Sunday, 23 February 2014

PS3 Catch-up: inFamous

With the release of inFamous: Second Son only a few weeks away now, I thought it would be a good chance to actually play the original titles on the PS3. I got the original inFamous when I got my PS3 last Christmas and it kind of got buried in the rush to play games like Heavy Rain and Uncharted. So it was with some guilt that I booted up the game after not touching it for a year.

inFamous for those who do not already know focuses on bike courier, Cole McGrath and his encounter with a deadly package he was delivering. This package exploded and wiped out several thousand citizens of Empire City, except Cole survived. not only did he survive, he had been given the ability to control electricity through his body, like a conduit. Meanwhile, not knowing the nature of the explosion, the government quarantined the entire city, leaving the remaining populace to the fend off the street gang and psychos who had overrun the city after the incident. Cole needs to find out what happened to him and he will do anything to find what was in that package and who set him up. Whether he does this as the hero of Empire City or the scourge of it, is down to the player.

The game uses he familiar open world sandbox mechanic that was made famous with the GTA series. Empire City is split into three separate island districts, with only one island available to Cole when the game starts. As you would expect the city has main story missions which allow you to open the the other areas and move forward in Cole's story. Then there are the usual array of collectibles for the OCD in all of us. These take the form of blast shards that when enough are collected increase your electricity reserves. As well as this, you can take on side quests dotted around the city. Once completed successfully, you claim a small section back under control and enemies will not appear back in those zones.

During missions Cole will be forced into making a moral choice. The consequences of these choices affect how the city act towards Cole. For example, early on in the game Cole is forced to choose whether to give a supply of food to the citizens or to keep it for himself and his friends. These moral choices also appear in map as good or evil side quests. All of these moral choices that you make, ultimately determine what kind of power upgrades you can access. Good powers are more focused and precise, where as evil powers are more destructive and wild.

Traveling around the city can also be challenging as, Cole does not have the ability to fly, but is am accomplished free runner. I found that the climbing mechanic in this game to be much more precise than the Assassins Creed games. Cole can also use a static thruster ability (once unlocked) to float slowly to the ground or between buildings. His other transport option is to ride on electric cables or grind the railway lines dotted around the city. The bonus to this is that riding on them restores your energy reserves at the same time.

inFamous looks good for a game of its age. Made in 2009 it was consider to be one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 3 at the time. Even now it still has the looks and the special effects of Cole's powers are stunning. I like the gritty realism to the city that is not seen so much in a Superhero game. Empire City looks like it has been through a massive catastrophe and towards the end of the game the, as you lock more of the city, the epicentre of the explosion that started it all is quite a sight.

Having access to super powers doesn't mean that this game is going to be easy. inFamous is difficult, particularly in the early stages of the game when you have limited powers. Where Sucker Punch have been clever is that whilst it is hard and the odds can be seriously stacked against you. You never feel that it is impossible. Thanks to a forgiving checkpoint system. The advantage of this is that by the time you get to the end of the game and have unlock all powers and upgrade, you actually feel like you have gained power and strength and you are ready to take on larger groups. I really felt like I had taken part in proper origin story and by the time I had finished Cole was the beloved hero of Empire City (I just can't play the bad guy in games).

Special mention to the story and he twist in the end. Never saw it coming and was a cool twist at the end. All leading up to a sequel, which thanks to PlayStation Plus is sat on the PS3 right now and ready to go.

If you are one of the lucky people who have a PS4 and still have access to a PS3, whilst you are waiting for Second Son, go back an visit the game that started it all. It is a brilliant open world game and one of the best Superhero games available.

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