2009 saw the release of InFamous, the most electrifying game on the PlayStation 3. Open world mechanics are hardly a novelty these days, but the story of Cole MacGrath combined those mechanics with intuitive controls and adrenaline inducing combat .Throw in a comic-book inspired storyline, and the end result is a breath of fresh air. The problem with creating something that hasn't been done before is that it usually doesn't turn out as great as it could've been. InFamous 2 fixes all the imperfections of Infamous and expands on everything that made it great .
The story is a lot more interactive this time around. Your karmic allignment affects the kind of story missions you play through, as well as the ending. InFamous 2 takes place in the fictional New Marais, based heavily on New Orleans. Cole goes there to build up his powers for the impending battle with The Beast. The training comes from being hunted by an anti-superhuman militant by the name of Joseph Bertrand and his militia. Two new female characters , NSA agent Lucy Kuo and the psychotic Nix, influence the storyline by steering Cole in different directions karma-wise. The final battle is built up from the very beginning, so it's hard to go into detail without spoilers. The moving comics are back for narration and are aided by vastly improved in-game graphics.
Joseph Bertrand's facist militia
The improvement in graphics that InFamous 2 has over its predecessor is obvious from the first in-game cutscene. The characters no longer have inanimate faces with a mouth that just opens and closes when they talk. You can actually see the emotion whenever the camera focuses on someone's face. New Marais is a lot more colorful than the concrete jungle of Empire City. Not only is there a bigger variety of colors on the buildings, but a lot of the action takes place in the swamps, which means the setting never feels monotonous. The lightning effects are more or less the same, but appear in a lot more forms now.
The amount of powers available to the player has been greatly expanded in InFamous 2. The first new power you'll see is the Kinetic Pulse that lets Cole throw cars and other objects at his enemies. The fun aspects of this ability are hard to put into words, but tossing a car way up into the sky, even if you don't hit anything is a deeply satisfying experience. The bolts, grenades, shockwaves and rockets branch out into several different flavors, making for much more varied combat. No doubt you've heard about Cole having access to ice and fire powers from early previews of InFamous 2. You pick one or the other depending on karma, with fire focusing on pure chaos, while ice aims to prevent collateral damage. Both compliment Cole's lightning powers beautifully. The the vertical super jump you get by peeking ice ,for example, is a great transport ability when combined with the improved static thrust.
Kuo (left) and Nix (right) have very different views of right and wrong
The only way to get electricity for all those powers is to either drain it from objects or bio-leech downed opponents. Wire grinding, absorbing bullets with the shield and head shocks don't replenish your electricity supply anymore. That's a good thing because melee isn't plain useless now. Cole uses a fork-like club called The Amp, put together by Zeke to help Cole focus his powers. This club lets him use his powers to engage his enemies up close and personal. The pure damage of melee attacks and the ability to fully recharge with finishers (unlocked later on) now make meele an integral part of InFamous 2's combat system
Every side mission in InFamous 2 is unique and helps you unlock bonus powers. This is a welcome change from InFamous with its dull and repetitive side missions that only gave you a trophy as a reward.
The trade-off for all these powers is that the controls aren't as intuitive as they used to be. In InFamous 1 you could use any power without having to pause the game to equip them. Here you have to momentarily pause the game to equip another ability. Still, the slight lack of immersion is worth it because not only does it make for a varied combat experience, but also increases the replay value.
The replay value is truly awesome. The only thing that karma affected in InFamous were the powers and some of the side missions. In InFamous 2 it affects the powers much more because it doesn't give you a preview of what you miss. Much more importantly, it affects the ending of the game. In the original, it only had a minor effect on some of the cut scenes.
Overall, if you like open world games, super-hero games or good Third Person Action games in general, pick up InFamous 2. It's the best open-world superhero game since Spider-Man 2.