JOYSTICK: ‘Infamous 2’ hits big, but misses the detail mark

Published 11:00 am Sunday, June 12, 2011

There’s plenty of reasons to like “Infamous 2.”

It’s got interesting comic book ideas combined with free range action platforming that makes for an awesome game. Unfortunately, it’s so wrapped up in the bigger picture that “Infamous 2” misses out on the little details.

The game allows players to control a souped-up superhero with electric powers. Using an electricity conducter that doubles as a giant whooping stick, you run around a city based on New Orleans saving the day from redneck militants and a giant evil enemy (or five).

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At face value, this makes for an awesome game, especially since you can be a superhero or supervillian. When you’re not doing missions, you can do heroic acts that make people like you, or you can rampage around town, kill a ton of citizens and become a superpowered wrecking ball.

Where the game struggles is the process of getting to awesome moments. The game’s protagonist Cole McGrath is a parkour expert, meaning he’s capable of climbing buildings, making absurd jumps and doing a whole bunch of free running. This doesn’t always work in the player’s favor, as the controls feel wonky, or even non-responsive, whenever you try to pick up power ups or deal with baddies on rooftops.

Since parkour’s become a staple in these sandbox action games, there’s really no excuse for having stupid control issues. When the game works, however, it’s a thing of beauty as you can quickly climb, run, jump and blast anything and everything that’s in your way.

The addition of the “Amp,” your giant baton used to beat bad guys, is a welcome layer to the game and a definite improvement over the first “Infamous.” The cutscenes are gorgeously campy and comic book-styled, and the gritty characterizations make the absurd plot twists (even by comic book standards) forgivable and enjoyable.

“Infamous 2” is a wild, electric ride. Be prepared to hit some pitfalls, but the fast-paced action and alignment shifts helps the game’s replay value and makes it a great addition to your gaming library.