InFamous - PS3 review

4 out of 5
£49.99

For

Huge world to explore, excellent climbing abilities, fantastic cutscenes

Against

Bland powers to start with, frame rate problems

Sony’s big PS3 hope for the summer months, infamous, stars one of those twisted super hero types that always seem incredibly popular. As Cole McGrath, you find yourself slap bang in the middle of a hefty blast which does its damndest to destroy the city, leaving you with the kind of super powers we all slyly dream of.

The biggest power bestowed upon him is the ability to fire electronic bolts out of the palms of his hands. To start with, Cole can utilise this skill to dispatch the enemy types that are taking advantage of this ravaged city, blast away at handily damaged pieces of scenery, and charge himself up at any power point he stumbles across.

Over the course of the game your powers will grow and change with regards to how you act, hence you can eventually command the heavens to send huge lightening bolts down to earth to obliterate everything in its path.

But, reminiscent of the Xbox 360 title Crackdown, Cole is also quite an impressive climber. The game does its level best to direct you towards the items you can grab and climb with, allowing you to swiftly scurry up the side of buildings and traverse across precarious ledges. Even huge plummets will barely cause Cole to pause for thought allowing you to attempt to climb almost anything in the game world.

And as enjoyable as both facets of the game are, it’s the clambering that truly feels super powerful. While your electric skills are handy, they don’t get truly fantastic until much later on in the game. Which though an understandable gameplay mechanic, does cause the early sections to suffer when you can feel a touch underpowered. But right from the start you can climb and traverse the dangerous surroundings, meaning the fun starts right from the opening sections.

Being charged with masses of electricity some things are beyond Cole’s reach. Touch water and that’s an instant death, unsurprisingly. Similarly, it's made known right at the start that traditional guns explode at the slightest touch so your only methods of brawling are with your fists, or using your powers.

What’s a touch more interesting are the moral choices you’ll need to make. Though they do veer to either black or white with no mix in-between, the choices you make will shape the powers you’ll utilise later on in the game. It’s a system that many games now use and it works to a point. Though your choices are narrow and blatantly sign posted, they still do give you the opportunity to be a thoroughly pleasant chap, or a downright blood lusting murderer.

Thankfully the story that pushes things along is one of the better of recent attempts. Comic book styled cutscenes do an excellent job at introducing characters, building personalities, and telling the whole sorry story of just why the city is crumbling around you.

What’s slightly more disappointing is the sheer blandness of the missions. They’re your standard fare for these kind of freeform titles, with story missions sticking solely to either destruction or escorting something/someone. Thankfully the open world does allow for a wide range of more appealing side activities which do an excellent job of breaking up what could have become standard gaming monotony. Similarly, enemy types are few in number, and the sheer number of irritating machine gun nests is incredible.

It’s a shame that visually this isn’t quite what you’d expect from a PS3 exclusive. The world is detailed enough, but colour wise things are a touch bland. And while clutter litters the streets, pop up and frame rate problems rear their ugly heads from time to time.

Verdict

InFamous is most certainly an enjoyable game. While some of your powers start off at a lowly level, the chance to traverse a crumbling city with little worries is a true joy.

It’s just a shame that the visuals weren't a few notches more impressive and a little more variety added to the missions. Which leaves us with merely an impressive title rather than a fully-fledged classic.