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PlayBack: inFamous 2

Can lightning strike twice?

The original inFAMOUS is without doubt one of the best super-hero games ever devised. Developed by Sucker Punch, the ambitious open-world title told an original story of a regular man bestowed with extraordinary powers. Through the game’s Karma system, players took up the narrative reins, steering lead protagonist Cole McGrath towards good or evil.

Furthermore, the game also managed to refine many of the mechanics and features championed by leading third person shooters, Gears of War and Uncharted. Combining these elements with a suite of electric-based powers, the creators of Sly Raccoon had struck gold once again. More than four years after its release, inFAMOUS still holds up remarkably well is definitely one of the best PlayStation exclusives to ever hit the market.

With widespread acclaim, it’s no surprise that Sucker Punch immediately got to work on a sequel. However, when inFAMOUS 2 was first shown to the public at Sony’s E3 2010 press conference, the overall reaction was mixed to say the least.

A lot of the negativity was poised at Cole McGrath himself.  Since ground zero and his ordeal in Empire City, the protagonist underwent a number of cosmetic changes. Firstly, the generic buzz cut was gone. Then a myriad of tattoos began to appear. Finally, it was announced that Eric Laden (The Killing) would take over as voice actor. Personally, I was completely fine with the changes: if anything they added some much needed character, though it wasn’t to be.

Responding to feedback, something much closer to the old Cole McGrath returned, suited and booted for his adventure in New Marais.

Best Bit


As with the original inFAMOUS, the sequel’s main strengths lay within both narrative and gameplay. Leading directly on from the events of the original, Cole narrowly avoids death as an entity known as “The Beast” manifests and begins obliterating Empire City. In search of new powers and a way to thwart this powerful foe, he and Zeke travel to New Marais, a southern American city likened to New Orleans.

Throughout the game you encounter a number of key characters, some of which have powers of their own. The main takeaway however was the introduction of “Conduits”, this concept that a minority of the population have powers waiting to be awakened. The Karma system also made a return and, even though it hadn’t evolved much, still gave a convincing reason to start a second playthrough to witness both story endings.

Gameplay, on the other hand, did see a few notable improvements. New powers made their way into the mix, making navigation even quicker and combat more diverse. Enemies were varied and often provided the perfect level of challenge too.

Worst Bit


Across the board, inFAMOUS 2 delivered a number of effective updates. However, in terms of optional content, it was still a little disconnected. Instead of feeling like an emergent part of the overall gameplay experience, side missions were too often laborious and sometimes essential if you needed to unlock certain powers and bonuses.

Minus the new “Dead Drops” – just carrier pigeons with tape recorders – collectibles hadn’t really changed either. Blast Cores were still scattered everywhere and even though there were abilities to help locate them, the whole process seemed needless. For some reason, Sucker Punch had also removed the Stunt list. Featuring in the original inFAMOUS, it encouraged players to kill their enemies using special moves and environmental hazards.

Though some will beg to differ, the game’s User-Generated Content feature was also a bit unnecessary. Though it helped to increase the sequel’s lifespan considerably, the limited range of tools and lack of advanced guidance led to waves of sub-par user levels, very few of which came even close to match the stock game quality.

Though there are things to complain about, inFAMOUS 2 is still a great game. It may not have the impact of its predecessor yet does enough to engage the player and add new dynamics the gameplay system.

Since launch, the game has received PlayStation Move support (which holds up surprisingly well) as well as a standalone expansion dubbed Festival of Blood.

If you’re feeling particularly heroic/evil and want to get up to speed in time for Second Son, there should be nothing stopping you.

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  1. Kevling
    Since: Dec 2008

    Still have this sat on my hard drive unplayed (from the PSN hack consolation prizes), been holding off playing it till I finished the original which I will probably never do.

    Guess I ought to pull my finger out.

    Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 11:07.
    • Taylor Made
      Since: Oct 2011

      Wait huh, the first infamous was the one given for free from the hack, did u mean u got it off ps plus

      Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 11:12.
      • Kevling
        Since: Dec 2008

        Oh, yeah, that. :)

        Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 12:25.
  2. Taylor Made
    Since: Oct 2011

    This is like UC1 to UC2, you can see the big improvement, the game was smoother, colourful, easy control. They didn’t force you to chase the shards, the boss fights were cool, the new people played their part well, I still wanted Zeke to end up a bad guy, jealous among friends

    Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 11:10.
    • stueeeee
      Since: Jun 2009

      I too thought it was an UC1>UC2 type improvement, and that they’d even taken some of what made uncharted mechanics work.
      The second game seemed to have a few more ‘set piece’ type bits than the first, which seemed reminiscent of Uncharted.

      Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 15:40.
  3. Dan Jones
    Since: May 2010

    I loved the first inFamous, but didn’t get on well with the second, and I don’t really know why (I’ll have to download it again soon). I did enjoy the Festival of Blood expansion though, will be downloading that again along with Costume Quest to complete over Halloween.

    Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 11:55.
  4. Takyu
    Since: Aug 2012

    I thought inFamous 2 improved on a lot of things from the already excellent prequel, and to be honest I’d have it in my Top 10 games of the generation.

    Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 12:15.
  5. bigchrissyc
    Since: Aug 2013

    I liked both. I only played the original as it was free, but instantly loved it. The second one did improve on lots of things, the shards being visible on the map was a big plus, as it was very annoying in the original. Both ending were awesome, shame they arent bringing Cole back for another go.

    Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 12:34.
  6. Blair Inglis
    Since: May 2009

    Oh, I completely forgot about the “new Cole”. That was weird, and seems to be the direction they’ve taken with Delsin.

    Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 14:21.
  7. Steelhead
    Since: Oct 2013

    I find the sequel to be generally superior to the original, although I was’t a fan of New Marais and found the new powers to be mostly useless. Second Son is definitely one of my most wanted PS4 games.

    Comment posted on 25/10/2013 at 14:37.
  8. digitalmanAZ
    Since: Nov 2008

    In both games, collecting Blast Shards increased your Power Meter. It was definitely worth doing.

    In the second game, stunts were used to unlock abilities.

    Agree on the User Generated Content, it was passable. Only did enough to get the Plat.

    Comment posted on 28/10/2013 at 00:59.