Last Level Press

Nutshell Review: Infamous 2

Reviewer: Cliff Davenport

Recommendations are easy to come by for Infamous 2.  If you enjoyed Infamous, you’ll  no doubt like its sequel.  If not, you probably won’t get anything out of round two that the first installment missed.  That out of the way, let’s break it down a bit.

After a jarringly abrupt introduction, Cole, Zeke, and the player are guided to their newest urban playground.  This time, it’s the fictional Louisiana city of New Marais, and it’s every bit the New Orleans-in-disguise that you’d expect, replete with antiquated French-American architecture, neon-lit boulevards, old trolley rails, and ominous, monster-infested swamps ringing the lot of it.  

Editor’s Note: Giant monster-infested swamps, actually,

and more eating the lot of it than “ringing.”

All of this is presented in gorgeously updated graphics, as Infamous 2 sports notably better visuals than its predecessor, augmenting its usual hand-drawn narration scenes with a few HD cutscenes, allowing players a chance to get a better feel for the characters and their interactions during scenes in which dramatic illustrations aren’t really necessary.  

And further reminding us that we all know a guy like Zeke.

 If you don’t think you do, you are that guy.

Cole’s conduit powers are yet again the star of the show in Infamous 2, and they’re smoother to control, more visually satisfying, and more varied than ever, with even more inventive ways to leap, glide, and race around its open-world city, hurling ice and electricity at rednecks, swamp monsters, and frost-powered super-soldiers along the way.  Vertical electro-rails mounted to the sides of many buildings are a particularly welcome addition to Infamous 2’s electrical navigation mechanics, allowing Cole to flash up the sides of structures in an instant, and thus cutting a lot of the chore out of scaling tall buildings.  That’s not to say, however, that the series’ well-honed free-running mechanics are lagging behind, as the game’s controls and mechanics are just as smooth and intuitive as we’ve come to enjoy from the series.

The facet of Infamous 2 that does unfortunately lag behind is its narrative, or more precisely, its pacing.  Entire acts of this game seem to drag on for ages, while others, like its introduction, fly by, leaving players to reach after them wondering what the hell just happened.  Compounded by this is the apparent divorce between the vast suite of powers Cole ought to have had by the ending of Infamous and the limited few that he begins with, and has to re-learn, during the events of Infamous 2.  After getting an unforgettable look at the potential Cole harbors for further power development during Infamous’ explosive climax, I found myself wondering why he had to spend such a great deal of time in this game just scrabbling to reclaim his arbitrarily lost power.  

Kessler’s got something to say about ice and lightning

representing the extent of Cole’s powers…

Thankfully, players are treated to more game for their buck throughout Infamous 2 than even its predecessor. The story is longer, the missions more involved, and the much-improved cutscenes allow these things to really draw players into the characters’ actions and emotions throughout the game’s progression.  The inclusion of an optional U.G.C. (User Generated Content) feature further extends Infamous 2’s entertainment and replay value, allowing players worldwide to create and distribute their own missions and encounters for other users via the Playstation Network.  These help to alleviate the repetitive side missions of the vanilla game, and give players a reason to keep coming back for more.  

For better or worse, Infamous 2 delivers a comic-game experience that’s on par with what’s come before, and that’s okay.  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and all that, but I’d have still  really liked to see more innovation in this title.  Building interiors, increased environmental interactivity, fully destructible environments, deeper exploration of conduits’ powers, something to further showcase the setting, conduits’ lives, or even characters’ backgrounds.    However, ‘what could have been’ isn’t what determines a game’s rating, so I’ll be fair to Infamous 2, and keep my hopes high for the recently announced, Infamous: Second Son that’s now breaching the horizon.

“…I say, ‘bring it.’”

Rating: 7.0

Visuals: 7

Audio: 6

Controls & Mechanics: 8

Atmosphere & Experience: 6

Entertainment Value: 8

I’m calling the last DLC title now: F.E.M.A.’s Revenge.

…too soon?  Probably too soon.

  Consoles: PS3

  Developer: Sucker Punch

  Publisher: Sony

   Release Date (U.S.):  Jun 7, 2011

  Release Date (U.K.):  Jun 10, 2011

  Release Date (JP):  Jul 7, 2011

Final Verdict:


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

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