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inFamous review

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inFamous

Summary

Our Score

9/10

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inFamous is the PS3's answer to Crackdown in more ways than, I suspect, its developers ever intended. Hailing from Sucker Punch, the team behind the Sly Racoon series of platformers, it's a sprawling, open-world game where super powers play the major role. The gameplay gives us a next-gen mish-mash of established genres - think of inFamous as an open world, platform action game with elements of an RPG and a duck-and-cover shooter - and the game's long-term appeal hinges largely on an addictive cycle of rewards and power upgrades. Most of all, however, inFamous reminds me of Crackdown because it's a game that's destined to be misunderstood and under-rated. It's a game that demands invention and imagination. Get into it, and you'll find it one of the finest titles on Sony's system, and arguably the best super-hero game yet. I almost dread to say it but, much as I loved Crackdown, inFamous is - for me - the better game.

For starters, I find the gritty, comic-book storyline more compelling. It opens with our cycle courier hero, Cole, coming round to discover that the package he was delivering has exploded, wiping out half of Empire City in the process. What remains of the city is being terrorised by vicious gangs of mysterious hooded vagrants and addicts, and has also been cut off from the rest of the country by a brutally maintained police barricade. On the plus side, Cole now has super powers. With a press of the L2 button he can drain electricity from just about any reasonable source. By holding down the L1 button then pressing R1, he can aim and fire bolts of juice at the aforementioned troublemakers. Press X while targeting, and Cole can release a powerful pulse of energy, knocking people and objects out of the way. And that's just for starters.

Not only does Cole have inhuman resilience and incredible agility, but he can - by earning experience - add new powers to his list. The sort of bombing technique now banned in local swimming pools can be employed from high buildings onto the pavement, knocking baddies sideways with the impact. By the time you're six or seven hours into the game, Cole is hurling shock grenades, firing off precision bolts in glorious slow-mo, grinding along cables at high speed and gliding from rooftop to rooftop. The more you play, the more powerful you become.

Movement is the essence of a great superhero game, and inFamous has it licked. In terms of running and climbing, the game sits somewhere in between Crackdown and Assassin's Creed, demanding a certain amount of intervention, but bending over backwards to help you clamber up skyscrapers and string together a series of super-cool moves with ease. You can see Sucker Punch's platform game experience at work here, and in contrast to many gaming super-heroes, Cole is a joy to control. At first my worry was that Cole couldn't match Crackdown's ludicrous leaping for kicks, but once the grind and glide powers come in, just getting around the city is a jumping, sliding, flying thrill ride.

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Matthew Bunton

May 25, 2009, 6:13 am

This game is looking like a must have title as it has been getting rave reviews everywhere.

Keldon

May 25, 2009, 10:07 am

This is the first game that has made me want a PS3 to sit along side my 360. I was gutted when I found out it was a sony exclusive.





Still prototype is coming soon and it looks just as good and quite a bit darker and more violent so im not too sad :D

interpleb

May 25, 2009, 1:23 pm

I have just been playing the demo, it is a real shame no sandbox game has copied the aiming control system from Crackdown, I hate manual aiming with a gamepad. Even so, it looks a pretty good game that I will be buying, although not straight away.

Ahlan

May 25, 2009, 4:49 pm

Great review, awesome game, i played the demo, it felt way better then Crackdown.





i just pre-ordered my copy :D

Xiphias

May 25, 2009, 6:42 pm

I have to agree Keldon, hopefully with the good reviews it'll be ported to PC and Xbox 360 (or dozen more games will come out on the PS3 to make it worth buying as a second system)

scotw

May 25, 2009, 10:25 pm

I loved Crackdown, although it seemed to slip under the radar of most gamers. Just played the demo of this, so its now on pre-order. Powers seem a little Jedi-like, which is no bad thing....

ChaosDefinesOrder

May 26, 2009, 12:43 am

just played the demo - looks great! Bit of a shame that £39.99 is way higher than my personal "sweet spot" of £25...





