Graphics:
8.8
Gameplay:
8.6
Sound:
8.4
Control:
8.3
Replay Value:
8.9
Overall Rating:
8.6
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
SCE
Developer:
Sucker Punch
Number Of Players:
1
Genre:
Action


inFamous is one of my favorite games of the generation. That addictive combination of superhero power and open-world freedom proved to be a wildly enjoyable experience. Cole is back in the sequel and despite a few drawbacks, inFamous 2 is yet another well designed, highly entertaining romp through the enemy-infested New Marais. The Beast is lumbering ever closer and our industrious hero must obtain all his new powers before facing that world-ending behemoth and once again, you can choose how you go about it: do you care about civilians or not? Is this about saving them or turning yourself into an unstoppable machine? Either way, although I’m not a fan of this new stunt system, the game is lengthy and yes, once again, it’s oddly addicting. That controller gets a workout.

Graphically, it’s a definite step up from its predecessor. There’s just more detail and slightly sharper imagery throughout, and I appreciated the more diverse enemy design and sweet animations. Normally, we typically find little – and often comical – issues that come along with free-roaming adventures; the game structure lends itself to certain technical hurdles. It’s why pop-in and collision detection can sometimes be a problem. But Sucker Punch handles the challenge quite well and for the most part, inFamous 2 remains technically sound throughout. Mind you, it isn’t entirely free of such hitches but on the whole, it succeeds nicely in the visual realm. More color, more intricate detail, more fluidity, etc.

The sound is similar to that of the first title, with sharp, distinct sound effects that will often cause your speakers to rumble, cool ambient sounds in the city, and solid overall balance. Regarding the latter, though, I did sense some balancing issues between the music and speech during particular cut-scenes, although it isn’t a major flaw. As for the dialogue, well… That’s going to be very subjective, as I believe fans of the original won’t like Cole’s new voice, which to me sounds just too “punk-ish.” Still, if we view the performances as objectively as possible, they’re pretty darn good, and the aforementioned soundtrack almost always fits the action and atmosphere. It plays an appropriately large role in significant encounters, too. I like that.

Now, I’ve heard through the grapevine that some critics and gamers have accused inFamous 2 of “playing too much like the original.” This is a little pet peeve of mine so let me tackle this first. Look, I’m all for progression, innovation, originality, and advancement. But I’m also of the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it school,” as well as the still more logical, “a sequel kinda should play like the original” mindset. This is inFamous . Do you want to be able to drive cars around and turn it into GTA? Do you want Cole to tote guns around? I’m sorry, but the complaint that it plays like the first game makes zero sense to me, and here I’ll quote Arnold-

“So if there’s one hot chick with big tits and another hot chick with big tits, the second one is worse somehow?”

My point exactly. So that should solidify the fact that Cole moves and acts much like he did in the last game, although some might believe he actually zips around faster. Despite the speed, the control remains excellent with one significant caveat: he’s still too “sticky.” In other words, he attaches himself to certain objects too easily; i.e., you don’t have to be very close for him to start climbing or something, and that can get frustrating. This was an issue before and I was a little sorry to see that Sucker Punch hadn’t fixed it. Furthermore, with the addition of the up-close-and-personal amp, the camera can really be a problem in tight quarters. Personally, I also found the amp to be just a tad difficult to control in regards to targeting enemies; I would often nail civilians by accident.

While we’re on the subject of some iffy mechanics and movement, I’ll also mention – in addition to Cole’s “stickiness” – some excessive “hopping” that will take place due to some mediocre collision detection when running about. Therefore, I find inFamous 2 a little more challenging to play (and not in a good way), which is why I can’t in good conscience award an elite 9+ score. However, all that being said, the good greatly outweighs the bad and none of those hindrances can stop this game from being oodles of fun. Taking down enemies with your diverse and appealing powers never gets old and exploring the sprawling city of New Marais is a constantly invigorating adventure; it's just ceaselessly entertaining.

