Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Games Thirst Review: Infamous 2

Infamous is still one of my most favorite games this generation. It offers me the chance to play as a superhero in a fully open world. The story was pretty good, but the graphics could use some touching up, but other than that, the game is great. This is why I have been so excited for the release of Infamous 2. It has a great foundation to work with, and can truly be one of the best games out there. But, did it live up to these lofty expectations?

What Quenched My Thirst

I have been trying to think of one word that can sum up my experience with Infamous 2, but I do not think there is just one word that will do it justice. If I have to pick one though, it would be fun. This is a simple concept since games are suppose to be fun, but as of late, I have felt a lack of true fun in games.  This is what drew me in so fast with Infamous 2. From the beginning, I felt like I was a real superhero that could not die. This is one of the best aspects about the game, and something that has made this game one of my favorites.

What makes it fun? It is easy to say that the game is fun, but just saying that leaves too many questions. I have mentioned the aspect of feeling truly like a badass and doing what you want, but there is so much more to this game. To begin with, the gameplay is fantastic. Infamous gave some solid gameplay with some great powers, and Sucker Punch decided to go with the motto of “don’t fix what isn’t broken” and just add more aspects to the combat system.

There are many more upgrades this time around. You can unlock many different bolts to use as your primary weapon. Each bolt has its own ups and downs, but they are all valuable when in a fight. The upgrades continue with grenades and rockets. There are a few different grenade types, but you will find that the sticky grenade is the most helpful throughout the game. There are also upgrades to other weapons such as shields and kinetic pulse, but the best upgrades help you move throughout the city more easily.

As an open world game, it is important to be able to move through the city with ease. In the first Infamous, moving through the city was pretty smooth, but climbing buildings sometimes became frustrating. They remedied this by adding new upgrades to your character and new objects around the city to use. The first big object they added, which makes climbing faster, are these electrified poles you can find on the sides of some of the buildings. They work like the power lines you can grind on, but instead of grinding on them, they shoot you up to the top of the buildings. It makes climbing tall buildings much faster.

The other thing that helps is some of the upgrades to Cole. There are two in particular that I find helpful. The first is a power you get for playing with good karma, and that is the ice jump. The ice jump creates a mound of ice below you that springs you high into the air. The next upgrade is the lighting tether. The tether allows you to aim and throw an electric tether (which is pretty much a grappling hook) on to buildings and pull yourself to the buildings. It makes moving around a million times faster.

Along with improving on many of the gameplay aspects from the first game, Sucker Punch did a major over hall of the graphics engine. The first game had okay graphics, but could use a lot of polishing, and that is what they did for Infamous 2. The graphics are crisp and clean. The character detail is much better, and they made vast improvements with character animations. In the first Infamous, the only character that had decent animations during cut scenes or when accepting side quest was Cole. All of the other characters were stiff and moved very strangely, but that is all fixed now. Each character actually moves smoothly and they move like they are actual people.

The new city (New Marias) looks beautiful as well. The bright colorful lights shining from the different buildings at night really give a since life to the city.  It is really amazing to see how much better the graphics are compared to the previous game. The game is really a technical masterpiece. It gives great gameplay with plenty of explosions, and amazing graphics without losing any of its graphical fidelity in an open world game. Many explosions and actions can be going on at one time, and I rarely every experienced frame rate drop (when I say rarely, I mean that I think it only happened once or twice). It is an amazing accomplishment for an open world game.

Sucker Punch has also been able to deliver a pretty engaging and fun story that builds off of the first game. Though, in a way, it is a little predictable, it will keep you engaged throughout with great boss battles and a few twist. They also did a great job at integrating and building on the karma system from the first game. The game will end with two totally different endings, depending on which side of karma you choose. You also get karma specific upgrades, which is a plus if you want to play the game through a second time (which you will because you will want to find out what the different karma missions are like).

What Left A Bitter Taste

Not everything in Infamous is great. I am a little disappointed with the size of New Marias. Infamous had three large cities that I felt like I found somewhere new each time I played, but Infamous feels much smaller. It left me a little disappointed because I lost that since of exploration. There are some other problems with New Marais.

Though the city is beautiful, it can feel a little vacant at times, especially Flood Town (which makes since because it is fully flooded), but when you open the other half of both New Marais and Flood Town, there are a lot less people walking around that you can interact with, and it can feel like you are the only person there.

There is also a small issue with the enemy variety. I am on the fence about this because there is not much of an enemy variety, but at the same time, I never really got tired of killing the same enemies because they were much different from each other. So when I think about it more, I do not see it as being much of a negative, but it might bother other people.

The voice acting in the game can feel a little weak at times. The best performance in the game is the character Zeke, but other than him, they can get a little annoying (especially Nix). I also really miss the old Cole’s look and voice. The new look is okay, but I feel as if they are trying to make him look and sound younger and cooler, but it just does not work that well for me.

The final issue I have with the game are some small bugs I found. I did not encounter anything that is game breaking, but these little issues can be annoying. The bug I ran into the most was Cole sinking into the map. It would not cause you to fall through the map and die, and you will not get stuck, but rather sink into the ground.  There were also some times where I was just walk through the railing on the sides of buildings, and this becomes annoying when trying to fight people on a building and you just keep falling off. There are some other small bugs, but these are the bugs that bothered me the most.

Water Scale

Infamous 2 offers a really fun experience that will keep you engaged for hours. It took me about 20 hours to complete the game, and I have not even finished every side missions yet. The game warrants a second play through just to experience the other karma missions you did not experience the first time through.  If you liked the first game, then you will love this one, but if you were on the fence with the first, I am not sure Infamous 2 will change your mind (because the gameplay mechanics are pretty much the same only a little refined), but it is worth trying out.

9.0/10

About Joshua Tompkins

  • nick

    surprised to see almost all the bugs and niggles people had with the first game are still here.
    you would think they would of been the first things to go!
    SP tried to change this too much, they kept saying we did not want this to feel like infamous 1.5 and i think because of that they felt they had to change everything hence coles new voice and looks.

  • ExclusivesMostly

    i will purchase this game soon, really enjoyed the demo.

  • nick

    gotta finish DNF first.
    my god, i have never played a game that infuriates me as much as it!
    so disappointed by this, i knew it was never going to live up to expectations, but i at least thought it would be well polished.
    its almost as freaking buggy as freaking fallout!
    the physics system is stuffed, if i had a nickle for every time i went to melee something and went flying across the room id be a multimillionaire by now!
    oh gearbox how could you let this out in the broken state it is?
    duke deserves so much better then this!

  • Sole Survivor

    Good read. I’ll buy this. Was going to anyway…

  • http://www.gamesthirst.com Ernice Gilbert

    Very good review. Like Mostly said, it’s a must buy around these parts too.

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