Thursday, June 23, 2011

inFamous 2

Above: Betty Draper's weaselly brother IS Cole McGrath.

My review of inFamous 2 is up at This is one of those games that makes me question reality, because I haven't read one bad word about it, and I could barely stand to play it. Remember when I talked about how great Outland felt in my hands? inFamous 2 is the opposite. Nothing about this game feels right to me.

I don't like the way Cole McGrath moves, not on the ground or in the air. I don't appreciate the way he clings to objects automatically. I don't understand why the crosshair seems a touch off from where my shots end up. I resent not being able to lock the camera on to bigger enemies, who are able to fire devastating ordinance at me as I stumble into walls, looking for a safe place to hide but inexplicably grabbing a window ledge instead. Playing inFamous 2 feels like having a long, drawn-out argument with my controller.

I would estimate that my inFamous 2 experience broke down like this:
  • 10% failing to run in a straight line
  • 20% climbing something I didn't mean to climb
  • 5% failing to to climb something I meant to climb
  • 10% not damaging the enemy in my crosshairs
  • 5% getting killed all of a sudden for no reason
  • 10% doing unfun story missions
  • 20% doing unfun side missions
  • 20% looking for blast shards
That last 20% was definitely compelling, and it kept me playing longer than I would have expected, given how much fun I wasn't having, which is why I mentioned it in the review. But I want to take a second to talk about the missions. They are terrible. They may bridge cutscenes, but they don't advance the story in and of themselves, and many fail to contain an identifiable beginning, middle, and end. One of the mission objectives was literally to run a couple of blocks. I hadn't even seen what I was supposed to see and suddenly the debriefing screen came up. Then several of the game's unlikable characters had a conversation while I went to get something to drink.

The side missions are even worse, because I felt a junkie-like compulsion to keep completing them. I don't even mean the major side missions, which are often superior to the story missions and which earn you a nice chunk of XP. I mean the little events that pop up frequently as you traverse the map, which affect your karma meter. I foiled so many damn muggings, each one consisting of two immobile bad guys standing next to one immobile victim, all three waiting for me to show up before they started doing anything. Maybe I'd have had more fun if I'd been playing as Evil Cole, and taken random opportunities to murder buskers (really!).

Worst of all, by far, is the -- wait for it -- user-generated content. I've seen some people mention the inclusion of "UGC" as a way to extend the game's lifespan indefinitely, which they say as though it is something desirable. Of course every user-created mission that I played was terrible. That's to be expected. What surprised me was that, in the several days following the launch of inFamous 2, all of the UGC that you could play was provided by Sucker Punch themselves, presumably to set an example. And even that was terrible!

Not terrible in the way that the rest of the game is terrible -- terrible in all new ways. One of these missions had a bug that made it impossible to finish. I thought I had done something wrong, so I played it again, carefully, and the same thing happened. Then a third time. Then I wondered what the hell I was doing with my life. Not playing inFamous 2 anymore, that's for sure.


Ian McCullough said...

Did you play the original? It got many complaints about over-stickiness of grabbing leading to control problems. I'm curious because the controls have never been to everyone's taste, but since they were to mine I'm trying to determine if Sucker Punch messed it up, or if it's more of the same that you don't like.
I do appreciate you giving honest criticism. It's hard to make decisions about spending my money, or my precious free time, when wading through a river of hagiographies. When that happens you end up owning well-reviewed bores like L.A. Noire.

Mitch Krpata said...

I did. The controls are less sticky in the sequel. They added a "drop" button when you're clinging to something, which I believe was missing in the first one, so that's helpful. But the general feel is the same.

Gareth said...

Edge didn't like it very much:

I largely concur with the control problems. There's obviously a subjective element to that but I found the stickiness infuriating.

Mitch Krpata said...

The reviewer even calls out the "vastly superior Prototype"! I'm in love.

Dave said...

The % breakdown of how you spent your time during the game is priceless. Cracked me up.

avixe said...

The PSN demo is always corrupted when I download it. If they can't get that right, the rest of this makes sense.

Jed A said...

Completely agree. I put this on at midnight and played until 5am, mainly collecting those blue / purple orb / shard things. Same crack that addicted me in the older (but far better implemented) Crackdown, and it proved compulsive to me here too. However, they're placed here with less obvious care and cleverness than Crackdown's placings, and I didn't really have any desire to play much of the story missions outside of this. Fired the game up again a couple of days later and just couldn't bring myself to play it again.

I got it as a free promo copy, I think I'd be PO'd if I'd bought this. So many better games of the type out there, and so many that make the basic action of moving through the environment infinitely more enjoyable. Spamming up the side of a building is a poor substitute for Spidey 2's webs, Just Cause 2's Grapple, or even Crackdown's super-jumping. Cole never feels like a superhero - he feels like a videogame character and never anything more.

don63 said...

I feel the same towards Assassin's Creed 1 and Brotherhood.

Flashear said...

I'm so excited, i wanna play this game

Random nobody said...

This game is essentially infamous 1.
In terms of gameplay there are no new stuff to do. The storyline is a bit changed but rarely do i felt impatient as to what will happen next. The visuals are improved over the original which is to be expected. All in all if you hated/liked the original Infamous you'll hate/like this one.

charles2029 said...

This series is definitely not for everyone. It's one of those, you either like it or you don't