I wondered if not playing the original inFamous would be a hindrance in reviewing this game, but I am happy to say that was not the case. The game alas does start with an interactive flashback to the end of the first game where you re-enact the end battle between our hero Cole and the Beast. After the near cataclysmic conclusion, time then moves on. Maybe our hero and his sidekick will get some peace and quiet? Yeah right...
No the Beast is far from down and out, and is slowly but surely making it's way down the east coast to where our heroes are hoping to just melt into the background and grab some needed rest and relaxation. They know it's a matter of time before Cole's past catches up too him, but then another matter raises its ugly head. Now the fictional city of Las Marias is under siege by an insurgent force that are taking prisoners, and basically oppressing the populace. If only there was someone who could help overthrow them, someone say, with super powers. Anybody with the name Cole and with little else to do, please take a step forward!
The stage is set, let the liberation of Las Marias begin! But just keep a wary eye open for the shadow of the Beast, for every hour that passes, that monster is getting closer and closer, and is just itching for a scrap.
Now the plot has kind of been covered, we can get down to the nitty gritty and take a deeper delve into the game and how it plays itself. First thing to note is that Cole is armed with a melee weapon that resembles the top end of one of those power cable poles you see at roadsides. This deals a meaty amount of electrical based damage to say the least. You'll soon see first hand what it can do as you start wading into the insurgent forces on the outskirts of Las Marias. You may be super powered and packed with enough electrical power to light up a small town, but be aware, Superman you are not. Cole is far from bullet proof and a rocket or a grenade will certainly do more than make your ears ring! Also bear in mind that being powered by electricity means that avoiding water is a darned good idea. Be patient, time your advance and attacks and learn to dodge and do not be afraid to back off, and you should be fine. You'll soon learn that this is not just about wading your way through enemies either, your electrical power can heal the wounded so keep your eyes open for the chance to do so, if you want to that is!
You'll also learn that once you jump, with a push of the R1 button, you can emit pulses that grant you the power to fly. OK at the start it's limited, but with time you'll be able to go higher and further as your energy level increases. The energy available to you is marked by an icon in the top left corner of the screen, which is next to a curved icon that represents your health and marks the choices you have made, but I'll cover that later. The energy icon is shown as a lightning bolt that depletes as you use the powers at your disposal and it can be recharged by absorbing the energy from any local power source, such as street lights and generators. Absorption of the power is activated by standing close too the unit and pressing the L2 button. Recovering health is a different matter, a downed opponent can be targeted and then grappled. Pressing the square button rapidly initiates a struggle with the foe. Winning the struggle, means you will be able to absorb electricity from the target and basically replenish your health. If in combat and taking damage, then the by now fairly standard method of taking cover and waiting will restore lost health. You can also fire energy bolts from cover, in a fire from cover mode as used in Gears of War.
Cole is also an agile devil and can climb most buildings with ease. Whilst not clinging to walls like Spider-Man, he can display an agility that rivals the heroic climbing skills of the star of Assassin's Creed or Nathan Drake. Indeed climbing the highest buildings, gives you an impressive view of the city below you, and like Altair you can leap into the ether, and in a controlled descent can land on your feet in an impressive display of power. Unlike Assassin's Creed there is no hay wagon to land on however. You'll land Hulk like, and leave a crater behind you as well as create a shockwave in your wake. Impressive but hardly subtle, but heck who cares!
Cole is a powerful man indeed, just remember he is not impervious to harm and can be taken down quite easily if you don't think before engaging a large group of foes.
CONTROLS: Controls are responsive indeed, and at times maybe a little too responsive. It's easy whilst in combat to accidentally tap a button, causing you to jump and cling to a nearby lamp post, or onto a fence, railing or something similar, when you want to be engaging the enemy in hand to hand combat. This will leave you very vulnerable to any firearms being aimed at you so bear this in mind. Otherwise if you have the chance, get close, lock on with the R1 button and press the X button to lay in some electricity charged pain. Once you unleash a melee attack, you will see a prompt to press the triangle button. This will deliver a punishing finishing move, which can be upgraded as you progress through the game.
On the plus side, climbing tall buildings is instinctive and not a pain in the butt at all. You can also line yourself up with the directional pad and with a tap of the X button, you can be 'surfing' the power cables between the buildings. Wider distances can be covered by flying as mentioned earlier. Cole responds well to the controls and movement is swift and very very smooth.
PHYSICS: Objects react to being hit as you would expect them too. Glass shatters very realistically, and explosions look very dramatic as well. Cole's lightning based attacks radiate light as the bolts fly, and residual sparks can be seen tracing their way along certain objects like cables, etc. The crowd will either ooh and ahh in admiration, or run away in fright. They will react if you barge through a crowd, either getting bowled over or moving out of the way. The citizens of the city are far from static and unresponsive to you, they react well and if you leave an insurgent shackled on the street, they will kick the trapped man, spit on him or hurl insults.