@interpleb: I totally agree! inFamous needs a "lock-on" system, especially when those hoodies are such damn good aims! Then again, this is what stopped me from buying Uncharted; the lack of a lock-on and, in the demo, any form of crosshair(!!!) meant that I couldn't get past the first -hide-behind-brick-walls gunfight. Struck that game quickly off my list!





Game pads are just simply bull**** for accurate aiming

Cub

May 26, 2009, 3:36 pm

What's wrong with using the analogue stick for aiming? Without a plastic gun accessory I can't see how anything else could be better... Easier, sure; point and click shooting of the PC shooter world makes it easier, but it doesn't exactly test your skill in the same way, does it?


That said, I've not been a PC gamer since the days of the original Half Life, but I much prefer using a PS3 pad.





@Xiphias - inFamous has got as much chance of being ported to other platforms as Uncharted or Resistance does, not gonna happen I'm afraid - Sucker punch is as attracted to Sony as Insomniac and NaughtyDog.





@ChaosDefinesOrder - don't let something as trivial as lock-on stop you buying what is still one of the best games available on the PS3, it's an awesome game.

ChaosDefinesOrder

May 26, 2009, 11:06 pm

@cub: it's not a trivial thing when I couldn't get past the second gunfight in the Uncharted demo due to the lack of any aim assistants at all! Tried many times but it either took too long to aim and got killed, or I ran out of bullets by missing continuously because the (completely unmarked) centre of screen was 10 pixels to the left/right of where I thought it was!





Hide behind cover. Pop out of cover to see where enemy is. Get shot. try to aim. get shot again. back under cover. enemy moves. out of cover, re-aim. shoot and miss. grenade. run to safe place. try and re-aim. shoot and miss. get shot again. re-aim. shot and killed. Repeat enough times to completely put me off the game despite how amazing the graphics were.





The problem with the analog stick in inFamous, howveer, is the time it takes to turn 180º if someone is shooting from behind you - takes about 2 to 3 seconds (or about 5 bullet inpacts) to turn round, then another 2 seconds to actually aim at the person, whereas with a mouse it would be as quick as a flick of the wrist to turn and less than a second to accurately aim.

Ahlan

May 27, 2009, 12:36 am

@ChaosDefinesOrder





I never had a problem in Uncharted and Infamous with the analogue, it depends on the person who's playing it. im very used to the PS3 controller, even in Killzone 2 i get a lot of head shoots.





My brother is a console player he never touched a single PC game. i brought Mirror's edge for the PC last month, he tried it out, and did not like it on the PC, so he brought it for PS3, and he plays it better with the analogue then Mouse and keyboard.





there are many people that prefer Gamepads over mouse and keyboard. (It depends on what you are used to)





all analogues are the same, get use to them or get back to your keyboard and play your PC games.





Still 2 days for the release :D









Hugo

May 27, 2009, 2:51 am

Spent a good few hours playing today and I must say: bloody fantastic game!

Nicholas Phan

May 27, 2009, 4:29 am

i'm gonna buy this game day 1 too =) looks really really good!





http://blog.us.playstation.com...





i also loved what they did with the US ads! very stylish, and one of the best gaming ads i've seen lately.

Cub

May 27, 2009, 1:06 pm

@ChaosDefinesOrder - Fair point I suppose if you're really used to K/M control, but if that's the case, why would you buy a PS3 where everything is controlled by pad? My 13 year old cousin has completed Uncharted on Hard so it can't be difficult, it's just a case of persevering and getting used to using a pad...





It may take a mere second to aim with a mouse, but there's so little skill involved with point and click shooting it takes half the fun away, surely? Your point about turning is fair enough, a quick 180 turn like you can do in Resi5 would be great... The trick is just to keep moving while you're turning, it's not guaranteed but you'll be more likely to miss their fire.

