21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
The Game I've Been Waiting To Play For 2 Years...,
This review is from: inFAMOUS - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
After playing through one of the three islands in inFAMOUS I think I have a pretty good understanding of what inFAMOUS has to offer. In short--it's the game I've been waiting to play for over 2 years. Ever since Crackdown's release in early 2007 I've been itching for something that's even remotely close to what that over-the-top, explosive world has to offers. Though different games overall it does seem to satiate the same appetite.
I love a game with a moral compass, at least when it's put to good use, and inFAMOUS does a pretty decent job of doing that. To be frank--it's not perfect though. inFAMOUS calls it's moral system "Karma" and it takes form in a three-stage slide scale. The function of the Karma scale is to allow the player to unlock certain abilities, as they progress up the scale, to use and upgrade depending on your karmatic choices. Being a do-gooder will get you abilities that allow for more precise attacks, while acts of evil will allow for chaotic, power surging ones. For instance one exclusive evil power allows you the ability to slamming down onto the ground, shooting out electrical charges, in mid-jump.
The people of the city will act accordingly to you by cheering you on and taking your picture if you're a hero, or gathering a mob around you booing and hissing as they throw rocks at you. It's a pretty entertaining sight in some regards and really does help you feel like you're affecting the world around you. It does remind me of the Fable series where people run up to you cheering and clapping over their head, but also like Fable I found myself wanting it to be a little more practical instead of for show. Assassin's Creed did something relatively similar as well (though it's a completely different scenario) where someone you save--which is effectively what you're doing in inFAMOUS--actually physically restrain guards as you attempt to escape. I really would have liked to have seen Sucker Punch take this particular involvement with the cities people to the next level.
These morality choices are presented to you throughout the main story and then through side missions. There are two types of side missions: Regular ones, that are visible on your map in the form of a yellow exclamation mark, and then Karma based ones with either a red (evil) or green (good) circle around it. You will be offered to choose one of these karma-based missions and when completing, will wipe the alternate path off the map.
It just so happens that the single most important aspect of a video game is the one thing Sucker Punch really nailed--the gameplay. It just feels really really good to play! Running, jumping, dashing, climbing, sliding, punching..I mean I could go on and on for days here.
But being able to jump off of the main story's mission line is an essential element to an open world game and inFAMOUS does this by offering a host of side quests that range anywhere from rescuing some captive civilians from some thugs (the Reapers gang) who are escorting them to certain death, to following--what is essentially a ghost--to where their killer is located. They're interesting, fun and are repeated a few times throughout the first island (unsure of the second or third island). As you complete these side quests you are rewarded with experience (which is used to unlock more powers and upgrades) and a small "cleansed" segment of the cities territory. These cleansed segments will no long allow Reapers to respawn in their respective area. If you played Viking: Battle for Asgard, it very similar to that in that, aesthetically speaking, everything becomes a little brighter and cleaned up. It's a nice and appreciated touch.
Initially one of my concerts about the game was transportation. I think Rockstar created a graceful solution, for an open world game, with the Taxi system that was introduced in GTAIV. They essentially act as a teleporter for the impatient (ME!), or a rollercoaster 'o fun for the vacationers. But that particular system just wouldn't make sense in inFAMOUS's world, plus it would rob the game of it's chance to remind you of how much of a bad mofo you really are. After a few hours of playing the game you unlock the ability to slide along power lines and it's just a fast and fun way to get around. The first time you do it I guarantee it will pull a "woooo hooo!" out of you. But it really wasn't until I repaired the cities train system that I stood up cheering for Cole. Once I hopped onto that crazy train (aaall aboooard HAHAHAHAHAH! -Ozzy) I realized that utilizing this system for transportation around the city would allow me to get from one side of the city to the other in no time. The sense of speed when you're on top of one of these things just has to be experienced, and wait until you jump off that thing moving at those speeds. :)
For an open-world game I think the game, graphically speaking, looks great. After reading some comments on various gaming forums I think some people have too high of expectations for the current generations console's rendering power (and the software that drives them). Rendering games like inFAMOUS and GTAIV are extremely taxing on these system's resources because there is just so much going on. But to me, in the end, it really comes down to the art direction. It's what separates the good from the bad (pun intended). If I had to pick, for comparisions sake, I would probably say GTAIV looking a bit better--mainly because of the impeccable city designs where nothing is copy & pasted. unofrtunately I did notice once or twice that the same building was being used in different areas of the same island, but just flipped around to disguise it. For some this is completely trival, but for me it was a bummer.
I do have a few others gripes too.
I adore the animated comic book style panel sequences that move the narrative along, but found the in-game cutscenes to be much lower in quality. It's almost as if they were tacked on at the very end of development. They appears to be less polishing and are certainly not to the same levels of the rest of the game's offerings. It actually left me wanting more of the well animated storyboarding instead.
The voice and general deign of Cole isn't too spectacular either. Though I find his overall attire to be pretty cool, his face is rather bland. He looks like...well just some dude off of the street, which I suppose is the point, but now that he's got all this power he's not just some dude--he's special. My point is that I think it would have done some good for the character to have some distinguishing physical marks (of some sort, just please no tattoos) left on him after the incident.
In regards to his voice, it appears to be straight out of the David Hayter school of video game voice acting but with less passion (and grunting). It's dry and dull and does nothing to invoke more likability for Cole.
My final complaint might be insignificant to some, but for me it's a point that is grating. There is a very slight and faint squeaking noise that is made when Cole runs. There are times when I completely forget about it and not hear it at all, but when I've been fighting or watching a cutscene for a while I immediately notice it as soon as I begin running again. I'm left scratching my head wondering why Sucker Punch left this in the game. What good does it add to the overall experience?
The good far outweigh the little gripes I have with inFAMOUS. With incredibly fun gameplay that just feels right, excellent graphics, spectacular music, a huge city to explore, excellent transport methods, a decent morality system, and wonderful fighting mechanics--this game is absolutely amazing!
For those that are interested there is more at eat-games.blogspot dot com
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 28, 2009 11:15:22 AM PDT
Jason Bean says:
I notice alot of reviewers pointing out Cole's voice. I think the intention was to make Cole sound like a human battery, sort of static-like, and yes ends up sounding like a cross between Solid Snake and Wolverine. Definitly takes away from the coming-of-age feel (was it the same guy who did Sly Cooper?).
In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2009 9:12:28 AM PDT
Anthony J. Rapino says:
Just wanted to say, good review. You pretty much nail it across the board. It's nice to see someone able to point out the cons of a game, and yet not let--what add up to be trivialities--ruin a fun game.
I also noticed the sound when he runs--though it doesn't bother me much--and I assumed it has something to do with his powers? To me it sounds metallic... It was a strange choice, but not too bothersome.
Anyway, great review.
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