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inFamous By: John "Award" Del Percio
June 23, 2009
Developer :Sucker Punch
Publisher :Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date :June 2009
Platform : Sony PlayStation 3
Table of Contents

· Introduction
· Closer Look
· Facts
· Final

The Hero That Keeps Going, and Going, and Going....

After a brief introductory prologue to the game, you start out on a rooftop in "The Neon" section of the city. Another brief introductory mission acquaints you with the basic feel of the game and the main enemy of the first of three districts in the game: The Reapers. After that you begin your first story missions get underway to the first major theme of the game: patterns.

Much like the previously mentioned Assassin's Creed, the game follows a very pattern oriented layout. In Assassin's Creed the pattern flow was: Go to a target district of the specified city, explore the map by reaching as many of the designated lookout points as you can, perform some side-quests to find out who you mark is, do more random encounter side-quests to build up your life meter, then take out the mark. Section complete. Similarly, inFamous follows a pattern. The city is divided in three districts, each is separated by a boss. Each district is broken down into several sectors accessed by carrying out the "power generator" mission for that section, then numerous side-quests appear in that sector once the power is on. As you complete each side quest, a map-section of the city is reclaimed from the gangs that have controlled it, and enemies, allegedly, will not return to the cleared section.

With the exception of one area in the game, the "power generator mission" for each section is nearly identical. They all involve going through the powerless part of the city to a sewer entrance, powering up the circuit at the front which will unlock a new super power, which is given a brief tutorial segment through practice in the rest of the sewer, and at the end, you power up the main generator before emerging back to the now-bustling city. Now do some side-quests, lather, rinse, repeat.

While this may sound monotonous in print, the effect creates an addictive appeal similar to that of a great board game or turn based strategy game. There's enough satisfaction created by completing the incremental sections that, while the gameplay itself is exceptionally predictable, it's precisely that predictability that drives you to continue pressing forward, often to the detriment of the next game you're supposed to be reviewing.....or whatever more pressings tasks you may have at hand. Simplicity in a game, can be one of its greatest assets, despite the much praised "next-gen" qualities of modern games.

And that brings us to another interesting point about the game. While the graphics and production qualities are good, they don't even come close to pushing the PS3 to the limits of what titles such as Killzone 2 or the current Red Faction: Guerrilla do. The game echoes a concept I'm seeing a strong resurgence of both on the PS3 and the Wii: A hark back to late 1990's PC games. There's a simplicity, redundancy, and overall "crude enough to be classic" feel of the game, while not entirely eschewing the "next-gen-ness" (whatever that even means) of its modern pedigree. That's not to say graphics are sacrificed: The draw distance alone at high detail is enough to push the limits a bit, but there's a recycling of textures and locations, even missions, to a point that hasn't been seen in quite a while.

Another important element of the game is the role-playing-game-like XP (experience points) system from which your choose which powers to upgrade. Both the feel of your superpowers and the manner of upgrade are more than suspiciously reminiscent of Star Wars: Force Unleashed. Also echoing the Dark Side of the LucasArts title is the ability to choose between good and evil, with an effect that augments your appearance, and some of your superpower selection options. Choosing evil also affects the 15 good/evil side-quests scattered throughout the game, and along with it, minor aspects of the story and the way the citizens of Empire City treat you. While this has some effect on the replay value of the game, the overall result is a fairly cosmetic difference that may change your mode of play to suit your mood, but does not significantly alter the mechanics of the game. Still, it's a nice touch to have included, if only the random decisions in the game to choose good or evil weren't clearly presented in such an obvious manner. Given the verbally spoken option of "There's no one around the dark alley. Should I help the police protect the crowd from the gangsters that are coming to attack them? Or I could just vivisect a few of the citizens while the other ones watch. Which should I choose?" there isn't much room for nuanced character decisions.

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