Last Level Press

Nutshell Review: Infamous

Reviewer: Cliff Davenport

The guys at Sucker Punch set out to create a modern superhero’s tale with their breakout title, Infamous, aiming at the creation of a comic-game rather than a comic-book to tell their tale. With beautiful, hand-drawn cutscenes, an everyman main character, and a steady, organic progression of events and abilities throughout the game, I’d say they’ve succeeded at that goal, creating an addictive, entertaining, open-world experience that’s admirably difficult to put down.  “Just one more side quest,” “just one more blast shard to find,” I found myself thinking at unspeakably wee hours of the morning.  

Developers, take note.  If you hear that statement from a critic, then

“that’s entertainment.”

Infamous is, at its core, the story of Cole MacGrath, a bike-courier-turned-superhero (or villain, depending upon players’ choices) who, after somehow surviving a mysterious explosion in the midst of his island city,  discovers himself the reluctant new owner of nascent electrical superpowers.  As players progress, they’ll unlock more and more of these powers, from increasingly new and interesting ways to kill or incapacitate Cole’s foes to gradually more effortless abilities of exploration and travel.  “Ride the Lightning,” indeed.

And apocalyptic city-wrecking.  Can’t forget the city-wrecking.  

These abilities, paired with a free-running system to give Altair a run for his pigeon-hooded money, continually keep travel and combat fresh, keeping gang-ridden Empire City’s impressive size from becoming a chore to explore rather than the gritty spectacle it’s intended to be.  They also lead players into naturally organic encounters, as they’ll often run right into one of the myriad of side-missions and events that are spread throughout the city.  This last part is a bit of a double-edged sword, however, as the usual flaw in open-world games rears its ugly head yet again.  Namely, many of these missions can get rather repetitive rather quickly, and on top of that, the sheer thickness of enemies in some areas can be downright stifling, especially mid-mission.

In all, Infamous is an experience more than a story, as players are invited to join its relatable cast of largely well-voiced characters in their journey through a quarantined city’s descent into super-powered anarchy.  Whether players protect or terrorize the people around them is entirely their choice, and not always a clear one to make.  At the end of it all, players will have made the journey from shell-shocked nobody to sky-shattering avatar of thunder alongside Cole MacGrath, and though Infamous sports disappointingly little replay value short of trying out the other alignment choices, it’s a game worth playing, even just once.

Rating: 7.0

Visuals: 6

Audio: 6

Controls & Mechanics: 8

Atmosphere & Experience: 8

Entertainment Value: 7

“Suck it, Storm.”

  Consoles: PS3

  Developer: Sucker Punch

  Publisher: Sony

   Release Date (U.S.):  May 6, 2009

  Release Date (U.K.):  May 29, 2009

  Release Date (JP):  Nov 5, 2009

Final Verdict:


Last Level Press © Copyright Cliff Davenport  Est. 2013.  Links | Legal Notices

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