Infamous, the idea of being an average Joe who is suddenly endowed with super powers, is a concept that intrigued this reviewer when the game was announced over 3 years ago. Being in development that long by Sucker Punch Studios gamers have been eagerly anticipating this game. But did Infamous live up to its’ three and a half years of hype? It most certainly did and I may even go as far to say that it exceeded expectations. To begin let’s discuss the overall story, don’t worry there will be no spoilers here. The story centers around Cole, a delivery courier who while delivering a mysterious package is caught in the center of a devastating explosion that sweeps across the whole city called Empire City, where the game takes place. The explosion sets up the rest of the game, not only has the blast given Cole electrical based super powers but it also completely destroyed most of the city. And because of the blast, the government has decided to quarantine Empire City stating that a deadly plague has been sweeping across the city. This is the basic premise, a firm one and the rest of the story keeps the player enthralled from beginning to end, delivering great plot twists and offering some great characters as well.
Second, the overall presentation also adds to the games experience. Empire City feels like its’ own character; it is constantly bustling with people just trying to continue a normal life after the blast making the city really feel alive. There are three islands in the game each with its own set of story missions and side missions which add to the free roam element in the game. The game advances after each story mission is complete and each side mission is complete. The side mission aren’t just there for free roam fun either, each time a mission is complete a little part of that island becomes crime free and after the entire island is freed then the player can feel free to continue the story, but don’t worry Sucker Punch made this very player friendly, they already have the side mission set in such a way that if you complete them all in one shot the island can be freed in no time. Sucker Punch also did a great job with putting detail into the city; every aspect of the city looks incredibly realistic for a video game, the player feels like they’re watching a movie played out in front of you. The cut scenes are also very interesting as well; there are the in-game cut scenes that are extremely fluid and smooth and the in-game movies. Here they added a comic book effect to the CG scenes to further the comic book super hero aspect to the game. The voice work also gets an A+, the gamer can tell that the actors really believed in these characters and really took the time to develop them to create a believable performance; this aids the gamer in becoming immersed in the story as well.
Next game play is always the core in any game and Infamous really makes the game experience fresh and entreating. The controls and power usage are very player friendly and the completely destructible environments help feed your destructive side while playing the game. The powers are varied and unique which gives the gamer the freedom to experiment and make their own combos and fighting styles. As you would expect the more varied the combos the more experience points the player earns for upgrading but Infamous makes upgrading a very easy process and with some clever spending and saving, the player can have Cole completely upgraded by the time you reach the final island which is very useful since each island has different enemy types who become much more difficult to face as the game advances. Transportation in the game works in multiple ways, the player can either climb from building to building in a more fluid and player friendly style than Assassin’s Creed or, after unlocking the power of course, can use electrical lines or the train tracks to “surf” across the city.
A key plot device in the game was for the player to make a choice, will you be a beacon of hope for the citizens of Empire or will you use your powers for evil. Throughout the game the player encounters “Karma Moments” where you choose to perform a good deed or a bad deed and depending on which way you go different powers become available to you giving the game a high level of replayability. The character model also changes depending which path you choose as well and the game experience changes to fit the evil side or good side as well.
In conclusion, Infamous can appeal to both the hardcore and causal gamer that is hungry for a great action experience while following a very well written story and player friendly game play. So to Sucker Punch Studios, a toast to a job very well done, my final rating 5 stars out of 5 so if you own a Sony Playstation 3 I’d highly recommend this title.