Infamous (PS3) A Casual Review

Infamous is a game exclusive to the PS3, developed by Suckerpunch Studios and published by Sony.  It was released in 2009.

Infamous is about a guy Named Cole who is a Bike messenger, and is delivering a parcel.  Trying to get to his destination the parcel suddenly explodes, throwing the fictional Empire City into complete disarray.  Cole was in the middle of the explosion yet remains unharmed or has he?  After escaping from the blast zone he wakes in a hospital from a coma, gets outside, and see’s the life of what once was a beautiful place called home, is now a city being plunged into darkness and chaos and for some reason, only he has the power to change it for the better or worse and with the power of electricity now at his fingertips, all bets are off.

This is where Infamous throws you into the game.  It’s an open world action adventure filled with tons to do.  There are blast shards to collect and once you’ve got a certain amount, will add an extra node to your charge meter which is displayed on your HUD.  This will come in handy later as certain enemy types will offer that extra challenge and if your powers are not adequately upgraded you’ll have quite a challenge on your hands because when using your awesome electric powers you are going to get drained.  Once that happens, you will need to find anything electric based, like street lamps, transformers and even people (which will net you evil karma points). There’s also a huge amount of side quests that can be done as well as “Good” and “Evil” missions.  If you decide to do a good side mission then the evil side mission will be locked out and vice versa.  There are a total of fifteen good and evil side missions to do.  You can’t do both sets through one play through though, so if you’re OCD (like me) then you’re probably going to want to give the game another bash in order to complete everything.  There are also a total of twenty one stunts that you can do which is just pretty much how to look awesome while taking down bad guys.  Stunts are displayed when you pause the game then at the bottom of the screen, it will tell you what stunt to try and these can get quite frustrating at times.  I recommend you try these stunts while playing through the campaign as enemies will be easier to come by and the requirements will be easier to achieve.  There are also 32 “dead drops” to collect which are audio logs and add an extra layer of reality to the world allowing you to learn the back story of the city and the explosion.  All blast shards, dead drops, and where to charge up are neatly shown on your mini map when you push the L3 button.  The game-play is pretty solid, although there are a few things I didn’t enjoy like travelling on foot for the first couple of hours.

It’s a really big world, three huge islands that need to be explored and at first I thought it was going to be a mission to try and get Cole too these different areas.  Luckily though, as the game progresses and Cole is introduced to new areas, you will find yourself in the sewers having to restore and charge power transformers which will give electricity to parts of the city.  With the power turned on Cole will be able to utilize the train tracks which are present in every area and the first time you grind those rails, oh man, what a feeling.  Cole can also scale nearly everything but that also becomes a slight problem, because he would not stop grabbing onto things.  If there was a pedestrian that needed to be healed (I am of course the noble hero) and I’m on top of a building, I would jump down, but because Cole is so grabby, I was continuously getting directed back to a ledge, and then I would have to drop again (and that’s just irritating) until finally, I reached the poor pedestrian, healed her and sent her on her not so merry way.

Speaking of powers, Cole has a multitude of abilities which can all be upgraded as you progress through the game.  Most of his powers have three stages of upgradeability, making each one more powerful.  Cole can shoot electric bolts from his hands, throw shock grenades, has the ability to glide (although not very far), can use Shockwave (which pushes enemies and objects away from you), Overload Burst (fires a bolt of electricity that chains off of nearby conductive surfaces which is really handy when a soldier is taking cover behind something metallic), Megawatt Hammer (which is essentially a really big electric bomb which packs one hell of a punch), Thunder Drop (jump off a high ledge, press square and once you land, a massive shockwave will be emitted from under your feet, sending anyone in the radius flying),Polarity Wall (bullet proof electric shield), Precision (Cole zooms in on his target, time slows down slightly and you can give enemies head shots) and his ultimate attack, Lightning Storm (sends a huge bolt of lightning from the heavens causing havoc on the streets, destroying nearly any enemy caught in the blast and can be directed using Sixaxis 🙁.  There’s a frowny face here because I really despise the Sixaxis motion control) Add to this list a few basic melee attacks which aren’t really that impressive even for the games time of release and you’ve got yourself a new super hero.  Powers will vary depending on your choice to be the hero or villain.

So let’s get to the Karma.  You have good karma and bad karma.  Depending on your choices throughout the game or what path you would like to take, you will have big decisions to make which will affect your karma level.  Having good or evil Karma won’t just affect Cole’s appearance and power but will also have an effect on the people of Empire City.  If you’re striving to be the hero then the people will cheer for you, help you in certain situations and even take pictures of you.  If you’re trying to be the infamous villain, then they will despise you, even getting to the point where they start throwing rocks at you.  When you’re evil, you’re powers take on a red color scheme and Coles face starts to pale.  Being good, your powers will have a nice tinge of blue and you’ll look normal.

Graphics aren’t bad but I think it could have been a little better, even in 2009.  If you’re rocketing on the rails into new districts don’t be surprised to see to a few glitches in rendering and texture clippings.  Also I encountered my first bug about fifteen hours in where Cole fell through the world and died but this bug never presented itself again.

The best thing I loved about this game is the comic book cut scenes.  While there’s not much actually going on in the scenes, effects have been added; having things move in the background and the art work is incredible.

So what do I think about Infamous?  It’s a decent game, but nothing mind blowing.  Quests can get repetitive and if I’m really honest, the only reason I was doing all the side quests is because I HAVE TO COMPLETE EVERYTHING (it’s a sickness really), very limited enemy types, but the story was alright and I liked the character of Cole.  The city felt alive and I felt like I had a connection with it because it pretty much was my fuel.  Maybe for its time it really was one of the best Playstation titles, however I really cannot see how people thought that and that’s not even me comparing it to the games of today.  It’s a good game, not great.  It has an original story so I give it points there and the characters are most interesting.  I felt a real connection with Coles B.F.F. Zeke and I wanted to kill him at one point.

With that said, this game is definitely not for everyone but if you enjoy super hero games and an original story, then I say, what the hell, try it.  You can get it for pretty cheap now, so it won’t break the bank.

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