Tuesday, August 26, 2014

inFamous 2

inFAMOUS 2 Review

Kid Safe: Moderate (4.5 / 10)                           Game Quality: Very High (9.0 / 10)

Genre: Open World Action/Adventure
-          This game takes place where choice is everything. Rather than providing a set story that a player has to follow, they are provided a world that they can explore and do as they wish with. Likewise, as players adventure through this title they will find alternate means of completing their tasks including battles, negotiation, and puzzle solving.

Internet Requirements: High
-          inFAMOUS 2 features a high amount of internet requirements due to the constant presence of "user made content". So long as the player is connected to the internet, they are constantly able to find, access, and play a nearly endless amount of levels that are made by other players from around the world, adding an incredible amount of gameplay. (WARNING: "User Made Content" cannot be properly rated by The Parent's Guide to Video Games)

Story Summary: In inFAMOUS 2 you take the role of Cole McGrath, a normal man who is has been
given an incredible gift: the ability to control and use electricity. Following the first game where Cole establishes himself as either the hero or villain of the fictional city, "Empire City", Cole is faced with the fight of his life with a monstrous being simply called "The Beast". After a staggering loss, Cole retreats to the southern city of New Marais where he only has a limited amount of time to grow stronger before "The Beast" reaches him once again. However, Cole will not only be forced to battle The Beast, but he will also be faced against the blood-thirsty Militia who has taken over New Marais as well as an unknown, monstrous threat of creatures that has begun to invade the city.

Kid Safe: Moderate (4.5 / 10)
-          Foul Language: Moderate
o   inFAMOUS 2 features a moderate amount of foul language in the form of the following words: "a*s", "s*it", "d*mn", "h*ll", "b*tch", and "b*stard". These words will occasionally be heard throughout gameplay from a large number of different characters. These words are most often used in fits of emotional turmoil, most often to express frustration or anger, however there are several instances where these words are used without notable provocation.

-          Violence and Gore: High
o   inFAMOUS 2 features a high amount of violence and a low amount of gore. Starting off, players are able to engage and attack anyone they so choose; this includes both human and monstrous-humanoid like creatures. The humans can be anyone including, but not limited to, Militia-members, who are dressed to resemble para-military soldiers wearing combat gear and masks, other super-hero-like characters, who most predominantly wear robot-like armor, and regular civilians off the street, no matter who they are. Players are required to attack and fight militia members, super-hero-like characters, and monstrous creatures. They are also encouraged through "bad missions" to attack and fight regular unarmed civilians off the street, most often for no other reason than to "make an impression".

o   While fighting, players will most often either be using fantastical super-powers that are related either to electricity, fire, or ice or they will be using a melee weapon called "The Amp" to hit, injure, and possibly kill their opponents. Fights do not show any extensive scenes of gore and will uncommonly show a small spray of red to denote a spray of blood. When players defeat a human enemy, the enemy will very often drop down to the ground and roll around in pain; from there, players are able to decide how they would like to handle this downed enemy. Players are able to outright attack and kill the enemy, "bio-leech" their enemy which is a shockingly brutal attack where a player forcibly steals a person's life-force (showing a scene of the enemy being electrocuted while fighting for their life), restrain their enemy to the ground, or heal the person if they were an innocent bystander who accidentally got caught in the cross fire. Monstrous enemies are killed and will simply disintegrate after death.

o   A number of scenes in the game feature both highly graphical and extremely violent imagery. One of the lesser examples include a cutscene where a civilian is hit with the butt of a firearm, causing a spray of blood from their mouth. Another example includes several missions where players must rescue civilians who have been captured by the Militia and are being summarily executed; showing the citizens being shot, spraying blood, and then thrown off of the roofs of buildings.
-          Sexually-Related Content: Low
o   inFAMOUS 2 features a low amount of sexually-related content that primarily takes place in reference. The city in this game features what is akin to a "red-light district" that features a number of buildings with open store-front windows with chairs inside, signs that read "Sexy", "Sex", "Live Nude Girls", "Erotic Peep Show", and "Latch it and Skank". Several neon signs feature silhouettes of dancing girls. Several female characters are also dressed scantily with clothes revealing some amount of cleavage.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Low
o   inFAMOUS 2 features a low amount of drug and alcohol usage which takes place in both depiction and reference. Several cutscenes include scenes of individuals imbibing alcoholic beverages and being generally rowdy. There are also a number of references to date-rape drug usage, e.g. "Hey, did that guy slip you a roofie?", and alcohol usage. 

