What do you get when Mirror's Edge's Faith rolls in the hay with the god of thunder Zeus? You get inFAMOUS's Cole MacGrath - a lightning-spewing, free-running badass that redefines the superhero genre. Sucker Punch Productions, makers of the Sly Cooper series, employed this winning parkour + superpowers formula with inFAMOUS, and made it more interesting with a karma system reminiscent of the Fable games. MacGrath returns in the inevitable sequel, which takes the smarter route of retaining all that was good with the original, while fine tuning the gameplay elements as the inFAMOUS mythos unravels through an engaging plot.
inFAMOUS 2 picks up from where the original left off and starts with a bang. The sequel lets you import your savegames from the last game, thereby letting you retain your karmic alignment. A fully amped-up MacGrath then faces the Beast, with catastrophic consequences. Not only does our hero lose his powers, but the Beast also ends up destroying Empire City. With his sidekick Zeke and NSA agent Lucy Kuo, Cole now flees southward to New Marais. This is where our jolly band hopes to find a means to make MacGrath strong enough to face the Beast again, who meanwhile leaves a trail of destruction as he homes in on our hero for a final confrontation.
The powers are fun once you level up.
The narrative is delivered through well-directed comic style cutscenes, which expound on the origins of Cole's powers. The plot is filled with its share of twists and turns, while the karma system forces you to make choices that lead to two different finales. The game departs from the slick environs of Empire City for the dingy, decadent atmosphere of New Marais. The city endows the sequel with a unique look, embodying the stark contrast of old gothic structures and gaudy neon signs adorning the gentleman's clubs. This change of scenery is welcome and prevents a sense of deja vu evident in the sequels to other open world games.
inFAMOUS 2 delivers sharp graphics, with detailed character models and impressive particle effects that bring Cole's powers to life. The texture and object detail may not blow you away, but the environments look as beautiful as any open-world game running on six-year-old hardware. The physics algorithms do a good job of showcasing the devastation wrought by MacGrath's supercharged attacks. Objects explode, enemies bounce, and debris gets tossed around rather convincingly thanks to the physics engine, which effectively relays the punch of the superpowers. Sound effects are equally punchy, with gunfire, explosions, and the buzz of Cole's lightning strikes captured well. Mediocre voice acting is the only weak point in the audio department.