Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Post-Launch Review
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Released: June 2011
Played: story complete, 100% shards and dead drops 

Note: much of this review is comparison to the first game since the story depends somewhat strongly on knowledge of the first


The beast that Kessler warned of arrived in Empire City, and superhero Cole McGrath was not as ready as he thought. Empire City is destroyed and Cole's injuries have drained him of most of his electrical powers. Moving south to New Marais, and followed by the beast, Cole needs to amplify his powers - but to do so he'll have to combat a militia that hunts conduits like Cole as dangerous freaks.

At Launch

inFAMOUS 2 was well received, earning average review scores of 83%. Reviewers enjoyed the story, updated graphics, and movement abilities, the gameplay differences between good/evil, and the user-generated content. The most common criticism was of the camera during melee combat.

Post Launch

Several updates were released; the most recent ones add additional options for creating user-generated content.
There were a bunch of powers and item skins available as pre-order bonuses which later became available as DLC.
inFAMOUS 2 was re-released (along with 1, Festival of Blood, and all DLC) in the inFAMOUS Collection. Festival of Blood review here as of Sept. 9th 2014.


inFAMOUS 2 has a much better start than its predecessor. Right away I noticed that some of my biggest complaints about the first game have been eliminated. Cole gets depowered early in the game in his first confrontation with the Beast, but you keepthe movement powers, which is a great choice, both for convenience and for a fresh start that doesn't feel like a progress wipe. There are other movement powers to unlock, and there are some vertical power lines that make climbing buildings much quicker. Even the annoyances I had with climbing have been improved: dropping off buildings is easier, and Cole's stickiness is at about the right level - though I often had to make several tries to get onto the vertical boost cables.

Unlocking new powers is more interesting, too: when a new power becomes available, you have to unlock it for purchase by pulling specific stunts, and only then can you buy it with XP. For example, to unlock the more powerful Magnum lightning blast, you need to score 10 head shocks. This is nice because it forces you to try out a few stunts you might not have pulled off before, without being too challenging.

And a lot of the new powers are really cool. I played good so I didn't get to try the fire powers, but the ice powers are excellent - especially the big blast that doesn't hit civilians at all. I especially loved the new movement powers that make getting around a lot smoother and faster. The ice launch + improved impulse combo makes staying on rooftops a breeze, and was my favourite - until I unlocked lightning tether, which practically lets you fly across the city.

Graphics are much improved as well. Environments and characters have much more detail. The first game's Empire City is somewhat barren in comparison, which I didn't notice until I had a visually-improved sequel to compare to. The city districts are more defined than in the first game, especially Flood Town and the industrial area. Actually I was quite worried about Flood Town at first because of all the deadly water, but there are a lot of cables and short buildings around, so it's actually very quick and easy to get around without dying.

The story was quite good - still embracing a lot of comic book elements, which is great for me as a comic book fan. The twists and reveals are intriguing and exciting, and I enjoyed how a lot of the karma moments are structured as a choice between both people and methods, as opposed to just "be a dick or don't".

There was one story point that made me do a double-take. As the Beast is just outside New Marais, Zeke rolls up with a (highlight for spoiler) nuclear missile he apparently just happened to come across, that the militia just happened to have lying around. What?! That's not something you just stumble across! If you find all the audio logs it becomes a fair bit more plausible, but the materials involved are still heavily monitored and difficult to access.

I have mixed feelings about the finale. I found the last boss battle pretty underwhelming - very easy with no need to move. While there was technically some time pressure between stages, it was so slow that I hardly noticed. All I really had to do was mash some buttons until the boss' health bar went down. 

On the other hand, the final karma choice was quite a pleasant surprise. For quite a while it looked like the game was drawing to an inevitable conclusion, but the final choice turned out to have a much bigger weight than I expected. Also, highlight for spoilers: the good and evil allies reverse their stances and offer differing opinions. The good one suddenly wants to stop you because she's scared of dying, and the evil one has finally realized the impact of what's going on. It gives everyone a bit more depth. And while the concluding narration felt a little bit too matter-of-fact and not emotional enough, the end of the story is pretty satisfying.

I didn't touch the user-generated content (UGC) until after I finished the story. It's pretty well implemented. By default, the top rated missions are presented to you, and you can choose to alter your criteria. Some missions belong to series that you can follow with a UI option on completing the first. They don't tend to be particularly complex, but there's some fun stuff. My only complaint is that they don't award very much experience. After finishing the story and clearing the map, I found myself a little short on XP to purchase my last power, and figured I'd close the gap with UGC missions. But I need about 1,000 XP, and the missions I played awarded 50 to 140 XP each. I wouldn't have to do that many missions, but what if I hadn't already collected so much XP?

Before I wrap things up, how about that DLC? I played with most of the DLC powers, and some were useful with some intriguing properties (like being able to absorb electricity from the electrocution grenade), but I ended up just sticking with all the normal unlocks. The DLC power that saw the most use was the Sniper Blast, which is useful for knocking enemies off rooftops at long range, but still situational because the blast is too small to easily deflect rockets.

Recommendation: play it after the first inFAMOUS.

inFAMOUS 2 is an improvement in just about every way, but the story assumes you've played the first game so you should do that first. There are more powers, greater mobility, better visuals, higher stakes, and more interesting choices. Making the powers more significantly different between good/evil playthroughs provides a good degree of replayability since it's not just a few cutscenes that change, it's how you actually play the game. And the UGC gives you a steady stream of new stuff to do even after you've finished the game.

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