The first inFamous came around in a much needed time for Sony. It was the only good PS3 exclusive to come out in a while, and it did help a console struggling to find it's footing against the Halo monster. Unfortunately, it wasn't an amazing game. It felt unpolished and repetitive a lot of the time; plus finding the damned blast shards was a total pain in the ass.
The only things I was really expecting with inFamous 2 were improvements on those issues, and looking at it from that perspective they over-delivered. The diversity in powers and abilities help keep the game fresh You won't just unlock everything half-way through a playthrough and get bored. The missions themselves are varied and just not as tedious. Plus, they added a blast shard detector, even if it's the last power you unlock.
Story wise, the second is much improved, probably thanks to how the characters are written and how they interact. For example, a character like Zeke, who is supposed to be your best friend/powerless sidekick, was annoying as a mosquito while driving in the first game. Here he is much more useful and funny. It might help that Cole treats him like shit most of the game, but he deserved it.
Other characters like Quo and Nix liven up the cast, which is a step up from the first game that had very few characters at all. They also add the concept of adding characters to each 'side' of the game, basically picking between your allies depending on the actions you take.
The whole 'good/evil' thing is obviously still there, it's supposed to be the thing that holds the game together, but it seems to fall at the wayside. The only things really affected by this decision are the powers you unlock, like a quarter of the missions and side missions, and the final battle itself, and the ending. The bulk of the game is the same thing no matter how you act, making this system kinda dumb. On top of that, one would think that it would be easier to be evil and not worry about harming bystanders if they got in the way (which they do, a lot) but the powers you unlock on the good side are actually better this time around.
|Dick Cheney wants you to pick the red one... He's always watching.|
Making matters worse, when you decide to be evil, you don't get to be 'badass evil'... You get to be 'douchebag evil'. What do I mean? Lets put it this way... You would love to be The Joker from The Dark Knight; all awesome and badass, with great lines and blowing up shit with style. But no, you get to be The Riddler from Batman Forever... All cheesy and whiny, kinda cowardly and with horrible one liners. I understand that they're trying to guilt you into being good and stuff, but if you're going to give us the option of being evil you should try to make it mostly enjoyable, not just sickening. It's a game, not a guilt trip.
That said, the endings don't compare. The 'good' ending, while decent has nothing on the 'evil' one. The final sequence on the Dick Cheney playthrough was awesome heart wrenching. Truly the mark of good character development (not Cole's). Even if the blue ending is the canon one, the red one is a definite must, it's quite enjoyable.
All in all, inFamous 2 is truly a vast improvement over an already pretty good first game. With improvements in the obvious areas, plus a much better story, Sucker Punch really upped the ante. The formula works, and I expect a third, no matter how it ended. If they keep improving at this rate, that third game could really be something special. Lets just hope they don't fuck it up.