Over the past few years, the image of vampires in certain films and other media has transformed from gruesome, evil monsters into misunderstood, vulnerable things. Thankfully, games have stayed away from this horrible portrayal of the bloodsuckers. In fact: games have stayed quite far away from vampires altogether in the recent past – until now.[drop2]Sucker Punch could have stuck with what seems to be becoming the norm and gone with Zombies but, to be honest, Electric Man versus Zombies doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? So, in this new, standalone inFamous adventure – beginning in the previously unavailable Catacombs of New Marais, during the storyline of inFamous 2 – Cole comes face to face with a gang of malevolent, superpowered vampires.
After becoming a bloodsucker himself, Cole must hunt down his maker – Bloody Mary – an evil, twisted vampire who serves as the basis for the tale behind Pyre Night – New Marais’ own Halloween – before the sun rises and he’s stuck with this curse. Cole has new powers, abilities and even a new makeshift melée weapon which he uses to stake his vampiric foes, along with many of his electricity-based ones from inFamous 2. It’s a novel horror twist based on an excellent game, developed by a great studio – it would’ve been hard to miss the mark and I can assure you that it doesn’t.
To put it simply, thanks to Sucker Punch, vampires are extremely cool once again.
Since it’s based around Pyre Night, you can expect to see many festivities going on: fires burn, street performers perform, fireworks explode into the night sky; it’s still the same first island that we’ve explored in inFamous 2 but it feels more alive than ever. You’ll instantly know exactly what to expect control-wise if you’ve played inFamous 2, and it’ll be explained in a short tutorial if you haven’t – though you might feel as if you’ve been thrown in the deep end at the beginning.
Cole’s new powers, are, as you’d expect, vampire-themed: you’re able to fly around the city in a swarm of bats for a short while, until your blood meter depletes and you have to find another victim’s neck in order to recharge it. It’s an awesome ability – even more so when it’s been upgraded, which you’ll achieve by doing various tasks in the game, such as staking a certain number of vampires. Another new power is a vampire vision of sorts, it distorts the world, allowing Cole to clearly see hidden vampires, jars of blood (to increase his blood meter) and other various things.
Festival of Blood is entertaining from the start right up until the end – Zeke returns and cements his friendship with Cole – and the new characters, Bloody Mary in particular, are great additions. The story isn’t perfect – it’s told well enough but there are some issues; for example, Cole seems very calm about becoming a vampire. But then, if you think about it, why wouldn’t he be? He’s been through so much, he has electricity coursing through him, so it’s understandable that vampires aren’t the strangest thing on his mind. The vampires themselves are explained reasonably well and it all fits in with the inFamous Universe snugly.[drop]Perhaps the reason why Festival of Blood is so entertaining all the way through is how short it actually is; a single playthrough, if you’ve played inFamous before, shouldn’t take much longer than two hours. Still, there’s jars of blood to be collected, powers to upgrade, necks to bite and audio logs in the form of Mary’s teachings to find around New Marais. Yet even with all of that, Festival of Blood won’t last more than three or four hours.
And that’s where the killer feature comes in, though it’s one we’ve already seen in inFamous 2: User Generated Content. Yes, players are once again able to create their own missions, play others and rate them, and there’s an array of new Pyre-themed objects to choose from. This could potentially double or triple the time you spend with Festival of Blood – whether you’re creating levels, playing them or just playing about with the features. There’s also a new feature in the UGC creator – you’re able to make your own comic-style cutscenes; something that was missing from inFamous 2’s UGC.
Someone has even continued the storyline of Festival right from where it ends, and the comic scenes really help to make it feel like part of the story; it’s just a fantastic addition.
- Some of the best vampires in a game in years
- It’s a better horror twist than the usual zombie breakout
- UGC is marvellous and extends the length of the game
- Story is actually done quite well
- Cole’s new powers and old ones alike are grand
- Main story is short and not fleshed out
- Location is largely familiar ground
- Sucker Punch have relied too much on UGC to carry the game
- Take away the vampires and you’ve got a smaller version of inFamous 2
So, there we have it – Festival of Blood is a bite of inFamous action, and the vampiric twist really adds to the enjoyment, though the locations are largely the same (albeit with a festival theme) and the main story is just too short. If you’re a fan of inFamous, though, you shouldn’t miss this and for the relatively low asking price it’s definitely worth a look. The UGC really adds to the game and if people keep making quality levels then you’ll no doubt be going back for more.
It’s quite simple really: badass vampires are awesome, inFamous is brilliant and a combination of both makes for a short but sweet adventure. Cole’s “Demon of New Marais” tag has never suited him more and, for as short as it is, Festival of Blood is definitely worth sinking your teeth into.