off throwing rocks at the enemies until they gave up and ran away. The same is not true the other way around. Cole, while superpowered, is still very human. Bullets are Cole’s kryptonite; a few shots from an enemy rifle and you’re done. This is something you may expect from any other game. It’s realistic, bullets hurt. But it just doesn’t send the right message how easy it is for Cole to die, and how hard it is for him to kill enemies. I can take more shots in something like Halo or Call of Duty than I can in this game, and after the hundredth-or-so death because of it, you’ll start to feel the same way
Another problem I have with this game is the way Cole can traverse the remains of Empire City. inFAMOUS has been called “Prototype’s rival” on more than one occasion. They were released around the same time for different systems, and players of Prototype will tell you how easy it is for the main character to jump over buildings and fly across the sky. Cole cannot do these things, and if you think about the context of the story, you kinda get why. He shoots lightning, and that’s pretty much it. This is a sandbox title, and it’s a pretty big city. Cole can run, climb buildings, hover for a couple seconds to travel from building to building, and eventually ride on powerlines. Climbing takes longer than it should, the hover power is pretty weak, and the powerline ability, while it is pretty cool, doesn’t always take you in the direction you want to go, and you achieve it pretty late in the game. But the game handles well despite this, and the powers are nice, ranging from lightning bolts to grenades to shockwaves, even lightning rockets. But they all suffer from that feeling that you’re just not very powerful. A lightning shockwave could blow up a car in the distance, but do it on an enemy and it just knocks them on their feet.
Overall – 7/10
inFAMOUS is a fun game that’s hard to love, but once you look passed the flaws, you really start to see where the fun is. Graphics are okay for their time, though the faces some of the characters make when they speak are pretty hilarious. There’s not much music to the game, but there’s a lot of things going on in the background to make up for it. DLC is very few, but the Festival of Blood content is great, silly fun, and the free bonus powers are hard to pass up, including electric blades. Compare this game to it’s rival, Prototype, and you diminish what could be an entertaining experience for yourself. Let the game stand for itself and pick it up for cheap. If for no other reason, play this game just to get to the sequel, Infamous 2. That game is an entirely different beast.