For those unfamiliar with Infamous 1, a radiation ball gives the main character, Cole McGrath, electric powers. There are those after the destruction of Cole and Empire City to which Cole retaliates. After defeating their leader Kessler, Cole learns Kessler is himself from the future come to warn him of a greater force called The Beast.
Infamous 2 starts off a few months after 1 where Cole has prepared for The Beast. Though strong, Cole is defeated by him and is forced to retreat to New Marais to do the same “save the city while training for the final battle” scenario. Cole and the other characters aren’t as likable, there’s no hook to the story to keep players wanting more, and the forces Cole faces are even more unoriginal and boring. It felt lifeless despite the somewhat interesting endings.
The morality system is back and as superficial as before. Players can make good or bad decisions affecting Cole’s Karma. This in turn affects the missions he can take, but it doesn’t really change the story except for the two endings.
The redeeming quality of this game is combat, which is as fun as ever. Cole now has a weapon, which makes melee attacks more useful. Switching between powers and his weapon makes the combat feel dynamic and fresh. As for the powers, players start off with a few from 1 and gain more as the story progresses: electric bolts, grenades, hovering, et cetera. Aside from electricity, Cole can now gain new elemental powers based on his karma. If good, Cole will acquire ice attacks and fire via evil choices. When and how will not be spoiled.
These new elemental powers add more of a zing toward Cole’s electricity as well. It cannot be emphasized enough how cool and badass players will feel controlling Cole. At times though, combat will become tedious when trying to navigate New Marais while being bombarded by constant ambushers.
When developers decide to make a sequel to a hit game, the pressure to improve must be daunting. While this game isn’t as engaging as the first, tedious, and graphically dated, fans of 1 will want to pick this up. It was a step toward the right direction, but then a step backwards as well. There just wasn’t enough here to attract new players unfamiliar with Cole’s first adventure to recommend it beyond that.
Score: 3/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on August 23, 2011 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.