Reviews: Infamous 2
Not my cup of tea.
Here are the openings to both inFamous games: Silent Melody, and Fade Away. I listened to both of these songs and realized: I really enjoyed the first game, and almost entirely hated the second one. I tried to compare how the ending songs capitalized the experiences, and arrived at, "Silent Melody made me feel awesome about how dark and twisted the ending and plot were, while Fade Away made me depressed that the game was pretty much a wrap-up". (At least until Second Son was announced) I enjoyed the gameplay of inFamous 2, even though the introduction of ice and fire powers felt unnecessary when they could've just expanded on the applications of lightning and electricity rather than half-assing ice and fire. But the story, characters, and setting made me angry. They'd set up a non-conventional superhero tale in inFamous 1 and scrapped it to tell a blander one in 2, with Cole fighting the Mutant Registration Act, Morlocks, meeting an anarchist who wants to be special and ultimately sacrificing himself for the perceived greater good. The city I'd fought so hard to save was obliterated. The character I'd respected was killed off. inFamous 1 ended and left me with questions and bewilderment. inFamous 2 ended with Porky Pig popping out of a circle waving to me and shouting, "That's all folks!"
So Good It's Great
'Good' can sometimes be a bit of an insult describing a game. And it's true that there's nothing so exceptional and innovative about Infamous 2 that I'll be talking about it long after I've played it, I might not even put another Infamous game highly on my list of games to get. But I have the sneaking suspicion that it might be so good it's perfect. It's non-stop enjoyable and always cleverer and better then it's expectation. I'm trying to think of a flaw and maybe the last button press of the game isn't as awesome as Heavy Rain or Metal Gear Solid 4 would have done it. Maybe. The characters in the story are really good, fully fleshed out and powerfully engaging. One of them looks like a drunk Elvis impersonator and yet I really really cared. They do clever things with all of them and it all takes place with a beautiful minimalism, all their character pours out and yet there's not a single cutscene in the game that could have been described as long. The villain is powerful but in a quiet and sinister manner. Were they taking a cheap shot at religion? Not really. He talks about condemning the sinners which pushes it into cult and they reveal an interesting and fairly deep motivation for his actions. The gameplay is pure fun, freeroaming sandbox in a well-depicted interesting world with many powers to make traversing a joy, varied combat that allows shooting melee and a whole host of powers that will tie together in a theme of the responsibility and difficulty of taking on personal power without anyone having to mention a word about it. It was possibly a little less subtle in the good/evil missions themselves. Rows of sidequests with mini-story arcs most of which had their unique twist and their own way to mix up the gameplay. There's a lot of combinations of allies fighting on your side and 2 way/3 way wars with the protagonist coming in the middle and raining destruction as he sees fit. There's something innately cool about seeing the AI fight on your side and they can be pretty helpful. Collectables with meaningful reward in gameplay and story with a mechanism that compromises nicely with the fun of the search and the difficulty of having to pixel hunt through a city. Every upgrade added another option to your arsenal instead of a pure stat upgrade. It won't change your life, it was simply a delight to play and experience