An electrifying experience
Infamous is an open world video game for the PlayStation 3. It was developed by Sucker Punch Productions, known for their Sly Cooper series, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. The game was released in May 2009, not long before another similar open-world title, Prototype. Because of the proximity of the release dates for these open world action games, many reviewers and players drained inevitable comparisons between the two. However, with Infamous being a PS3 exclusive, this review will focus on the game as a standalone and avoid comparisons to Prototype (the review of which can be found here). If you do own a PlayStation 3, Infamous is a title you don’t want to miss.
Infamous is an open world action game that adds superpowers to the mix. Players take on the role of protagonist Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger that is doing a basic delivery in Empire City, which is based on New York. Suddenly, he is caught in the epicenter of an explosion caused by the package he is delivering. The explosion levels the surrounding city blocks, destroying the majority of electricity generators, and killing thousands of people, while spreading a deadly plague to survivors. When Cole awakens, he discovers that he has been granted a superpower that allows him to control electricity. His new powers allow him to shoot lightning out of his hands, draw electricity from the city’s power lines and do all kinds of explosive damage. Having only his trusted brother to support him, our character is faced with the decisions to either restore the city or take control over it. The overarching story is very solid, providing depth and insight to the various characters met along the way, as well as Cole himself. The ending is a great surprise twist that caps off an exciting narrative experience.
Throughout the game, Cole must decide whether to use his new powers for good or evil. The moral choice system in the game presents the player with various decisions and actions and impact the notoriety meter in either positive or negative direction. There are story-based decisions that impact the outcome of a mission and Cole’s rating, but there are also tons of side missions and even free-roaming actions that can help increase or decrease the meter. Depending on your good/evil level, new powers become available and the outcomes of missions are changed. The only concern with the game’s decision making is that there is no middle ground, with each choice presented being either good or evil. There is little point to keep switching between the two opposites, since your notoriety meter will remain in neutral, thus never unlocking any special powers for being very good or very evil. As such, the game offers at least two solid playthroughs – clocking in at over 10 hours each - both to discover the unlocked powers and see the different endings.
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