Infamous 2Overview -
It must be tough to make a video game sequel. When you’re making an original IP, you have the benefit of presenting something entirely fresh to audiences. If your game becomes popular enough to warrant a sequel, you have to execute a tough balancing act. Stray too far from the previous game and you anger gamers who want a familiar experience. Make it too similar and then people complain they’ve played it all before. Only the best sequels end up leaving a really good impression on the people who play them. At the risk of spoiling my whole review, I’ll let you know up front: Infamous 2 is not one of the best sequels.
While Infamous is better than its successor in most respects, one area where Infamous 2 steps things up is in the graphical department. New Marais is far more graphically varied than Empire City, which at times could be bland and lacked in variety. New Marais fixes things by giving each neighborhood a distinct look. New Orleans is the obvious touchstone, with areas resembling the French Quarter, the swamps, etc. Little details pop out, like wall graffiti or wreckage from a disaster that had already befallen the area. At the very least, it’s much harder to get lost here, due to each area being so different from its neighbor. Most controversially, Sucker Punch also redesigned Cole himself. Cole’s less harsh, now with hair and a nicer face. I never really got used to it, and still prefer the old Cole.
Infamous 2 doesn’t stray far from its predecessor in the sound department. Cole’s powers, even after having been augmented, sound exactly the same. Not that this is a problem, as his electric abilities allow for quite a range of sound effects. The city itself is alive with pedestrians, monsters, birds, and other elements that contribute to a tapestry of sound that weaves its way through the game. The big drawback is the voice acting. To go along with his visual redesign, Cole also has a new voice, much more gentle than his gruff vocals from the first game. Quite simply, I didn’t like it and never bought him as Cole, killing much of the sympathy I had built up for the character. Nix and Kuo also get terribly annoying throughout the game, both due to the flat writing and also the poor voice acting. This is one of the few games where I longed for an option to cut off the voices and just get the dialogue by subtitle.
Infamous 2 looks good on the surface, with new varied environments and expanded powers. But once you sink your teeth into it, you find poor writing and acting, repetitive gameplay, and the general feeling that you’ve played this before, only it was better the first time. For every legitimate step forward the game takes, it takes another two back.
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