(PlayStation 3)

inFAMOUS (PlayStation 3)

Game Review

inFAMOUS Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Sammy Barker

You play as Cole McGrath, the subject of an inexplicable explosion, and the carrier of some deadly electrical powers

With the entirety of Cole's hometown - Empire City - suffering the consequences of the blast, the government puts the location under quarantine. With a loss of order, and gangs rising from the underground, Cole embarks on discovering the reasons for his powers - and saving or destroying the city that granted him them.

inFamous includes moral decisions, and thus there are many branching aspects to its storyline. A single playthrough will take around 10 hours, but there are many side-missions and collectables to find upon completion.

inFamous provides a good mix of combat and platforming throughout its campaign. The electrical powers Cole has obtained, along with his history as a delivery boy, make his combat arsenal particularly empowering. Holding the L1 button takes you into a Resident Evil-style over-the-shoulder viewpoint allowing you to zap an array of pantomime goons with the R1 button. Progressing through the game's plot provides Cole with a series of upgrades; hitting Square while in combat mode enables Shock Grenades, while X produces a Shockwave. You'll also obtain an electricity based sniper rifle and rocket launcher. Using electricity will drain Cole of power, so you are required to find charging stations (lamp-posts, traffic lights, generators) in order to power your arsenal. Abilities can also be upgraded by using XP which is earned by completing missions and defeating enemies. Cole's arsenal differs greatly depending on the moral choices he makes.

Not content with being a walking electrical army, Cole's history as a delivery boy has also made him an ample climber. Scaling Empire City is one of inFamous' high-points: it's obvious that Sucker Punch had a design philosophy of "if you can see it, you can climb it". Cole's climbing animations are phenomenal at times, and naturally, you're greeted by wonderful views once you manage to manoeuvre Cole to where you want him to be.

Like Grand Auto's Liberty City, inFamous' Empire City becomes one of the games lasting hooks. Under quarantine, Empire City is left to fend for itself. And the people show the burden of this as they watch over friends and family who lay retching on the pavement. Cole can save these people, or kill them. It really is up to the player. And your actions will spark reactions from the people of the city. They'll throw stones at you if you've hurt them or their family, or they'll respect and help you if you've been good. It's memorable the first time a member of the city runs up to you and takes your photograph. Cole is an important part of the future of Empire City, and you'll feel the weight of his actions.

Much of inFamous' narrative is pieced together via phone-calls conducted during missions. Occasionally the game will sweep out to some brilliantly illustrated comic-book cut-scenes. While inFamous isn't particularly heavy on story, there are a number of twists, particularly at the end, that build the game into a satisfying crescendo.

Unlike most open-world games, inFamous keeps recycling to a minimum - opting for a massive range of mission types be they a part of the main campaign or side-missions. This keeps the gameplay fresh, interesting and allows Cole to get an equal use of all his abilities. You'll want to complete the side-missions in inFamous because Sucker Punch have made it cohesive, rewarding and most of all fun. Let it be said though, inFamous is a challenging game, and there are a few missions near the end that will cause serious frustration for even the most hardened of player.

There are three real main boss fights in inFamous; and they are all awesome. We don't want to give too much away, but we just want you to know that you're in for treat when you do eventually pick the game up. They're memorable to say the least.

Let it be said that inFamous doesn't have quite the same technical flair as is expected from Playstation 3 exclusives lately. That's not to say inFamous is a bad looking game - not by any means, the animation, art style and detail is fantastic - however, there is a lot of pop-in. The depth of of field is also not particularly inspiring, making some of the vistas a bit washed out. Having said that; inFamous has a rock-solid frame-rate. No matter how much stuff is blowing up (and there is lots) inFamous remains totally smooth. It's also worth noting that the game never loads.

We enjoyed the moral aspects of inFamous, but after playing the likes of GTA and Fallout 3, we couldn't help but feel everything was a bit cut-throat. You either do x or y and the outcome is good or bad - which is fine but, we can't help feeling things have progressed a little. Perhaps we're spoiled after the guilt riddling instances provided by GTAIV.

Conclusion

Not content with being one of this generation's best open-world games, we're confident in saying that inFamous is the best super-hero game ever made. While its presentation can be flawed at times, we can't overlook the fact that by putting us in control of the electrically powered Cole, Sucker Punch have offered us the reigns to one of the most fun protagonists we've ever come across.

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