inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood Review
Posted by Nathan Michalik
But... does it sparkle?
The dark world Cole McGrath is trying to project just got a whole lot darker. inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood takes place during inFAMOUS 2 in the city of New Marais on a special night called Pyre Night, when the citizens celebrate the removal of the twisted and powerful vampire, Bloody Mary.
With Bloody Mary reawakened with Cole’s powerful conduit blood, he has little time before sunrise to stop her before she gains complete control over his mind. In order to defeat her, he’ll have to use his newfound powers.
Taking control of our hero Cole, you’ll get some similar powers from inFAMOUS 2 as well as a few new abilities, such as drinking blood and the ability to free fly using the energy received from the blood of citizens and defeating enemies.
Unlike its predecessors, there is no longer a karma system that allows players to use McGrath’s powers for good or evil. This lack of this staple feature and small select of powers is quite disappointing, though the few abilities on offer are extremely satisfying and still allow upgrades by completing certain tasks (for example, killing 80 enemies will allow players to upgrade their shock grenades.)
The story is well written and entertaining but on the short side. There are many unexplored situations and scenarios that could have been added to better explain the story while adding some variety.
The good news is that while Sucker Punch might have left holes in the story, it gives gamers the power to fill in those holes with user generated content. Once the story is completed, UGC is unlocked allowing individuals to create their own quests and mini games for Cole to complete. Many gamers have already used this feature to take advantage of the lack of depth and expand on the story by making side missions and goals.
The UGC tools have a moderate learning curve, but offer plenty of customisation options and control for the creators to be able to make just about any scenario. Once said missions are created, they can be uploaded for players around the world to experience and rate.
The inFAMOUS series has never been very challenging in terms of difficulty: Festival of Blood is no different and will offer little to no challenge for most gamers, even on the “hard” difficulty setting.
The most notable new feature is the ability to use PlayStation Move to control Cole’s lightning powers. Using a DualShock 3 or Navigation controller in conjunction with Move, controlling our hero has never felt smoother and the tutorial will teach you just about anything you’ll need to know to get started. A problem arises with customisability though: the only adjustable setting just takes into consideration one’s experience with the Move controller, from beginner to expert. Depending on which is selected, the speed and smoothness of the on-screen cursor used to unleash the lightning attacks will increase or decrease.
More customisation over the sensitivity and speed would have been welcomed as well as mappable buttons, as you’ll likely find yourself meleeing when you want to jump and jumping when you want to melee, at least for a while. Once the preset sensitivity and button configuration is learned, the motion controls feel great and provide an excellent alternative to the standard PS3 controller for anyone looking for more precision and a higher sense of immersion in the game.
Although for a while it was referenced as additional content for inFAMOUS 2, it should be noted that the two games are completely separate, similar to LittleBigPlanet 2 and Sackboy’s Prehistoric Moves. Neither of the game saves are compatible nor will each have any effect on the other. It would have been good to have the ability to pair up some of the attacks exclusive to inFAMOUS 2 with ones in Festival of Blood and vice versa. Limiting the two was likely a decision made in order to keep the experience the same for everyone, but more continuity would be appreciated.
In terms of visuals, the new look to New Marais is dark and well designed. From the giant statues spitting fire to the huge gargoyles Cole must slay, everything fits together extremely well. The actual city layout has been recycled from a section of inFAMOUS 2 (which was recycled from a section from the original inFAMOUS) so fans of the series shouldn’t expect much terms of new environments. The lightning effects and character modeling still look phenomenal and should please any gamer spamming that R1 or T trigger for the basic lightning attack.
Sound effects are on par with many other games in this generation. While explosions leave a lot to be desired, the soundtrack more than makes up for their shortcomings. Even though many of the songs are taken from Cole’s dark side adventure in his second adventure, the tense orchestral pieces prove perfectly compatible with the setting and story.
inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood is a great addition to the series and a solid game for Cole fans or even someone looking for a taste of his power without taking the plunge into his previous adventures. Even with many of the features being recycled from the previous games in the series, Move support and user-generated content help keep the game fresh for the die hard fans.