This time around, we can learn and directly equip a variety of different skills and abilities. By simply holding down left on the d-pad, the game will pause (yes!) and let us select a new skill; for instance, if you want to change from the standard Alpha Blast to the long-range Artillery Blast or the nifty Pincer Shot. You also start with more abilities this time around, including the incredibly useful hover, which you didn’t get for a while in 2009’s quest. Plus, if you have a completed save from inFamous , make sure to select the option to “Continue the story” when you start this new game, ‘cuz you’ll get some sweet bonuses. Gotta love that.

Running around, climbing, sliding on electrical wires, gliding through the air, zapping enemies, and in general, being a total bad-ass is just plain awesome. There are plenty of side-quests and you can once again opt to be Heroic or Infamous, although there are some definite issues with the morality system. It seems a little erratic at times (you’ll know what I mean when you reach certain decision-making points) and the story feels disjointed. But I actually like this plot more than the first, as the first always felt too vague; there was always this mystery that you could never quite understand, and that bugged me. This time around, the situation is pretty simple- power up before The Beast destroys everything.

Some will disagree, but the bottom line is that this is all about the gameplay and the story and characters just take a backseat. We also have the benefit of UGC (User Generated Content), which – if you’re connected to the PSN – will pop up on your map when playing. They’ll be denoted by green exclamation points (regular side-quests will be yellow) and you can sample original missions from both the Sucker Punch guys and other gamers. Frankly, the ones I played really weren’t very good; I’m sorry, but there’s a reason designers are designers. A few were pretty cool but they’re really only there for the sake of variety, as they don’t affect your Karma and only award scanty experience.

It’s the chaotic frenzy of the exploration and combat that cements inFamous 2 as a no-holds-barred winner. I don’t like the idea of having to perform certain stunts – i.e., get 10 headshots to unlock this ability – to gain access to my skills, regardless of experience, but it sort of makes sense from a story standpoint. The control and camera can be iffy, the Karma system is a little erratic, and the Amp isn’t perfect. But the overall package is just a huge blast; it’s always fun to play, the added skills and enemy types (especially bosses) infuse this adventure with a lot more flavor, the city is wonderfully designed, the adventure is lengthy and rewarding, and the game continually draws you in, over and over.

You just can’t stop playing. We should’ve had the old Cole’s voice but you know, the style and attitude of inFamous 2 remains unbelievably captivating. And that’s what matters most.

The Good: Upgraded visuals. Decent voice performances. Fast-paced, addictive gameplay. Great new skills. Combat has been expanded and is more fulfilling. Lengthy quest. More overall variety throughout.

The Bad: Some iffy camera movements and control. Erratic Karma system. Small pacing issues. UGC feels like more of a gimmick.

The Ugly: Seriously, Cole’s voice…wtf.

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MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
10 years ago

I knew I wouldn't like Coles voice from the trailers.

Glad to hear we start off with a good amount of powers. I hate it when games make you start over as if he forgot powers or something.

Was watching the Mechanic last night. If they make an Infamous movie, they *have* to make Jason Statham be Cole. He looks like him, and his voice would be perfect.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
10 years ago

So what was the reason that the original voice didn't come back?

Can they possibly fix the "sticky" issue, and gripes with the amp with an update, or are we stuck with them?

Got game today at Best Buy, and *finally* got Killzone 3 with that great $30 off deal. Can't wait to get my game on!


Last edited by MyWorstNightmar on 6/7/2011 9:36:51 PM

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

It all should be patchable, but it could be almost gamebreaking to change the stickiness. Reducing the sensitivity could have all sorts of detrimental effects on the game as a whole. The melee in the original was never great, and I think the only way to improve on it would be a lock-on ability, which wouldn't be bad, but again, could cause issues. Dunno.

Also, good deal!

sirbob6
sirbob6
10 years ago

I think they had to change the voice actor because of the motion capture for the cut scenes. The old actor wasn't working with the model or something along those lines.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

The voice does kind of fit with the Cole redesign and he does a fine acting job so I'm not too upset.

