Sucker Punch Productions has returned with the follow up sequel
Infamous 2, to the 2009 comic book themed hit
The original Infamous’s Protagonist Cole MacGrath is back, in a new playground called New Marais, a back drop that closely appears to resemble the real life area of New Orleans. The original Infamous was a positively received and reviewed title, so how does Sucker Punch bring even more spark to the sequel while maintaining what worked about the original? While there are innovations incorporated in to the sequel and we’re by no means saying that Infamous 2 is a mere rehash, the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…” comes to mind, and sometimes that’s a good thing.
First of all let’s start with Infamous 2’s hero
Cole MacGrath: In the early development of Infamous 2, Cole was going to get a complete overhall to his appearance, but a swell of underground Infamous forum fan support swayed Sucker Punch’s decision to abandon the “old” Cole, and a compromise was struck. Cole’s original appearance has largely been kept intact, with small alterations made to his clothing to better suit the new background of New Marais, and the original voice actor Jason Cottle was replaced in favor of Eric Laden, as it was felt that Laden was more able to convey the right emotions that would make more effective use of the motion capture technology used to create cut scenes and close-ups. Cole’s appearance takes on further changes depending on what moral choices he makes as the journey unfolds, “Good Cole” wears a white shirt, his 5 o’clock shadow deepens while overall complexion clears and his scar is barely noticeable, while “Bad Cole” wears a black shirt, is covered in lacerations and his main facial scar becomes more pronounced, as is the overall worsening of his complexion.
Right from the beginning of Infamous 2’s Intro
It’s clear this sequel has had a graphics overhaul, and the original was no slouch in the first place. Colors are brighter, crisper and more defined, the animations are smoother right down to Cole’s facial animations, and the backgrounds are more detailed and interactive. The surrounding NPC react in a much more realistic manner than in the first Infamous as well. Rough estimates were that the original Infamous was using around 30% of the PS3’s cell processor capabilities, with the sequel improving upon that by pushing the PS3 processor to utilize somewhere between 50%-60% of it’s capabilities.
Next consideration of Infamous 2‘s upgrades, is Cole’s repertoire of powers, and these have received a significant boost as well. Cole begins the adventure with the expected range of power wire surfing, electric powered hovering, grenade tossing and lightning bolt shooting, and it grows in a satisfying manner from there. Along the way, Cole can attain abilities like firing a long range blast, machine gun-like rapid fire, super charged bolt, or triple shot. Another welcome addition is the “Amp”, an two-pronged electric sword of sorts that greatly enhances options of the melee combat aspects of this new Infamous sequel.
As in the first game, Cole’s character had to make key decisions in various dilemmas that would influence his morality rating, and as result affect his appearance and powers, but this is taken even further in Infamous 2, as they are two key female NPC characters Nix and Kuo, and depending on choices made and alignments formed, Cole will eventually benefit from one of these alliances in the form of additional power enhancements. Cole can align with Nix, a fire based siren that embodies the negative side of Cole traits, or Kuo an ice based heroine that exemplifies the hero in Cole.
The one small drawback of the original Infamous is that regardless of choices made and the illusion of the being the master of your own destiny, eventually all paths led to the same inevitable conclusion, not so here in Infamous 2. Choosing to embrace your good side or your evil side come with real definitive consequences and inevitably outcomes, and this a great thing. Infamous 2 contains enough content that a single play through will take approximately 20 hours, give or take depending on how many side missions are accessed, but when taking into account that upon completion a second run is warranted to see the other potential outcome, once as “Good Cole” and again as “Bad Cole”, Infamous 2 gives the gamer a lot of shock value for the purchase price. Tack on the fact that Infamous 2 includes it’s own player created mission generation mode for even more replay value, this sequel improves upon the already solid original in practically every category. Infamous 2 is a winner and a buy in our book.