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June 3, 2009
inFamous - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
4/6/2009SonySonySucker Punch1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Overlooking a small part of the city below.
Sony has been claiming for over a year now that 2009 would be the year of the PS3. We're almost half way through that year now and despite some increasing sales we can't say there have been too many breakthrough moments or blockbuster titles. Killzone 2 was a great title, especially on a technical level, receiving positive reviews around the globe, but those reviews did not translate into sales with only 1.5 million units sold to date, and barely a move in hardware sales as a result. Now we have their second 'tentpole' game of 2009 - inFamous.

Developers Sucker Punch may not be a company which you are familiar with, but they did develop one of the most impressive franchises on the Playstation 2, that being the Sly Cooper series. These games (there were three in total) were groundbreaking, not only due to their unique cel-shaded visuals, but also their delightful gameplay. Could the developer reproduce that success with a new franchise on PS3? Time to find out...

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Explosions and destruction are immense.
Cole, an everyday guy, sets out to deliver a package in the downtown area of Empire City. Present at the scene of a devastating explosion that rocks Empire City, he barely manages to survive the event. As riots erupt in the aftermath, the city collapses into chaos and becomes overrun by powerful criminals.

The city is quarantined from the mainland, and television broadcasts link Cole to the scene of the crime. Cole is now a wanted man, but hes also wielding extraordinary powers as a result of the explosion. As an evolving mystery unfolds, Cole must learn how to grasp his newfound super powers as he searches for the real culprits behind the blast in an attempt to rescue Empire City from complete anarchy.

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Cole can heal members of the public.
inFamous is a third person action game, and it doesn't take too long for the action to start. Indeed from the opening moments you will be struggling to survive after a massive blast has destroyed a large area of the city. As Cole you have the ability to use and control electricity. Fire lighting bolts (similar to Force Lightning in the Star Wars universe), or an electric pulse (which acts very much like a Force Push), create an electric shield or fire electric balls of energy. All of these attacks are effective in taking our, or defending against enemy attacks, but will also drain a little of your stored electric power after each use. Recharging is simple, press R2 when you're standing besides anything that contains some form of electrical current be it a power box, a car battery or a power pole.

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Attacking an enemy from above.
This isn't just an action game though as the developers have provided some moral choices for you to consider while playing. In the opening scenes you will try to force your way through a police blockade, and then try to recover some food from a failed food drop. It's at these points you start to learn about karma. It's your choice; do you fight your way through a police blockade from within a crowd thereby putting the public at risk of injury and putting you on the path of evil, or do you attack the police from a safe area away from other members of the public to make them safe, thereby putting you on the side of good. In another early mission you have the choice to keep all the food for yourself by attacking the hungry civilians, or do you go a bit hungry and share it with everyone. You will find choices throughout this entire game which will affect your karma, and how the public perceives you.

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Draining some power to recharge in inFamous.
The game is choc full of things to do. Being an open-world sandbox game you can go anywhere and do anything in the city at any time. There is so much to do. Healing injured members of the public, working on side missions to make areas of the city safe from enemies, restoring power to various areas which allows you to 'recharge', collecting intelligence in satellite dishes and, of course, working through the numerous story based missions which in turn open up new missions and, eventually, new islands of the city to explore. The length of the game is fairly impressive too with about 10-12 hours to complete the main story missions, but add on quite a few more on to complete all the side missions as well. When you're done playing through the game you will likely want to re-play from the start to try the game from the opposite perspective - good or evil.

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Visual effects are impressive.
There are two areas of this game which we absolutely loved. The first is the ability to scale almost any building or wall within the game. We are all aware of how brilliant Assassin's Creed was in this area but we are going to say that inFamous now takes the mantle for the best climbing up, on, or over buildings we have ever seen. It's a complete joy...

The second area of inFamous which we loved was the way in which the public perception of you changes depending on your actions through the game. If you're good they'll cheer and clap you on, if they don't like you then they will even try to attack you!

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Cars and people go flying.
There really is so little to complain about with inFamous. The few issues we have listed in the following paragraph really are so minor they should not, for any reason, give you an excuse to ignore this title. Certainly our biggest disappointment is that the developers decided not to include any multi-player modes at all. Surely some Deathmatch action with multiple superheroes, even with the same powers, could have added in a little longevity.

Some other nitpicks... Why can Cole run and glide along wires, climb massive buildings and jump from ledge to ledge, but not climb a small wire mesh fence? Finally the surveillance missions, where you need to follow someone dropping off a package without being spotted is a little annoying - its also a little crazy that they are using bright torches so you can spot them a mile away, surely if you're trying to smuggle a package you wouldn't be running around city streets with a torch. Finally we have to say that while there are a tonne of missions there is some repetition with some of the objectives, especially with the side missions and those underground to turn the power grid back on.

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Cole uses the electric missile.
Have a look at the surrounding screenshots. Without a doubt this is one of the most impressive games visually on the PS3 to date. Sucker Punch have delivered one of the most detailed, populated and lively cities we have ever seen in a video game. Following the explosion the city falls into a state of decay and ruin and the developers have capture that feel perfectly. Cole certainly looks the part and inFamous has some brilliant animation - particularly when he is climbing buildings - and certainly some gorgeous visual effects with the electric effects, as well as the exploding cars and weapons fire from enemies. Cut-scenes are shown with a series of animated comic-book styled animations and they really are quite gorgeous with high production values and great narration.

In terms of negatives there are few. The city does look a little too grey and while we understand the city is in a state of ruin with limited power (until you restore it) there could be a bit more colour here and there. Some more parks with grass or flowers, some large colourful banners and so on. The frame rate is quite solid throughout although in the very busy scenes it does tend to drop ever so slightly. Still, minor issues hardly worth mentioning.

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Now that's a nice explosion.
Now we come to the final key element of the game, the audio. Fortunately this is every bit as impressive as all other aspects of this title with an impressive musical score, and some brutal sound effects, particularly the explosions. The use of surround sound channels is probably as accurate and aggressive as I have ever heard - in either a video game or Blu-Ray movie. It is that impressive and with a decent setup you will be blown away.

There is a tonne of dialogue in this game. This comes through via radio links and TV broadcasts, from enemies on the streets and in the cut-scenes. Fortunately both the scripting and delivery is superb. Oh, and talking about the dialogue, listen out for some quotes which sound very much like a movie starring a certain caped crusader. It will crack you up...

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Enemies can be attacked while climbing.
With Sony desperately hoping to have a system seller on its hands with this game (indeed they are creating bundles in many territories with inFamous and a PS3) we have to agree that, at the very least, they have a game well worth playing with your shiny new system.

Technically polished and a joy to play (if a little repetitive), Sucker Punch have delivered the goods with inFamous and it's quite easy to see this opening up to an entire franchise in future. Brilliant, and essential.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSA gorgeous open world with stunning detail and masses of destruction.
SOUNDGreat music and effects, especially surround sound, brilliant dialogue.
GAMEPLAYDo the missions, traverse the world at your leisure, brilliant although slightly repetitive.
VALUEDespite a lack of multi-player the option be good or evil means you'll play though at least twice making it quite lenghty.
OVERALLinFamous is another must-have game on the PS3. Technically brilliant with a decent storyline and riveting gameplay this deserves to be in your collection.

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