Game Quality: Very High (9.0 / 10)
-          Graphics / Visuals: High
o   inFAMOUS 2 has a wonderfully high level of graphical and visual quality. Some of the game's greatest strengths lie in their character designs and world-design. Starting off with the characters, watching our hero Cole McGrath move is one of the delights of this title. The team has put extensive works into making him look and move similar to a real-person would in his place. The very subtle hand movements, sways of motion, leg and foot placement, and more all add to a very believable performance. Likewise, these animations cover a HUGE range of different movements including, but not limited to, running, (on a flat surface, on a narrow set of stone, and even across a tight-wire), jumping, diving, and even climbing the faces of buildings and walls. The facial animation matches this well and provides decently done facial expressions; once again, adding to the realism of this game.

o   Even better than the man moving through the world is the world itself. Just looking at the city of New Marais and the surrounding swamps, you can tell an incredible amount of effort has been put into its creation. The streets, alleys, buildings, and districts are all fully-realized to develop an entire living and breathing city where people believably move, live, and work. Outside of the city, players will also experience two very different settings: the Swamps, a horrible, rank, and claustrophobic setting where the trees and mist and stink of creatures close in around you while you wait for a beast to come barreling out of the fog for you; and "Flood Town", a decimated remnant of New Marais that was destroyed by a massive flood, leaving it as little more than crumpled and decaying buildings, twisted metallic structures, and power lines still zipping this way and that...leaving one of the only ways to get around safely. When you factor in that all of this looks and feels incredible with excellent lighting, color, and textures (i.e. a brick wall looks like a brick wall with appropriate holes, spots, shadows, etc) than you have yourself an incredible backdrop to an adventure.

o   The only graphical problem that this game has is a matter of "pixelization", i.e. some of the graphics or visuals tend to break up a little when you are looking far off into the distance: making them appear blocky and broken.
-          Audio: High
o   inFAMOUS 2also features a rather high amount of audio and musical quality. The game's overall strengths include its voice-acting as well as its musical score. Starting off with the voice acting, the game has two notable points. The first is that, if you or your gamer has played the original inFAMOUS title, you will notice that his voice actor has changed since the first game. Cole McGrath's new voice actor is not only a competent actor, but also fits Cole's design a great deal better than his original actor. That aside, not only does most every main character have a talented voice actor behind them, but each character is audibly different. What this means is that each character sounds different and has a very different design to them, i.e. the character Kuo tends to be very refined but stern, Nix is very wild and almost sultry, Wolfe is very intellectual but intrigued, Bertrand is very dictatorial and mocking; on and on, etc. etc. It all pulls together for a very pleasing array of characters.

o   On top of the rather excellent voice acting, the musical accompaniment for this title is equally impressive. This title features a wide range of musical pieces that range anywhere from rock to reggae, blues and jazz, and much, much more. All of these pieces are extremely well matched to the gameplay that is taking place and sets the mood perfectly; whether it is for a high paced action scene, a chase scene, an emotionally frustrated scene, soft and creepy, high tension, etc. The team did excellent work in using the music to set the tone and help maintain the emotion of the scene using a huge range of musical works.

-          Gameplay / Playability: Very High
o   inFAMOUS 2 features a very high amount of both gameplay and playability. Starting off with the playability, this game is very well tailored to both old and new players alike. Any player who is already played the first game will be able to pick up the controller and go without a single issue; all of the controls are essentially the same. For those that haven't enjoyed the first game, the controls and fighting system are all slowly explained in a high energy but well-paced environment that well introduce a player to combat but not put them in any real danger until they actually know what they are doing. The proper controls and buttons are all displayed in bold, simple instructions. Likewise, any new super-powers that characters learn are fully introduced and taught to the player, along with any other gameplay features they might need to know. Finally, the gameplay has also been cleaned up from the original game, allowing players to change their super-powers quickly and easily with only a couple of button presses while, in the original game, it was frustratingly difficult to switch to what power you needed to use.

o   The gameplay is an exceptional treat...where to begin. As is already obvious, players are taking the role of a super-hero that is granted the ability to do extraordinary things. One of the interesting facts about this game, however, is that the player really gets to determine what powers they get. Based on how a player decides to play, whether they want to be famous or infamous, orderly or chaotic, i.e. good or evil, players will actually develop in different ways. Not only will players get to enjoy different missions and levels, they will also get different endings to the story, and develop a wide variety of different super-powers.

o   Fighting and powers aside, the amount of gameplay is incredible in this game. Players will not be restricted to things like "go hear, blow this thing up/fight this person". They will have a wide variety of options ahead of them. Just a couple of examples from missions include using a high-powered light beam to protect civilians from monsters, find and retrieve certain items in the city, carry and put out fires using a massive iron lid, race across the city, and more. In concerns of fighting, players will also have a wide variety of missions that include escorting and rescuing people, fighting both humans and monsters, MASSIVE scale fights that include taking down giant Godzilla like creatures or even assault vehicles like Combat Helicopters, and more. I should note that all of these are just from the regular game and don't even include the host of extra levels, missions, and ideas that I got to play through in "user created levels".
-          Dollar-Value: Very High
o   Overall, inFAMOUS 2 has an exceptionally high dollar-value. Hands down, this game is worth the money. Not only does it have good graphics, good sound, and absolutely incredible gameplay; this game also features anywhere from 8 to 10 hours of gameplay just focusing on the main story, not to mention even more when you account for the large amount of extra missions and levels that you can find and do throughout the city. If that isn't enough for you, any players that are hooked up the internet with their PlayStation 3 video-game console will be able to access a nearly endless supply of extra levels, missions, gameplay, and more. While there are some themes that may be questionable in this title, so long as you are ok with them than this title will be worth every penny.

-          There really are not too many open world games that would be a decent choice for younger viewers; the possible exception being inFAMOUS or the Sly Cooper series which was actually built using the same technology. However, if you are going for adult-rated titles, Red Dead Redemption, Grand Theft Auto, and Assassin's Creed would all provide excellent choices.

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