Reviews// inFamous

Once you've spent a bit of time with a reasonably well disguised tutorial...

Posted 20 May 2009 17:00 by
inFamous. Frankly, it's difficult to know where to start, given the size of the damn thing. Wait! I said 'damn' didn't I? That makes it sound bad. It's not bad ? quite the opposite, in fact. Argh! Brain fart! When not knowing where to start, the start seems like a good idea.

In the beginning, there was light. A big blue expanding light. Then there's a great big acne pock on the Empire City's landcape with Cole, you're new bezzie mate, staggering around looking like he's spent a bit too long sniffing turps. Then there's a huge great massive game in which you run around with an ever-increasing number of superpowers, being good and/or evil, free-running, exploring, feeling cool as all f**k and generally having a rollicking good time.

The plot revolves around the aforementioned crazy blue explosion and the superpowers it has given Cole. The explosion has left the city in a bit of a state. With typical rioting, looting, abandonment by the authorities, quarantine and rise of the mutant gangs, it's not a nice place to be. You have to decide whether you're going to be a nice chap and help out as much as you can, or a nasty chap and look after yourself at the expense of all others. You also have to get to the bottom of what the bloody, blazing hell caused the accident in the first place.

You might, at this point, be wondering why you should give a toss if you're evil. ***MILD SPOILER INVOLVING CLEVER PLOT DEVICE ALERT!!!*** Sucker Punch, the developer behind your walk into inFamy, has a way around just that problem. The thing is, your main missions in the game are dished up by Moya, the FBI agent who caught you in the act of trying to leave the quarantined city. She's letting you out of there if (and only if!) you find her husband, who was investigating the shadowy group responsible for sending your city down the crapper. If you're a good guy, you probably just want to help. If you're baddie, you just want out. Either way, you're doing the same stuff.

'In that case what's the point in those damnable moral choices?' you're asking. In a nutshell ? by choosing different paths you get a bit of variation in your powers, some different in-game movies and, if you're bad you look undeniably cooler, redder and a bit Sith.

I took the good route, however. Because I'm like that.

I'm notably hard to interest when it comes to game narratives, and inFamous succeeded in engaging my attention with its plot. It is largely well handled. Cole's Frank Miller-esque (I thought Clint Eastwood. EE Tyrion reckons it's Travis Bickle mixed with Philip Marlowe) monologues pay suitable homage to the game's superhero roots, without slipping too far into the realm of cliché. Similarly, I was pleased to see the cutscenes use a sketchy, comics-influenced style without resorting to primary colours, and no "BIFF!!!'s" appearing all over the place.

Once you've spent a bit of time with a reasonably well disguised tutorial, it's on to getting stuck into the missions that are sent your way. As well as the objectives that come from Moya, your mate Zeke (means well, a bit useless, apparently-Elvis-loving comic relief) will sometimes ask you for help and provide information; your ex-girlfriend Trish (holds you responsible for the destruction and death of her sister) sometimes whines that she needs help and occasionally other folk will pop up to demand your attention. The danger of falling into turgid GTA IV territory is, however, avoided.
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config 20 May 2009 16:37

And by that, I mean; let me be the first to add that from the short play I had and the less short watching others play, this is one game that's great fun to play. Its parkour-ish-ness may be less glamorous than Mirror's Edge, but it feels a who heap more like parkour appears to be when the master do it - bouncing from wall to wall, using any nook/cranny, protuberance or overhang to boost over obtacles, make flight across the rooftops and scale Empire City's edifices - and not a single glowing orange "this way, dumbass" marker required.

That's not to Mirror's Edge was bad, just that this feels better.
tyrion 20 May 2009 18:42
I'd like to add that the parkour navigation is way, way more fluid than in Assassin's Creed and a lot more fun.

I've been playing the SPOnG review copy and I'm till buying this game when it comes out, because I'm never going to get enough time on it if I'm competing with everybody else to play it.
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config 20 May 2009 21:16
@tyrion don't be surprised if the save for the review copy doesn't work with retail and you have to start afresh.
Dannybuoy 28 May 2009 14:21
my copy landed on my door mat this morning! Shame my PS3 is all packed up and going into storage until I move to my new house.. (could be a month or so... dagnamit!). I'm sure it'll be every bit as fun when I do manage to get it all set up and running again. Can't wait!
sparky 28 May 2009 14:40
@Dannybuoy nooo you have to unpack it and at least give a quick play
Dannybuoy 1 Jun 2009 08:00

I did manage to get a quick play on Sunday and I must say its a great game so far. The controls feel pretty good. Can't wait to get stuck into it properly.
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