reviews\ May 21, 2009 at 8:00 pm

inFAMOUS - PS3 - Review

I know this may sound weird, but I have been waiting for that big budget, "holy-cow" barn burner of a title for the PS3 for a while. Oh sure, fans may clamor that Metal Gear Solid came out not too long ago, or that GTA 4 was a biggie, but in my opinion, GTA doesn't count cause it came out for the 360 and Metal Gear was somewhat of a disappointment for me. Yes, I know Killzone 2 was a pretty good game as was Little Big Planet (don't be sending me any hate mail) but I'm talking a big time action title that blows the doors off. My point is, that game is here.
So  inFAMOUS is here and you get to play as a man named Cole. Cole was delivering a package (as he is a courier) and, well darn it all, a massive explosion rips from that very package, creating widespread fear, killing thousands and creating a sort of no-man's land. You see, the explosion was of the weird variety and in the days following, lawlessness and chaos began to rule. The police were either killed or went into hiding and the Government has decided that Empire City needs to be sealed off in order to contain any possible ramifications that are undoubtedly going to occur. 

"No matter how tough you get, there's always someone bigger who wants to knock you off your pedestal."

So where does that leave Cole? Well, he was affected by the explosion, but many others weren't and now he's gaining some interesting powers based on electricity, oh, and he can survive mind numbing falls from insane heights. Many of the people believe Cole is responsible and gangs have stepped up to fill the power vacuum that has been created. Most of the population is terrified, murder and violent crimes plague the streets, who will answer the call for help? You of course, being bestowed of super human powers you have the ability to restore law and order, to unite the common man and to fight the good fight for an oppressed Empire City.
Or you can choose to be a jerk.
And here is where  inFAMOUS turns a good game into a great game. You see, you are one powerful dude, and you can pretty much sit back and do what you want. And that means hording supplies, making the citizens fear you and basically becoming an almost omnipotent enemy of the people. Will you make moral choices for the good or the bad, all your decisions will effect the game and as you go, your appearance and powers will reflect an evil or good side. Electric blue and a healthy looking skin tone show that you are someone people can ask help for, and as you do more and more heroic things, people will cheer you on and rush to see you. A wicked red and an evil temperament will make people flee at your sight, and villains see you as rivals.

"Trust me buddy, you are not going to be getting up anytime soon."

Now you can play this game one way or another, and my recommendation is for you to do just that, if only to see how differently the story and missions unfold and how wickedly fun it can be to try and do things against your own moral grain. The one thing I did notice, is that there is no 100% going one way or another. Inevitably, you will kill a bad guy gang member after safely restraining them, and that is considered an evil act. Likewise, if you are an evil character, simply completing missions that have you moving the game forward is a good act, for not doing them would stall out the game.
Now I wouldn't be doing this game justice if I didn't talk about Empire City itself. No matter what you choose, there is something always happening, people minding their business or getting mowed down by gangland violence. You can and will see so much and there is so many things to find its insane. You see, prior to the blast Cole was an expert freerunner and urban explorer, meaning you can climb up buildings and traverse the city from the rooftops, having the ability to survive literally any fall is a plus. But know that Cole controls and does all sorts of Jackie Chan style stunts and leaps, it is really quite smooth and a pleasure to work with. In fact as Cole's powers increase you can get new ones that help you move around even faster.
Now don't go thinking that Cole is going to waltz through the game, because he isn't. With the exception of your initial bolt throw, any special attack will drain your power meter. This is combined with a life meter and then a karma meter. Knowing which is which can be helpful since you have to recharge when you run down on power or the in-game cutscenes reveal a plot device that leave you drained. With a city that is not fully functional anymore, finding power can be tough sometimes. Your life meter on the other hand is a little more sketchy, while you may be able to survive a 220 foot fall, you can only take so many bullets from a gang member's machine gun, if you take too much damage the screen starts shading to black and white meaning its time to take cover. Taking cover for a short period restores your health. 

"I'm sorry sir, the transit authority does not recognize this seat as an approved mode of travel, please return to the lower compartment."

Now, the story itself is played out in action styled comic book montage's with your friends providing the human side of the game. You see the game has some real repercussions and even your girlfriend is keeping you at arm's length since her sister died in the initial explosion. I don't want to ruin anything, so I will keep this brief, but  inFAMOUS does have a serious side to it and the plot itself is full of intrigue and surprise. On more then one occasion I did not see certain plot turns coming. This is what I would call a top tier game.
I will tell you that  inFAMOUS does possess a mess load of fantastic looking graphics and incredible sound. I will only play this game cranked up on the surround sound because it makes everything seem so much more involved. Great sound effects, great voice acting and it all comes together beautifully. And on the same side, the lighting and particle effects of the visuals are astounding, when you play this game on your high-def TV, chances are you will be smiling the whole time. The architecture that went into designing Empire City is a feat all to itself, hiding things throughout the city and applying the details to make it all seem so real was and is an incredible task. My hats off to Sucker Punch studios who answered the call to duty for making this game. 
Review Scoring Details for  inFAMOUS
Gameplay: 9.4
Moving around the city with ever expanding superpowers has rarely been this fun. The game was made by the folks who did the Sly Cooper games, and that is a compliment in itself. Fast paced, wickedly entertaining, this game has the moves and knows how to use them.
Graphics: 9.2
Another plus in the game is the boss designs, the varied gangs that rule the streets and the lurch in your gut you get when you jump off a high building, seriously, it gives your stomach the heebie jeebies.
Audio: 9.0
Cole sounds a bit more tough guy then I would have pegged a courier to sound like, but he does deliver his lines correctly and that included the genuine inflection when breaking the bad news to an electrician who's wife was murdered.
Difficulty: Medium/Hard
You will die and the game makes it so you pick up relatively close to where you were when you croaked. Getting flanked by the somewhat surprisingly smart A.I. will tick you off, having super powers does not mean you can be bullish about things.
Concept: 9.5
A super hero game with moral and ethical choices that's fun to boot. The game can be a bit heavy handed in how you make your choices, but still, it works well.
Overall: 9.3
I really do think this game is the real deal. Its a shame there hasn't been a bigger marketing push for it, I could see this becoming a mega franchise. Let me put it to you this way, if you own a PS3 then you must own this game.


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