Zorigo
Zorigo
10 years ago

@World, its true, I agree with some complaints that its not the original cole, who i too much prefer, but this one is solid, veery solid, so you can't fault him. Its just he's not old cole.

Zorigo
Zorigo
10 years ago

@World, its true, I agree with some complaints that its not the original cole, who i too much prefer, but this one is solid, veery solid, so you can't fault him. Its just he's not old cole.

jimmyhandsome
jimmyhandsome
10 years ago

Great review, Ben. I agree with most of it so far. I've spent just about my whole day playing it, and so far I love it. Traveling around the city just just plain fun, and I love the increased speed.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

A very fair review, and I love Arnold's quote, but I do have an issue with it: I'm not into big tits :P, no seriously…

Anyway, the issues that you mentioned with the game are easily overlooked from what I've experienced in the past, and I just really can't wait to get my hands on this bad boy.
Peace.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
10 years ago

Ha, well the description of BIG for tits, can be subjective. To me, a C cup is big, but that might be small to a man used to Double D's… ;0)

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

No Lara Croft for You!

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

That's why I'm liking the new Lara.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

She's still packing a set of D's, they just don't stick straight out anymore.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

Yeah, well… some things are unavoidable. And I prefer the Uncharted girls anyway.

packersfan66
packersfan66
10 years ago

Chloe FTW!

kevinater321
kevinater321
10 years ago

Elena ftw!

556pineapple
556pineapple
10 years ago

Great review. I'm playing through the first one now thanks to the Welcome Back program, and I'm really enjoying it so far, even though I'm not that far into it. I'll be sure to pick this one up as well, as soon as I can afford to.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

Ben, which did you like better? The 1st or the 2nd?

I got mine in the mail today. Amazon release day shipping ftw. I got all excited ripping opening the packaging, smelling the new plastic scent, just like in grade school, when I couldn't wait all day just to get back home. And I still have yet to crack the plastic.

So the sequel, like the first, has been raking in less than stellar scores. No sweat. The first was my favorite open world game (yes, even beating out R* gems, primarily due to pacing as Ben mentioned in a previous article), and since the 2nd is an improvement in just about every way, I'm thinking I'm gonna love it at least as much.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

The inside of the messenger bag smells GREAT.

Shams
Shams
10 years ago

If you're aim was to make me jealous, well, you succeeded.

But wow, release day patches ftl. Jk. No sweat off my brow. It's a heavy one, though, weighing in at 107MB. I'm wondering what's it for?

tes37
tes37
10 years ago

It's the additional content that was promised because of the downtime on inFamous 2 beta.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

I think I liked the first a little better, just because it felt more technically sound.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I think 2 is more technically sound, no frame rate hiccups, a more stable attachment to the environment.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

The first was fresher, now we're in a sequel, we're not really experiencing the same reactions to the new powers Cole gets. In the first game it was about discovering the new powers and discovering the game's mechanics, along with the different areas to work in.

With a sequel, the discovery has already been done to a large extent, so it's important that the story be deeper and more involved than the first because otherwise it can feel a little empty thanks to the lack of 'new' to discover.

tes37
tes37
10 years ago

I think you only get one shot at continuing the story, because I didn't choose that. After moving my save files to +storage, deleting them from my drive and starting a new file, the option to continue never came back up when I restarted the game. I guess once you earn a trophy it's too late. Oh well, I'm having a blast regardless.

I'm not digging the voice either, although it seems like it gets a little deeper sound after the introduction.

I liked Arnold's analogy.


Last edited by tes37 on 6/7/2011 10:02:19 PM

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
10 years ago

If you choose to start a new game versus continuing a game, does the opening sequence change? What is the benefit of continuing a saved game? Anything other than keeping your bad karma status from the first game?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

You start with extra health and experience and stuff.

tes37
tes37
10 years ago

I would have to be able to try both ways to answer that, but it wouldn't let me. Sorry, I don't know if the beginning sequence changes or not.

I am liking that sling pack, although I haven't sniffed mine like World did, LOL, the Sly Cooper logo on it was a surprise. I couldn't tell from the pictures on the web that it was there.

