Rated T for Teen
Demo released May 21st; game released May 26th
Available for the PS3 on the PlayStation Network
Published by Sony
What It Is: Ridiculous capitalization aside, Sonys inFAMOUS is an open-world super-powered action game where your actions decide if you're a hero or villain. Like Fable II and Fallout 3, inFAMOUS's open-ended decisions let you play as morally or amorally as you choose, with pros and cons to either side.
Cole, your electrical-powered protagonist, runs and flies throughout a post-disaster city, fighting criminals and helping or preying upon survivors. Your choices impact Cole's karma meter, and have direct influence upon Cole's abilities. The demo landed on PlayStation Network on May 21st, and consists of four missions and about 30 to 60 minutes of gameplay. As in GTA and other open-world games, some missions pop up automatically, whereas you can opt in to both primary and various side missions whenever you choose.
Its Heroic When: you realize the variety of ways Cole can manipulate electricity. He doesnt just shoot lightning bolts from his hands, but can glide, throw electrical grenades, and make powerless subway trains move just by touching them. He also mustve been in Cirque du Soleil, because he can leap and climb skyscrapers like a pro. Busting ass across town like a crazed monkey feels amazing, just as shamelessly fun as in the similar games Crackdown or Spider-Man: Web of Shadows.
Like the best open-world games, its fun simply screwing around in the sandbox environment, blowing up cars and alternately saving or killing civilians at will. On the technical end, inFAMOUS runs smoothly, with both the character and camera being easy to control. Also, the comic-styled cut-scenes are well-made and distinctive.
Bad decisions were made:
with the graphics. Theyre not bad, by any means; character models look good, the animation is solid, and the frame-rate doesnt dip once, even with dozens of enemies on screen. But textures pop in something fierce, and the draw distance is surprisingly limited. The designers pack the city full of details, but things like signs, cars, and civilian designs repeat too frequently. The part of the city shown in the demo isnt unique; it doesnt quite have the soul found in Liberty City or Vice City (though its more fun to interact with than those GTA towns).
Also, the demos first mission, piloting that broken-down subway train, is a bit of a bore. Hopefully the later three give a better idea of the action inFAMOUS will offer. Finally, the demo doesnt provide much insight into the games hyped karma mechanic. I didnt notice any gradual change from good to evil, no matter how virtuous or horrible I acted; Cole would flip from one end of the spectrum to the other from mission to mission, with no explanation why. Hopefully the karma system is more subtle and less dramatic in the final game.
What To Do: The only right choice in this situation is an immediate download. All PS3 owners should grab this as soon as possible. The demo starts slowly, but its a total blast by the end. And like any good demo, it stops dead as soon as youre fully sold on the game.
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