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A Song of Ice and Fire

inFAMOUS 2

With all the hubbub surrounding E3, it would have been easy to forget that once of the most exciting games to come out this year was actually released the same day the convention began. inFAMOUS 2 is a stellar sequel that lives up to its memorable predecessor. Since a lot of people just got a chance to play that game after the PSN downtime, now is a great opportunity to pick up another of Sony’s best exclusive games.

inFAMOUS 2 opens with quite a bang as Cole has his first encounter with the beast, the monster we learned about in the final moments of the first game. Cole obviously is outmatched by the beast, so he and his portly companion Zeke travel down to New Marais, basically a renamed New Orleans, in search of getting Cole even more power. Immediately Cole makes another new enemy in the militia who’ve been running the town since some disaster. Together with some new female friends, Cole works toward helping the city, all the while building up his strength for the beast’s arrival.

Once again, powering up Cole depends somewhat on moral choices. In the first game, that meant more precise powers for good choices and more explosive powers for evil decisions. That seems to be the case this time too, but with the added incentive of ice and fire powers making two playthroughs practically necessary. Controlling Cole still feels great and Suckerpunch even added some new, faster ways of getting around the city. inFAMOUS 2 is all about getting more powerful, and you certainly will feel that way by the end of the game.

Unfortunately, the games vibrant visuals and tight gameplay are marred by poor sound design. Maybe it’s just because I’ve watched a lot of Treme, but New Marais seems eerily quiet. There’s occasionally some traffic sounds and a little chatter, but for the most part you be running around listening to the wind blow and the crickets chirp. The voice work is also… interesting. The dialogue is written very conversationally and the voice actors mostly sound unlike anyone I’ve heard in games recently. This leads to some oddly human moments, which would be a great thing, except this is supposed to be a super hero game. Make it more over the top! Make it fun! Don’t just throw a bunch of bizarrely real, angsty arguments at me.

I did genuinely enjoy the story, however, despite it taking maybe a little too long to get where it needed to go. But the ending is pretty impressive, regardless if you get the good one or the evil one, and it genuinely provided me with more closure than I would have expected. inFAMOUS didn’t make the same jump in quality Uncharted did with it’s first sequel, but that’s more because the first inFAMOUS was better than the first Uncharted. I think they stand together as the best PlayStation-exclusive third person shooter franchises, and among the best in the industry.

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