Infamous

In my seemingly never ending quest to finish a nice backlog of PS3 games before the PS4 comes out, I’m currently playing through Infamous, the open world game which lets you play as a man who has recently acquired super powers.  I’ve heard nothing but good things regarding this franchise… so how is it, exactly?

Personally, I think the game lacks a little something.  You spend far too long tackling the same sort of missions over and over again.  Go here, protect them, escort them, keep an eye on them without being spotted, blah blah blah.  Also, there are side missions for you to tackle, but these are the ones that end up feeling the most repetitive after all is said and done… but you sort of HAVE to do them.  Why?  Well, every time you help someone out in the city, that particular ‘zone’ is cleared of all crime.  This game mechanic is sort of similar to clearing out hoods in GTA: San Andreas.  Actually cleaning up the city before you try to accomplish the main storyline makes your life a lot easier, because bad guys are always shooting at you from every perceivable angle otherwise.  But, the repetitive game structure is really a small complaint in the grand scheme of things.

For being the first game in a series, Infamous is really pretty solid.  The storyline is cool, and the game does a decent job at staggering when you acquire new powers throughout its entirety.  Granted, I’m only 33% into the game right now (with a lot of time having been spent on side jobs), but I’m still unlocking powers and grinning like an idiot from ear to ear when I get to try them out for the first time.  Once you spend some time upgrading everything… just, woah.  That’s when things REALLY start to get fun.

See, your character has the ability to harness electricity without feeling like he’s hooked his nuts up to a car battery, so there’s plenty he can do – He can fire short bursts of lightning, chuck some lightning grenades, he can crash down from rooftops and shock nearby enemies, and a bunch more.  There’s even something I’d call a ‘force push’, which can really knock a lot of enemies on their ass.  The powers you can unlock actually differ depending on ‘how’ you play the game…

…And by that, I mean if you choose to serve your city as a beacon for hope, or if you want to be an evil sonnofabitch and destroy everyone and everything in sight.  The choice is yours, although it’s important to note that the game’s ‘good ending’ is always going to be considered canon moving forward.  This sort of ‘good or evil’ thing isn’t really new, but it’s VERY cool how the devs decided to let you figure out what you wanted to do with your newfound powers.  The last game I’ve probably played with this implementation of morality and how it shapes your character, was Fable II… which was just a boring piece of shit (honestly, I don’t see what people see in that lackluster franchise).  Infamous actually makes this mechanic work.

After all is said and done, Infamous is too fun to put down.  I just know I’m going to end up plunking a TON of hours into this game, and yet I don’t even care (I’m a husband and a father so game time is limited), because it’s just THAT awesome to waste bad guys on such a large scale.  Its biggest problem is that it doesn’t really feel like it’s broken any new ground – Honestly, you mash up an earlier Grand Theft Auto game with Crackdown, mix in some good storytelling, and there you have it – Infamous.  I know my initial opinion here seems lukewarm, but on the contrary, I’m actually quite excited to move on to Infamous 2 at some point in the not too distant future, and I’m DEFINITELY excited to see Infamous: Second Son when it drops on the PS4 in 2014.

If you haven’t played these games yet, you can score the ‘Infamous Collection’, which comes complete with all downloadable content, for $30 or less.

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