Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Massive Electrostatic Discharge

Infamous, an early ps3 exclusive title, is a superhero game without the trappings and the inherent baggage which comes with a superhero movie adaptation, since as history has proven, outside of the Spider-Man games, most such adaptations have failed deplorably. Cole MacGrath's electrical powers are intimately linked with the game's mythology, and the game's design and world-building are a case of quality over quantity.

I have played few exceptional free-roaming, or sandbox, games; chief among them, Rockstar Vancouver's Bully, which takes place in the confined Bullworth Academy, yet this is made up for with strong characters and a good premise. Only one other worthy title comes to mind; Team Bondi's The Getaway, which puts the player in a lovingly crafted London. Does Infamous offer a spin to the age-old GTA formula, and not fizzle out like a certain recent game?

To begin with, Infamous' Empire City is very much alive; you can even go into the sewers, and the fact that it is small is utilized as an advantage, since it is exploited to maximum capacity. Little details like bystanders snapping photos of you, TVs that play news reports and commercials, and, of course, the fact that there are enemies wreaking havoc in territories you have to clear, make this a thorough world. Your pal Zeke, offers comic relief, while the game plays like a more violent version of the movie Hancock. I had listened to the soundtrack by techno-virtuoso Amon Tobin beforehand, and I must say it is truly fantastic. The motion-comic cut-scenes are also quite well designed.
Some degree of strategy is necessary to fight against your enemies, the Reapers, the Dust Men and the First Sons; like taking cover, or holding from ledges, while you blast them with electricity; the routine of blasting away and recharging on any city device that runs on electricity never gets old. The city is quite interactive, with pipes you can climb, antennas which can be tumbled over to use as bridges, and power cables which you can hang from or slide on; the latter grants a tremendous sense of freedom, like Spidey swinging from a web. Cole's physical prowess is partially explained, when the main character states at one point, that he is an urban exploration aficionado.
The game employs an ambitious karma system, sort of like a good Jedi vs. dark Jedi path, taking into account certain decisions you make throughout the story, in addition to whether you decide to heal or "leech" injured civilians. There is also a basic talent tree, to upgrade your powers. Taking these things into account, it could be said the game has a respectable dose of action-rpg elements. Last, but not least, the main missions, and some side-quests, are actually quite fun. Having bought the Infamous Collection, which comes with both ps3 games, as well as DLC, I am certainly looking forward to experiencing the complete story. One of the ps3's finest games.