inFAMOUS for the PS3

So, for a while there, the PlayStation Network on the PS3 was unavailable.  Seems some hackers broke in and stole credit card information, and it took Sony around a month before PSN required features (which may have included some games) were available again (thankfully this did not include Netflix streaming, or else someone would have died a slow, horrible, painful death).  Along with some other things (like, say, credit monitoring protection), Sony gave PSN subscribers two games for free (from a very limited selection, at least one of which I already had and most of which I didn’t want).  One of those was inFAMOUS, which I decided to download.  One might suspect that Sony, aware that inFAMOUS 2 [was due to|had] launch[|ed] on June 7, might use this as a way to drum up interest in and sell copies of the sequel.

I had played the demo previously, and found it somewhat interesting, though it took me some time (more than I dedicated to playing said demo back then) to learn all of the controls.  This difficulty is eliminated when you actually start playing the full game; they walk you through how to do most of what you need to know how to do, and there’s a “Powers” screen (where you purchase/upgrade powers using experience) that can clue you in to the command sequence to use for a particular power.

When you are walked through the “Powers” screen, don’t forget about it – I played through all of the first island, and started on the second, before I realized I had quite a bit of experience to spend on upgrades and new powers (and I only investigated it because one of the “side” missions required me to use a power I hadn’t purchased yet).  Mind you, I’m a wimp and I’m playing (at least the first time through) on “Easy” (as a good guy), so it’s not that hard to make it that far with just your default powers.

You are Cole, a bike messenger turned super [hero|villain].  Seems you were in the middle of delivery when someone told you to open the package you were carrying.  There’s this earth shattering kaboom (well, okay, so you don’t destroy the planet, but you do do quite a bit of damage to the surrounding city and end up killing (just guessing from the plot lines) somewhere >= 1000 people.  But you can now shoot lightning bolts from your hands, so it’s a fair trade off (particularly if you decide to go the villain route).

What makes you a Hero or Villain is how you react to certain events, and, on a smaller scale, what you do given certain situations.  There are clear “Karmic Moments,” where you’re presented with two relatively clear choices, but then there are the cases where even the little things could make a difference: when coming across a sick citizen, do you heal them?  Or do you suck their life force in order to add to your power?

Your Karma rating impacts what powers are available to you and to what level you can upgrade those powers with experience.

Independent of which path you choose, there are things Cole needs to do, like eliminating the [|other] bad guys and restoring power to the different areas of Empire City (there are three of them, which are basically islands separated from each other).  This furthers the plot line, which I must say is quite detailed, rather entertaining, and effectively drives what could be (at certain points) grinding game play.

Failure can be somewhat forgiving in this game; if you die during a major mission, you’re not always sent way back to the beginning of the mission.  This is very nice because sometimes the controls don’t quite do what you think you want them to do.  It’s not uncommon on games like inFAMOUS, where one stick controls movement and the other one controls camera angle, for one to get their directions screwed up and end up jumping into water you can’t get out of (remember, you’re Electricity Man – shooting enemies in water = good, standing in water = bad), or missing that pole you were going to climb up and ending up on the ground, when you were trying to make your way up a building.  It’s not happening really all that much when I play inFAMOUS … but it happens.

I mentioned missions: There’s the main ones, which clearly further the story plot, and then side missions, which (at least the “good” ones) have the potential to give you good Karma and definitely clean up a section of the city – which severely reduces the amount of bad guys that will show up and terrorize the citizenry or interrupt you when you’re simply trying to get from Point A to Point B. (I don’t know what the bad missions get you, since I’ve never done one.)

I really like this game.  I don’t find any of it too tedious; I just find myself looking at the clock and doing side missions a lot, ensuring that, if I go to do a “main” mission, that I have plenty of time to do it.  Besides, I like doing the side missions, as it will show up on your map view as a clear indicator of progress as you clean up the city.

And as for inFAMOUS 2?  Well, I’ve got a lot to occupy my time these days, so I’m not in a hurry to run out and get it.  However, when the price starts dropping, I’ll be giving it some consideration … and story-wise, I’m very interested in the idea of an inFAMOUS 3

As for purchase price – well, probably worth $40 or so.  Free download? NO BRAINER!  (You get two, so if you don’t have LittleBigPlanet yet, get that one, too!)

(Gah!  I’ve reminded myself that I haven’t done an LPB2 review yet!  Will have to ponder that …)

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