Video Games

inFAMOUS game review

The original, the one that started it all, released in 2009 and finally played by me in 2016. Was it worth the wait? Eh, I thought it was just okay.

inFAMOUS is a superhero origin story. You play as Cole, a simple courier in Empire City, who is mysteriously tasked with delivering a ‘special package’ that blows up a good portion of the city and grants Cole electricity based super powers. The story follows from this initial event in a sort of haphazard and disjointed way. There are a lot of moving parts, some of which are interesting, but it never coalesces into strong narrative.

The game’s strong points are its karma system and gameplay. You can play Cole as a benevolent hero, or a destructive anti-hero. The choice influences your powers as well as how the inhabitants of Empire City respond to you. There are certain obvious moments where you choose a ‘good’ or ‘evil’ option, however just the way you play influences it as well. Do you obliterate enemies without concern for collateral damage? Do you stop and heal people in need? It becomes something you think about throughout the game.

Cole’s powers are well implemented. You can do a variety of useful things which allows you to approach fights in a tactical way. Using powers is easy and the action tends to flow well because of it. Basic character and camera movement are satisfactory and climbing while a bit simplistic, makes moving about the city generally enjoyable. My only complaint is that jumping is a bit too ‘sticky’. You tend to grab surfaces and ledges when you don’t want to any time your feet leave the ground.

Mission variety is okay for the main story missions. The side missions however, definitely get tedious after a while. The game is open world, so you’re free to choose when to take on any particular mission, but free exploring isn’t particularly rewarding. There are no buildings that can be entered, so you’re left running, climbing, and grinding along wires and rails all outdoors. Aside from side missions, the only thing there is to do is find blast shards and heal/kill civilians and enemies. I spent a fair amount of time finding blast shards (which increase your power reserve) but that effort was mostly wasted as you never really need a ton of power in reserve.

Voice acting is adequate, if a bit cheesy. Writing is solid. Visuals are dated but there is enough detail to make Empire City feel like a real, lived in place. Cut-scenes are in a hand drawn comic book style which fits the story, however the overall drab color scheme works against that style. The music is just kind of there, neither detracting from nor enhancing the action on screen.

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