A little over two years ago I reviewed a game by the name of Infamous. I thought the gameplay was a lot of fun, but that the story was poorly written, shallow, and eye rollingly bad at times. Still, at the end of the day I gave the game an “Above Average” score and felt it was worth playing, but nowhere near the hype Sony gave the thing. My fellow Diehard GameFAN staffers, like Ian and Chuck, wholeheartedly agreed, and at the end of 2009, Infamous wasn’t even remotely considered for our end of the year awards – not even as a nominee. Now it’s 2011 and Sucker Punch is bringing us Infamous 2 on June 7th. They also have provided Sony gamers with a demo, and it was one of the first things I snagged from the PSN store once it went up… besides review copies and DLC I had codes for but was unable to access. After finishing the demo, I decided to whip up a quick ten thoughts about my experiences with it and if the game is a step forward or backwards from the original game.
1. Wow, that is some bad voice acting to start off. The new Cole’s voice really grates on the ears. Kuo’s voice is equally terrible. It’s mumbling with a lisp. Voice acting across the board in this game is some of the worst I’ve heard in years. How did these people get cast? Then again, looking back at my review of the first Infamous, the voice acting was pretty bad there too.
2. The game looks decent. Character models are underwhelming. Sucker Punch seems to have a noticeable issue with long hair, and so everyone in the demo, male or female, is sporting very short hair… or no hair at all. I have to admit, I was hoping for an improvement on character designs, but I actually think people looked better in the first Infamous. Cities, however look better. There’s a lot of detail and colour that was missing from the first game, so I’m happy to see that. Finally, who drives slower than one can walk on uncrowded streets? This annoyed me in the first game and it’s just as bad here.
3. They’ve added a finishing move to melee combat. It’s cute, but pointless. I did it a few times, but it got old fast. There also doesn’t seem to be a reason to really do it. Of course, this is just a demo, so perhaps in the full game, it will give extra XP, a small recharge of your powers or something.
4. The map in the demo is awful. It’s mostly gray, white and black, but none of the actual markers match up with the design or colour of the legend. For example, the legend says a waypoint should be a purple dot, but on the actual map, it’s a white star. How on earth could the game make that big of a mistake? That’s bush league, even for a demo. At least this only appears to happen in the first mission in the demo. By the time you access the next one, things seem to be fixed. Because of this, I’m really hoping this is a demo issue only. If not, things are pretty sad.
5. The plot of the good aligned mission basically has Cole looking for a Macguffin when the lab of his friend, Wolfe, explodes. Cole comes to make sure he is okay, Wolfe remarks that Cole looks just like Kessler, but the game then continues to sidestep the whole “Cole IS Kessler” relationship, meaning it’s a whitewash or a bad attempt at trying to not spoil the game for someone who inexplicably picked up the second before the first. Blah blah blah, another MacGuffin in the Ray Sphere Inhibitor that takes away powers, and then a THIRD MacGuffin that makes Cole more powerful, and so on. Three MacGuffins in less than an hour? Jesus Christ, that’s worse than most fan fiction. Much like the first Infamous, this game is fun to play, but the plot, writing and characterization are awful. Sucker Punch seriously needs to hire someone that can write.
6. What is nice about the demo is that it lets you play missions as both a good aligned and an evil aligned Cole. It’s a nice idea, but without a show of the different powers you get and the choices you make, someone new to the Infamous games won’t get that this has happened. They’ll just think Cole’s lightning has changed colours. Good idea, poor execution. It was nice to see that Cole looks different depending on which alignment you play. Evil Cole is noticeably paler and has a lot of varicose veins.
7. Playing Infamous 2 is exactly like playing the first, but with a few new powers. It’s basically more of the same. No real innovation, just the exact same running around, zapping people and performing missions. If you liked the first, you MIGHT be okay with this. Otherwise you’ll be asking why is it almost exactly the same as the first game and why did we need a second one if that is the case? People that were unimpressed with the original should just stay the hell away and save their money because, again, it’s almost the exact same game. Hell, even the NPCs have the same exact animations.
8. I love that the game rewards you for killing street performers. That’s not the only new mini quest. You can attack people that have blast shards on them, stop kidnappings and other mini activities that don’t count as missions per say, but are very much a part of the game world. This is a welcome change as it means there is always something to do.
9. The missions in the demo were pretty dull. For the good aligned Cole, you have to find an energy core and then get to Wolfe’s lab. There’s also a medical package fetch quest. For the evil aligned Cole, you have to kill everyone in a gang war, then free a sacrificial victim and follow her through a trail of monster thingies. Again, much like the first Infamous, the demo of Infamous 2 is mostly padding and repetitive fluff, and not enough quality substance. I was pretty bored through the whole thing.
10. I found the first Infamous to be an above average game, but nowhere as good as the hype tried to make it out to be. It was an okay, but noticeably flawed, game. Since the demo just appears to be more of the same without any real improvements, I’m aghast and disappointed in Sucker Punch. Infamous 2 just feels like a quick cash grab from the demo. Since a demo is supposed to highlight a game at its best, this is a red flag for me to stay away. I sure won’t be purchasing this thing based off the lackluster demo and I can’t image anyone else who played it will be all that impressed either. If you want to pay $60 for a sequel that is just more of the same for a game that didn’t need a sequel in the first place, I guess Infamous 2 is the game for you. Whatever. It’s your money people.