The end of Sucker Punch’s 2009 smash hit InFamous let everyone know that a sequel was coming because when the first one was over, you knew that everything you as Cole had just went through was in preparation for a much larger battle to come: a battle against the Beast.
You don’t have to wait long to battle the Beast either, as you’ll fight him during the first few minutes of the game. Cole, even with his powers, is still not strong enough to take down the monster and flees with Zeke and new pal from the NSA, Kuo, to New Marias in Louisiana. Meanwhile, Empire City is completely destroyed and the Beast is coming for you. Hitting start will bring up the menu which shows a map of the Eastern seaboard of the United States, where the game shows you the location of the Beast. Yup, you get to see the path of destruction the Beast leaves in his wake as he rushes towards New Marias.
Cole doesn’t have an easy going time in New Marias waiting on the Beast though, he’s having to find enough Blast Cores to be able to charge up the Ray Field Inhibitor. There are seven Blast Core’s to attain, and each time Cole gets a new or enhanced power, as well as a new message saying how far away the Beast is. The problem for Cole is the Blast Core’s are in the hands of some pretty bad people or things. Not only are you fighting militia members, but New Marias is filled with corrupted swamp things, ice soldiers, and several large monsters. Things can never be as easy as they are planned to be.
InFamous 2 is every bit as good as the original game and then some. New Marias is a much livelier and brighter city than Empire City ever was. There’s more stuff to do, more stuff to blow up, some great new powers, and a lot of mini-boss battles in the form of monsters. There’s 39 story missions, and over 60 side missions in addition to 305 blast shards and 29 dead drops to collect and random encounters like protesters, muggings, and a few others. Add in limitless and constantly expanding User Generated Content (missions, mini games, platforming, races, etc.) and you have a ton of stuff to do in InFamous 2. And the best thing is, all of it (well besides some UGC) is really fun and the game never seemed to be as repetitive as the first InFamous even though the side missions do repeat to a large degree. Thankfully there are no Satellite Uplinks or surveillance bugs in this one.
When I beat the first InFamous, I had no desire to go back and play through the game again as a villain. I was happy with beating the game on normal difficulty as a hero. When I booted InFamous 2 up, I was able to import my InFamous save file/trophies into the new game. I started out as a Guardian, and the actions I made in the first game (feeding the citizens) was mentioned in side missions and in dead drops. That sort of continuation was pretty cool and reinforced my decision to play though InFamous as a hero. However, after beating the game and attaining the good ending (this time on hard), I REALLY want to go back and play the game again and see the evil ending.
InFamous 2 features a revamped karma system. During the course of the story you’ll be prompted to go to the red marker or the blue marker. The good (blue) way is all about not harming civilians, while the red (evil) way is all about possibly making things easier for you without regard for anyone else. In order to see everything the game has to offer, you’ll have to play the game twice; once as a hero, and once as a villain. Each side has special new powers in the form of either ice or fire, in addition to your electrical abilities.
InFamous 2 is a lot more polished than the first one; everything felt more fluid and the story was even a little more cinematic. Seeing the Beast walking in the background or near your boat in one sequence looks like it could have come straight out of the God of War series, while the opening escape sequence looks like (admittedly a lot less impressive) scene out of Uncharted. As smooth and fluid as everything feels though, there are two problems I have with the game that are two of the same problems I had with the first one. While getting hung up while climbing wasn’t really an issue this time around, Cole stills gravitates towards anything he can latch onto. You’ll be trying to use your static thrusters to float somewhere, and Cole will start veering towards an edge or sign like a magnet is pulling on him. And second, there is still no fast travel.
New Marias is a big place, and while grinding the electrical lines moves fast, you can’t get to all three sections of the island doing that. It takes several minutes to run from one island to the next just to do one side mission. To me, every open world game needs a fast travel system and I really don’t understand why Sucker Punch won’t implement one. Admittedly, that’s really a minor inconvenience and pet peeve of mine, but I’m trophy hunting and not wanting to speed so much time running from one place to the next.
Speaking of trophy hunting, and as a testament to how much I’ve enjoyed InFamous 2, I currently have a little over 80% of the trophies. The ones I don’t have will require me to play the game on the evil side. I’ve find all 305 blast shards and all 29 dead drops, whereas I didn’t even find 25% of them (blast shards) in InFamous. I’ve done all the side missions (with the exception of the evil ones that locked when I did the good ones). In short, it has been an absolute blast and I did it all on hard difficulty, which really wasn’t that hard. If you read my InFamous review you’ll know I thought it was merciless in the beginning, but InFamous 2 even on hard never really seems all that challenging. Maybe it’s because I had played InFamous and a ton of the demo for InFamous 2, but InFamous 2 was pretty easy.
As mentioned earlier, InFamous 2 has a new feature that allows players to create their own missions and content. I created a mission using a beginners template called Gang War, and overall it seems like a pretty impressive but easy to understand system. I’m not a creator, I only tried it for the purposes of this review AND to get the trophy, but it’s a great feature to have simply because Sucker Punch and other players have created some really cool missions. There’s waves of “zombies,” skeet ball, ravager bowling, some platforming missions, and some collecting missions; basically a wide variety of content that is constantly expanding and shows up on your map as green icons.
I won’t comment on any endings or twists/reveals, but it would be best if you played the original InFamous before jumping into this one (and the original was a great game). If you liked the first one, then you’ll love the second one. It’s everything the first game does well completely amplified and more polished. All the new additions (powers, monsters, some destructible environments) make for an outstanding experience. In short, InFamous 2 has done what any sequel should do: improve on the original while continuing to grow in a new ways. It starts off strong and never dies down. This is yet another exclusive that every PS3 gamer should own.
InFamous 2 gets a three out of five: GOOD.