MyWorstNightmar
MyWorstNightmar
10 years ago

Hmmmmm, now wondering exactly how many more minutes until Tes sniffs said bag?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

haha, well when I broke open the box that new game smell filled the room, same with the game case, so while I was doing a review of the extra content for Titan Reviews I inspected the bag thoroughly and even sniffed the sucker. Didn't mention that in my review though, most of my weirdness is reserved for PSXE.

tes37
tes37
10 years ago

I still haven't done it yet. But I'll let you know if I cave in.

cLoudou
cLoudou
10 years ago

The new smell is guaranteed to give you a stiffy.

Claire C
Claire C
10 years ago

Really enjoyed the first Infamous, and based on the demo, I shall enjoy the sequel as well.

New Orleans? What a brilliant place to model an open world environment around. Love the setting.

PS: I like Coles scraggly new voice.

=^.^=

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I prefer his scraggly old voice.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

Oh, Nyarlens… All I can say is that it's refreshing to see a game based on something other than LA and NY. Someone should make a list of all the cities that are underappreciated in gaming and then force certain developers to set their games there. Imagine the possibilities…

Also, every time I think of New Orleans, I think if calling someone 'The Big Easy'… Not intended towards you Claire.

Claire C
Claire C
10 years ago

Not on a Tuesday night anyways. 😉

And you're extra correct about NYC.

big6
big6
10 years ago

How does it compare to the demo?
I thought the climbing felt a bit "detached" and the jumping a bit too "floaty" in the demo… I'm hoping that is somehow fixed for the final game.

Though neither are deal breakers, I just wish they hadn't messed with it, cuz the original climbing and jumping wasn't broken.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Nice review, can't really square it with the score. That would mean this game is worse than the first, I have trouble putting that together.

I haven't had much time with it but it's looking great so far. So good to be back and kicking ass. A couple camera issues aren't gonna hurt me and I like Cole's stickiness (that sounded bad). Not a fan of the voice but I'll get used to it.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

You must remember that it isn't necessarily worse than the first. It's simply that gameplay mechanics have evolved around it and they may or may not stack up to today's more exacting standards.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Like I said I need to spend more time with it to be sure, but since there are no other games like this I don't know how they could have evolved so far in a couple years.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

Fair point, but what about other parkour styled games, like MEdge, AC, (Brink) and the smoothness with which they play? Even the TPS mechanics can be judged. Or standard open world gameplay. Nothing may be exactly the same, but there are other games with similar elements.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

I don't find AC smooth in any respect, but enough jibber jabber I'm gonna go play more. I wouldn't presume to argue with Ben's reviews overmuch.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
10 years ago

I don't get to play it until next week… I'll argue as long as I can to stop you from doing so!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

haha, you can't stop me! Uncharted 3 will be technically better, but this game is more fun imo.


Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/7/2011 11:07:14 PM

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
10 years ago

Worlds, I'm with you on this one, the game is better overall than the first one, although the first one had the added bonus of being completely fresh. I do think that this game merits scores that are at very least in line with the original.

sirbob6
sirbob6
10 years ago

Nice review. Arnold's quote made me laugh. Sadly I can't really comment about the game because my copy is stuck in some depot about twenty miles away and will be waiting there until next Tuesday.

Sigh…

Oh, is there any Sasha at all? I must know!

Alienange
Alienange
10 years ago

Was a fine review until I had to read that Arnold quote. Way to show disrespect to women in an Infamous 2 review. Was that the only analogy we could come up with? Personally I think we'd have gotten the point without our minds being dragged through the gutter.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

That's the beauty of quoting someone else, you don't have to take responsibility for it.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
10 years ago

Personally, I think we've gotten to the point where everybody is offended about everything, which denotes an abundance of insecurity.

Relax. Arnold and I probably have more respect for women than 99% of men out there.


Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 6/8/2011 12:30:03 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
10 years ago

Some people work very hard to be offended. Just sayin.

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