Infamous 2 Review (PS3)

Console exclusives are few and far between in the usually empty early summer months, both Microsoft and Sony saving their big games for the holiday season. Sucker Punch's inFamous 2 bucks the trend, and is one of the PS3's premier sequels for 2011. The original was regarded as an enjoyable, if sometimes badly designed adventure, but as with many of the biggest franchises on the platform-Uncharted and Assassin's Creed-making a killer second game can turn a good series into a great one. It's safe to say that Sony have another one of these on their hands.

This isn't to say that inFamous 2 is on par with either of the sequels mentioned above, but the improvement from the 2009 original is vast. Once again you take control of Cole McGrath, who gained electricity based powers in the opening of the first game. As a 'conduit' he awakened powers that were dormant inside him, being at the centre of an explosion that took out half of Empire City. Though story was never the game's strong point, those that didn't make it to the end of the original will find the recap that begins inFamous 2 extremely helpful. It only recaps the important information, which allows the sequel to deliver an impressive storyline that was surprisingly thrilling to see through. Cole's team-mates, from his best mate Zeke to his conflicting love interests Kuo and Nix make for a tight cast that while not wholly original serve enough comedy and drama as the game continues.

Cole's powers are as destructive as they were in the original game

One of the main plot arcs the game takes you through sees many main characters unlocking powers within themselves, meaning that Cole can combine powers with them when fighting enemies. This adds a whole new set of options for combat, this 'co-op' gameplay making up some of the game's best missions. Cole's abilities have improved from last time too, he can now switch between options for his lightning bolts or his grenades for instance, with massively powerful Ionic powers being unleashed with a tap of down on the D-Pad. He also has access to the Amp, a melee weapon that makes close quarters combat much more manageable. This makes inFamous 2 much less frustrating than the original, allowing for players to choose exactly how they want to play the game. This makes the combat much more satisfying too, as you feel like it's entirely your fault if something goes wrong and you are knocked out.

The game follows the format of the original surprisingly closely, with two islands split into two districts which you must unlock by 'turning on the lights' so to speak. It's an easy way of getting around the idea that the open world setting would let you go to later areas in the game, where regions that are not running electricity would be unsafe for Cole to venture into. All of his powers are current based, so you have to keep your supply topped up by absorbing electricity from the power grid across the city. It was a novel idea and here adds a nice sense of progression as you work your way across the city.

There is a marked improvement on the first game when it comes to the visuals, with cutscenes being especially more appealing to the eye. Character dialogue and interaction is genuinely exciting, with Cole himself making for a thrilling lead throughout. It's no Uncharted, but Sucker Punch have pushed the PS3 to deliver an extremely detailed city for you to explore, with hidden quirks and touches as you traverse the concrete landscape. Draw distances are impressive, though not quite Assassin's Creed, and the soundtrack does a brilliant job of accompanying the explosive combat. inFamous 2 holds its own against its rivals on PS3 better than I had anticipated, which makes the whole experience that bit sweeter in the long run.

Cole teams up with Nix to unleash devastating attacks, as well as flirting with her just for kicks

I must close this review by saying just how joyous it is to play inFamous 2. It's a game that chooses to take the less serious route, not scared of being extremely 'gamey' in its stand out moments. It's an linear 'open world' game, with that sub genre only representing the fact that you are in a huge city for the whole of the game. Thrilling from start to finish, you really feel like a superhero, whether you choose to play as Evil or Good Cole. Both versions of the game are impressive, and there are enough missions exclusive to each that a second play-through will be a no brainer once you reach the credits screen.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with inFamous 2, and while it may not be the best game on PS3, it sure as hell tries its best to be. The essential PS3 exclusive of the summer, this should tide you over until the busy Christmas season.

Best Game Moment: Climbing off the tallest building in New Marais and crashing into the ground with an electrical slam.