Every so often a game comes along with near perfect execution on all fronts. inFamous, is one of those games. Remember Crackdown? inFamous is similar in that it’s an open-world action game with precise, responsive controls that allow you to effortlessly dole out a ridiculous amount of pain on your enemies, and anyone else that happens to get in your way. With an emphasis on fun, inFamous is easily one of the best PlayStation 3 exclusive titles, and one that will likely be in my top 5 for this year.
Chose Your Own Adventure
I picked up a trait a little while ago that has worked out very nicely in the long run. That being, that I ignore any insight into a game’s (or movie’s) story until I can get my hands on it. I don’t do any digging aside from finding out the basic premise and avoid watching videos like the opening cinematic that could take away from the experience.
Going into inFamous, all I knew was that an electrical explosion went off leaving the lead character with powers. All of which focusing on electricity. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the story. As games like this tend to focus more on the action than anything else. Crackdown is a perfect example of this. Tons of fun and I have nothing but fond memories of my time playing it, but virtually no plot. inFamous did a fantastic job of grabbing me by the balls and not letting go until the credits rolled. The story, and the way it’s played out in comic book style cut-scenes is one to remember. Plot twists-a-plenty, different angles of loss and love, and likable characters (for the most part) shape inFamous beautifully.
One thing I did not know, was the level of moral choice left in the hands of the player. Every big decision is left up to you, and the path you chose determines how things will ultimately unfold. You can be the hero of Empire City, or its infamous villain. Some of the choices were tough, even after picking my path early on. It usually comes down to personal sacrifice if you choose to play as a hero, which actually works quite nicely as your character is still very much full of rage, but it’s contained.
I honestly couldn’t have predicted the ending, even during the final boss fight. And it wasn’t a cop-out in the least. The final battle had me sitting on the edge of my seat and truly felt like I was being tested at how well I could handle my acquired powers. When my nemesis fell and all was revealed, I slowly nodded my head, smiling with satisfaction as it all came together. Not only was it a good ending, but one that made me want to jump right back in and continue working to clean up the city, and also play again and take the path of evil.
So Much Power, So Easy To Maintain
My eldest daughter Hannah was watching me play quite a bit. At one point I asked if she wanted to play, and she said it looked too complicated. Too many powers, and too much acrobatics. She just assumed that she wouldn’t be able to do all of things I was doing, or that they took more effort than she was willing to put in. But that’s where she’s wrong, and truly the strongest point of inFamous.
You are handed a new ability at certain points in the game. You acquire them slowly over time, and have plenty of missions in-between to hone your new found power. All of which is controlled by simple combos with no more than 2 buttons involved.
As you fight your way through the streets and below, you acquire experience points which can be spent on ability upgrades. Powers get stronger, dole out more damage, and actually morph into something far more devastating as you spend more XP. There’s actually a path for each side for most powers as well. So if you play as a hero first, you’ll be upgrading your good powers. Where as evil has a tier of its own and are often a different take on the same ability. The different being, good is about defeating the enemy and containing them while minimizing collateral damage. Evil is about death and destruction, no matter what the cost.
Can’t. Put. It. Dooown!
Going back to Crackdown one last time – Agility Orbs. I remember trying to put my controller down, but then catching a glimpse of an orb far off in the distance and having to get it before I could leave. inFamous has its own collectibles, both of which are very much worth going after.
First there are shards, which glow blue and contribute to the amount of electricity in your reserve. There are 350 of them in total, and they’re found absolutely everywhere. There’s no hint that you’re close to one, so you really have to keep your eyes out.
The other collectible reveals more of the back-story for those interested, and comes in the form of audio recordings as dead drops. There’s only 32 in total, and clicking the left stick activates a sonar like signal which points you in the direction of a near by dead drop. Of course, there are Trophies rewarded for collecting them – all the more reason to keep hunting.
You May Need a Couple Beers in You…
inFamous isn’t the best looking game on the PlayStation 3. It’s definitely a little rough around the edges, and lacking polish in the finer details. But the bigger picture is definitely the selling point. The frame rate held pretty solid, even with dozens of bad guys on screen and explosion-after-explosion.
The sound effects on the other hand, are absolutely massive and spot on! The music goes hand-in-hand, and does an excellent job of providing a moody atmosphere and raising the suspense level at just the right moments.
Not Even Close to Being Done With it
I was surprised when the story started to narrow a little quicker than I had anticipated. But mind you, I finished the story at only 52% total completion. There are an abundance of side missions on both sides of the fence, as well as neutral, to keep you playing long after the story is complete. Or better yet, along side the main story missions. I personally got swept up in the story and had a hard time ignoring the blue orbs on my map (blue signifies story missions).
inFamous is truly a fantastic game on every level! I rented it initially, but am going to now purchase a copy even after completing the story. Despite lacking a multiplayer component entirely, inFamous is a crazy amount of fun with plenty of reasons to replay and keep playing.