ChaosDefinesOrder

May 27, 2009, 9:30 pm

I have both PC and PS3, basically for playing the games best suited to each; PC for RTS and FPS, and PS3 for platformers (Assassins Creed and Tomb Raider and GTA included here) and driving games

interpleb

May 28, 2009, 12:08 pm

I changed my mind and ordered this earlier in the week from shopto.net and it arrived yesterday. The demo had slightly put me off as you can't explore much, but as a big time Crackdown fan, in the full game I quickly started getting the exploration/collection bug for shiny blue things. The aiming system isn't a show stopper as you have powers and creative options of handling situations. I am only a short way through it, but it is putting a grin on my face in the same way Crackdown did.





@Cub: The issue with controls is that it doesn't have a lock on option of aiming that is used in most sandbox games like GTA, SR and a sublime system in Crackdown.





@Chaos: Totally agree with you about Uncharted. I loved Tomb Raider:Legend as it concentrated on exploration, and the combat when necessary had lock-on. Uncharted was a nightmare, I rented it and I returned it having only completed 2 levels. It is way too combat heavy without giving you the tools to do the job.



Ahlan

May 28, 2009, 3:27 pm

@interpleb, like i said in the comments above, it depends on the person who is used to gamepads.





and btw lock-ons in some games makes them very repetitive and boring (there is no point, just press a button and shoot) like GTA 4 and Crackdown, oh and Tomb Raider:Legend the controls were horrible, as for the gunfights Weak and Anemic, it get very boring after Level 3 (JAPAN Meeting with Takamoto).








so lock on to an enemy by holding a button, and then you mash the fire button until the enemy is dead, is very boring for me.





I prefer manual Point and shoot, it has more freedom.





After playing Uncharted i never ever touched a single TombRaider game, and never will.



Cub

May 28, 2009, 3:34 pm

@CDO/Interpleb - Fair points, I will bow to the fact it's a personal preference thing. I've been on the other side of these things in other forums... I'm occasionally in the minority of people that think you should be able to move while you're shooting in Resi!





Personally, I found it easy to jump off a tall building, glide part way down, then in the rest of the free fall aim at an enemy below me and take him out with the basic lightning attack before I'd hit the ground... Auto-aiming, for me, would have taken away part of the wonderful feeling of achievement from having accomplished such a move.





My Computer (a Mac, so not a huge gaming machine) is only used for the Sim City's, Roller Coaster Tycoon's, and simpler games (Braid, anything by PopCap, etc.). I've always found any other type to be much more fitting to a console... Probably a comfort thing as I get a sofa when playing the PS3 :)

Chris

May 28, 2009, 5:58 pm

@Cub:


I'm with ChaosDefinesOrder on the advantages of PC controls over a gamepad, which is why a console will always have a huge disadvantage with FPS games IMHO. Sure, you could argue that getting to grips with the controls is part of the challenge, but I'd much rather be fighting the game than its controls. If the controls were easier to master then the game could be harder, which in turn makes it more enjoyable.

Chris

May 28, 2009, 6:55 pm

@Cub:


Having said that, I'd much rather be using a gamepad when playing driving, sports or multiplayer 'party' games. The sofa is an added bonus!


For the record, I'm a PS3 and PC gamer. The only PS3 games I own fit the above descriptions, which are games that are particularly suited to consoles IMHO. You should try playing an FPS like Crysis or Left4Dead on a PC, you'll come around :D .

Cub

May 28, 2009, 8:35 pm

@Chris You hit the nail on the head with 'IMHO'. I know a guy that can't play racing games with anything but a bulky steering wheel accessory (no, not a Wii). I've tried FPS' on friends PCs, I much prefer playing on a pad.





I've never had any trouble getting used to controls, on any PS3 game (Civ. and Red Alert came close, but they're still well done for console games)





btw, I'd love to become used to the controls for Left 4 Dead... Hopefully Valve will see the light one day and admit the merits of the PS3!

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