Gaming Today Impressions: A Look into InFamous
InFamous is an action packed trip into a familiar genre with an interesting twist. You start out as Cole McGrath, a poor schmuck who has a mysterious delivery package blow up in his face, leaving him with burgeoning electrical based powers and everyone else in a six block radius with a slight case of death. You emerge from your baptism by fire, crawl out of the blast zone and run for your life guided by your buddy Zeke as the police force hunts you down.
Once you reach the relative safety of your roof top penthouse, the game truly begins throwing you into a grand conspiracy masterminded by a clandestine mystical organization. As you unravel the mystery, you can either fight your reputation as the bringer of the apocalypse or revel in the new coolness that is you and start building your own evil empire.
When it came time to choose our destinies I took the path of light and goodness and Shawn turned to the dark side to compare both story options. Those who take the high road are destined to become a man of the people, starting by protecting them from the Reaper Gang under the control of your psycho ex-girl friend. Your powers manifest in brilliant blue arcs of electricity that you’ll learn to use to subdue your enemies, and then bolt them to the ground with an effect similar to Spiderman and his webbing. You also turn into a portable CPR machine and earn good karma for healing injured citizens.
If you go for the cookies, your evil powers manifest in wicked red lightning. Killing gang members and citizen when they’re down gives you a boost to your bad karma and you can freely suck the life energy out of everyone. as you fall deep in depravity Cole begins to look like the evil overlord you aspire to be.
There is no middle road in this game. In the end you are going to be good or evil. However swinging between them isn’t as easy as say Fallout 3 where you can go slaughter innocents wholesale and then repair your rep by giving the old man pure drinking water. You’ll nickel and dime your way to hero or antihero status. You get big karma boosts to your rep either way at key points in the story, and you build up points little by little throughout play as you complete side quests. Evil players can still heal and good guys can play the psychic vampire occasionally but it will go against your karma rating. All players can recharge at any power box or items such as street lights or cars, so if your playing the straight man keep the use the life sapping only for emergency. The ultimate good or ultimate evil powers unlock at extreme levels of karma, so pick your path and go full out from the beginning.
Players can follow the main storyline, but it’s to your advantage to take on side quests to gain shards that give you an extra power reserve. Shards of the ray sphere that gave you your powers are embedded in odd places throughout the city and as side quest rewards. As your karmic reputation grows some of these quests will be locked out so doing them early is good.
If collecting and exploring every corner of the map isn’t your thing, you’ll still have to do this because shards are the only way of increasing your power reserve. You’ll be looking for secret satellite messages anyway so grabbing shards as you go pays off quickly. The camera is surprisingly cooperative working with you for the most part and your mini radar will thoughtfully tell you when you’re close to either one of these items as well as pointing out bad guys and power sources.
You are meant to be leaping from the roof tops and sliding across the city heights on power lines. Coming down to earth is usually only necessary to receive or turn in quests. Falling from extreme heights and landing with your fist to the concrete scattering you enemies in your wake like the Thunder God himself is one of your cooler powers. Just make sure you don’t land in water or you’re in for extreme shock treatment.
InFamous has four levels of difficulty with enough wiggle room to make both the complete novice and the hardcore gamer happy. There is some puzzle solving involved in gameplay, and at some points you’ll have to shoot rusted metal to clear your path or access important items. This is definitely not the focus of the game so you shouldn’t find these riddles too challenging. Unfortunately it’s one of the middle of the road decisions made by Sucker Punch and Sony that will ultimately make very few gamers happy. Tomb raiders will crave more dangerous and intricate puzzles and players who like to run towards the danger will be annoyed that they were included at all.
Still, InFamous is overall a very satisfying game with much to offer gamers with different play styles.The storyline is solid and involving. It’s graphically beautiful making the best of the PS3 capabilities and the soundtrack and effects blend in with gameplay enhancing your experience rather than irritating you to death or breaking your concentration. Usually multiplayer games are the best buys because of re-playability. In this case, exploration and side quests give you the option to add hours of gameplay and of course you’ll have to play through it twice to see both ends as well. I would definitely recommend Infamous as a title to purchase for your collection.