Jun 6, 2010

Thoughts On: Infamous (PS3)



I know I'm late to this show, but getting back into video games has been a recent mission of mine, so forgive me for discussing out of date titles like Infamous. Overall, I'd say it's a flawed but *fun* game, if you're into superhero sandbox situations. The climbing, jumping, sliding, and shooting mechanics are all easy to master and satisfying to perform. Nothing beats being able to climb a stories-tall building, only to jump off and then slam into the concrete like a character straight out of Marvel. Even though the three islands are a bit samey in their visual styles, when compared to the tedium of stealing a car in GTA, being able to jump from building to building and slide on rails in Infamous is a dream. There are very few restrictions on what can be grappled, so the environment feels truly free and open for the player. I've wasted hours in the city under the auspices of looking for hidden items, and it's an honestly satisfying experience. The game designers placed needed emphasis on making the dynamic of climbing quite enthralling, and it pays off.

What's not very enjoyable are the side missions. Once you've played through the ones on the first island, there's little reason to continue the practice on islands two and three. They're the same exact missions but with different henchmen as the targets. Needless to say, the game becomes quite repetitive, unless you play straight through the story missions. I would imagine those remain more fresh if not hampered by the repetition of certain small goals.

In addition, some of the tasks are inane or quite frustrating (a few of the "satellite uplink" missions almost drove me to replace the game in the sleeve and send it back immediately, lest I break the disc into a million pieces and set those pieces on fire). In retrospect, the game isn't that hard, but some of the missions seemed absolutely ridiculous. Despite being invulnerable to bullets to a certain extent, your character is somewhat easily killed in specific situations, especially missions involving large numbers of enemies, who become deadly accurate when in large groups, for some reason.

I did like the game enough to play all the way through to the end (as a good guy. I am incapable of being evil in any video game, for some reason). My fiancee (countdown: six days) can attest to the fact, though, that from two-thirds of the way through the game on, I threatened to pack it up and move on no less than a dozen times, which is astounding, given how patient I can be with even the most frustrating gaming experiences.

Overall, though, Infamous is worth a rental, at the very least. Don't think it's going to throw anything extremely new at you after about five hours, though, and you'll probably be satisfied.

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