Oh inFamous, how much fun I had with you back in the day. For those who don’t know, inFamous was released for the PS3 back in 2009. The game was developed by Sucker Punch, who previously made the damn excellent Sly Cooper games. The game is styled after a comic book and is the story of Cole McGrath, a bike messenger given amazing powers when he’s caught in the middle of an explosion. Cole is trying to survive in a quarantined city with the help of his best friend Zeke. The city was quarantined by the government, because after the explosion, a plague appeared in the city. The only way for Cole to be able to leave the city is to learn who was behind the explosion and why it caused a plague.
The gameplay is based around his powers of electricity, allowing you to fire bolts out of your hands, throw little electricity bombs and regain your health by absorbing power from various electrical things such as street lights. There is also an option for melee combat but it feels like a very last-minute addition and really isn’t up to much. This was improved on in the sequels but for this game I would forget about getting up close and personal.
The game made a big deal of its karma system, which works like almost any other games karma system. You make saint like or comically evil choices, neither of which any rational person would do, and progress down the path to Hero rank or Infamous rank. These over the top choices are silly, as they always are, but given the comic book setting of the game it works rather well as all of the game is fairly mad.
Depending on which karma path you go down there are a lot of little changes, nothing amazing but things that can change the way you play and some other small touches that were lovely to see. You can get different types of abilities depending on whether you’re good or evil and how far down the path you are. One amazing one I like which is on the Hero path and it’s the ability to create a shield in front of you that absorbs bullets and turns them into power.
There are small actions that can affect your karma balance during the game, helping an artist design posters of you, beating up buskers and hurting civilians will push you into the red while trying to stop a mugging will spread news of the hero Cole. However the most important moments are big pivotal events, an early one in the game sees a food package air dropped into the city. The food got caught on a statue and no one could reach it. Once you climb the tower and knock the food down the game gives you the option. Let the mob of people take the food, or scare them off and take all the food for yourself. One nice little feature is if you are infamous the citizens of the city will be fed up with you and try to hinder your progress when they can, by throwing rocks at you while climbing for example.
A touch I loved back then, and still do now is how the cut scenes were done. They weren’t just normally animated in engine like most games, but rather they took the form of an animated comic book, with panels sliding in accompanied by a voice over talking about the events the cut scene was portraying.
The game takes place over three islands known as Empire City (based on New York City), with only one accessible at the start of the game. Each island has its own plot thread that all tie into the main plot of Cole trying to find out who set him up with the exploding package that started this whole thing. The plot of the game is bloody fantastic, one of my favourite game plots there is. I can’t and won’t spoil anything because I feel it’s just something that needs to be experienced.
There are three main factions in the game that you will come up against. The motivation behind this confrontation changing with the karma meter. If you’re on the path to being a hero you’ll stand up to the thugs to protect the normal people in the city. While if you’re aiming to be infamous you’ll be taking down these rival gangs so you and you alone have total control over the quarantined city.
The first group is the Reaper gang who are controlled by Sasha and in control of the Neon District, the games first island. On the next island, the Warren District, you will find Alden who leads the Dust Men Gang. Meanwhile the final island will see you come up against Kessler and the First Sons in the Historic District. Each group has their own tactics and enemy variations combined with different superpowers.
The game is hands down one of my favourite PS3 games! Everything from the solid gameplay to the brilliant story to the fact it really does feel like you’re playing through a comic book. It really does feel like you’ve entered a city and a scenario where you can choose what you want to do with your powers. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has the means to play it. I would say that you should try to go in as blind as you can. Don’t read up on the story or anything, just experience it, trust me.