The lights are on
*Warning, this review contains spoilers for the first inFAMOUS, and minor spoilers for inFAMOUS 2.*
The Beast is coming, and Cole MacGrath has to stop it. This is the start and driving point of inFAMOUS 2's story, and it's a pretty scary thought. The Beast, who is a giant, humanoid monster, is going to destroy Cole's home-town (Empire City) along with the entire world if he can't stop it. No pressure or anything.
inFAMOUS 2 throws you right into the action at the very beginning of the game, forcing you to fight the Beast in a one-on-one battle. As you may have guessed, Cole loses this fight and has to retreat to a city farther in the south, known as New Marais. Once there, Cole earns new powers, gets stronger, and meets some colorful new allies along the way.
For Cole to get more powerful, he has to collect six items known as Blast Cores. These Blast Cores not only give Cole new powers, they're used to power a device called the RFI, which the characters need to destroy the Beast. Getting new powers is the driving force to the gameplay, as they're always much more useful than the ones you already have. One of the earlier powers, the Ionic Vortex, is probably my favorite power to ever appear in a video game.
The gameplay in inFAMOUS 2 is the greatest part of the experience. The satisfying combat, platforming, and navigation of the world can take hours of your day, before you even do a single mission. For the melee combat, Cole uses a weapon known as the Amp, which looks like a tuning fork and works like a bat. To my surprise, I found myself using the Amp more than Cole's lightning powers. The melee combat is just that satisfying and efficent, a nice change from the first game.
The thing that isn't better than the first game however, is the story. It's not that it was bad, it's just... strange; a common case of the questions being more interesting than the pay-offs. There were literally parts in the story where I was thinking, "They're kidding, right?". I'm not going to spoil them here, but you'll know what I'm talking about if you play inFAMOUS 2.
With that said, the characters of the story are fantastic. The interactions with Cole and his friend Zeke, along with their new allies, feel extremely sincere. The voice actors do a fantastic job of selling who the characters are, especially Cole, who actually has a personality now. There are a lot of funny and memorable lines and scenes, putting inFAMOUS 2 right up there with games like Mass Effect and Uncharted in terms of characters.
One last thing that I wanted to touch on are the graphics. While not mind-blowing, they certainly aren't hard to look at. The draw distance is better than the first game, and there's not a ton of pop-in anymore. I also didn't experience much slowdown, unless things were completely filling the screen.
In closing, inFAMOUS 2 is a fun, but flawed game. For every good character interaction, cutscene or awesome new power, there's a repetitive mission, or dumb story moment. While certainly not the greatest game of this year, it's definitely worth a play, especially if you liked the first game.
"Colorful allies" haha, race joke?
nevertheless, a very well put together review