Sequels are always the bane of designers; fans of their creations yearn for another slice of action and the money men want more cash in their pockets, it’s the same across the whole entertainment industry, with movies, books, games and comics being swamped down by them and the majority being a pale imitation of the original. Sucker Punch’s inFamous is great example of this, it was a smash hit and an important game for the PS3, so the sequel was inevitable. Thankfully with the sequel, Sucker Punch have blown away any fears of a sub-par rehash with a well executed and masterful action game.
After a brief cut scene explaining the first game the action really kicks off as you take control of a fully powered Cole McGrath as he is about to depart Empire City in search of new power to take out an incoming threat mentioned in the first game; but before you can set sail it’s all too late, The Beast has risen and is decimating Empire City right before your eyes. Taking to the challenge our superhuman in sneakers uses all of his powers to stop The Beast but as previously foreseen, even a fully charged Cole just does not have the power. This results in Cole and his team leaving Empire City for dust and making way to New Marais in search of a scientist who can help boost Cole’s powers and take on The Beast for a second round.
Cole’s new playground in inFamous 2 is based around New Marias, a loose copy of New Orleans and is the parkour powerhouses Mecca, perfectly created for the wall plants, grinds and roof jumps that Cole is so good at. Once a party haven, the city has been partly destroyed by floods and has since been taken over by an insane governor and his militia who are completely against the recent rise in superpowers and mutants and are extremely violent towards them. Cole’s main quest is to find and utilise 7 blast cores which are awkwardly spread throughout the city following an explosion and to combine them to use the RFI, the only weapon that has a chance of defeating The Beast. As the story progresses you will become even more powerful, all the while being updated on the Beasts destructive rampage as he makes his way down the east coast for the final showdown via a pop up news reports.
Aside from the main story there is a wealth of collecting and side missions, some, like the pigeon data drops offer more background to the story, blast shards embedded in walls across the city following the earlier explosion will increase powers whereas the side missions allow you to reclaim areas of New Marais from the militia, be it blowing up a smuggling ring on the coast to taking photos of militia kidnapping civilians. Completing the side missions is not essential but as you make more areas safe, the main story missions become slightly easier, especially in the later levels where the more hard-core goons will chase you to the bitter end. Scattered all around the city are also good and bad karma action spots, just like during the main story you can decide whether to go all holy and kiss a kitten or evil and drown it (please note there is no cat killing or snogging in the game). For the evil inclined you can pick fights with the local police, threaten buskers and steal random blast shards from citizens, or for the good natured amongst you there are muggers to stop or bombs to diffuse.
Cole’s moves are fully powered from the start of the game so you can command the battlefield relatively well from the off with blast bolts and grenades to throw around. To boost his melee attacks Cole now has a new weapon called The Amp created by Zeke which focuses Cole’s powers and can be pulled out with the square button and used to take out the odd baddie. This is also upgradable with finishers and more powers but is not ideal for large groups as more often than not you will get shot in the back. As well as the powers Cole had at the end of the first game he has plenty of new ones to try out including the kinetic pulse that allows you to pick cars up and throw at enemies, rockets, sticky grenades, blasts like the graviton that pins enemies in the air and bolts that allow for long range shots or the mean sounding magnum bolt. On top of all these are also more iconic powers like the tornado that rips through the environment, a barrage of lightning or an impressive inferno that scorches all that are close by. All of the moves are unlocked by story progression or by pulling off a set amount of stunts like blasting enemies off roofs or head shots from a distance. Depending on the choices you make will also unlock different power sets, be it ice powers for good karma or fire throwing for bad. As you progress and purchase more and more powers to use it can be hard at first to decide what to settle with depending on your play style but a quick menu allows you to switch the powers associated with each button in seconds and does not deter from the action.
Cole’s preferred method of travel is utilizing his parkour skills but there are occasions where you need to have pin point precision, like hitting a boost cable to launch you to a roof, get it right and you will fly up the wall in an electric explosion, miss and you plant your face right in the wall. Running and jumping around New Marais is mostly an enjoyable experience due to the well-designed city rooftops and power cables and tram lines to grind quickly around the city but there are times when you need to traverse larger distances and this can get problematic as although Cole can easily leap off rooftops, he tends to struggle when it comes to vaulting cars and plant pots.
A surprising inclusion to inFamous 2 is the User Generated Content (UGC), here user submitted missions appear on the map as green markers and can be opened like any other mission. From the pause menu you are able to filter content to your favorites and whilst they are fun to play and offer some real challenges there are no real in game benefits from playing the levels. If you think you can do better than what is available then you can create your own from scratch or via a handy template section allowing you to create specific missions like a parkour event or secure a NPC mode.
InFamous 2 is exactly what you would expect from a sequel, improving on every aspect of the original but sadly adding a few new niggles that could have been ironed out.
Rating: Excellent Review policy