8.5

With a couple of improvements this could have been a classic.

The first inFamous was a terrific game, not a flawless one but a gripping experience which mixed open world exploration with strategic combat. While it didn't look as good as you might have expected of a PS3 exclusive, it was nevertheless still fairly pretty and had a solid sound design. Where it cored heavily were its premise, its writing and its characters. All were solid and entertaining. Sucker Punch took a pretty well worn premise and polished it till it gleamed.

In relation to that game inFamous 2 is both better and slightly disappointing. It looks a hell of a lot better. New Maris is a fun and colourful town. The various powers and enemies are beautiful and impressive. The effects, the sound design, the new powers, the leveling system have all been improved. As a sequel to a well liked and respected game it's a fine piece of work. It's compelling too. Baring maybe two points in a 30+ hour play through I found myself eager and fascinated to see what would happen next. The urgency of the situation was brought home and you you really want to carry out the main story missions.

The problems with the game are few but they are noticeable. Noticeable enough that it's unlikely to be as well loved as its progenitor. The change of look for Cole McGrath is not too difficult to swallow but the change of voice actor is. The new guy isn't bad but he sounds less substantial that our hero is want to. He comes off as flip rather than bad ass. It's a change for the worse.

The worse difficulty though comes with the way Sucker Punch handled the two new side kick characters. They had the potential to be seriously interesting. They could have made the game epic, in the way that Mass Effect 2 is epic. Unfortunately they suffer from two major sins. First is that they pop in and out of the story, seemingly at random. There are times when you're off on a main plot line fight and you think to yourself, 'where the hell are the ladies?' They seldom are given a reason to turn up. If Sucker Punch had been prepared to make the switch from single protagonist game play to team based game play it would have added a hell of a lot. As it is, while there are a few sections when your companions come and join the good (or bad) fight, it's far too infrequent.

The second problem with them is that they're built up to one of the most painfully obvious plot twists in recent years. Anyone who didn't see that coming... . It was painful and not even particularly believable. It spoils the closing portions of the game. You're left feeling that there was seriously wasted potential. With a little more effort put into developing the secondary characters, both as written and as game play elements and this would have been a classic. Unfortunately the Sucker Punch seems to have wasted that time and money in handing us a set of development tools. They're a nice touch but I'd far rather have had them work on making the game itself better.

All in all inFamous 2 is an excellent game. Good looking, fun to play, with a solid story and some fine characters. Its improvements over the first game are extremely welcome and it leaves you wanting to play more games set in this world. Were it not for a few but telling flaws this would have been a game of the year contender.

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