Two months ago, I read an article in Gameinformer about the upcoming sequel, and was concerned to see that the developers had chosen to make aesthetic changes instead of addressing what (I thought) were the biggest issues with the game. Cole McGrath had been changed from a rugged, almost ugly biker into a pretty boy with the likeness of an "extreme sports star - like Travis Pastrana, Tony Hawk or Shaun White," (Stead, 2010: p49). From the article I concluded that most gamers can't relate to a protagonist unless they are attractive and "more sympathetic". IGN has reported that Cole is now looking more like his former self, however I'm yet to see revised concept art for the series' protagonist.
The problems with inFamous have nothing to do with Cole specifically, and more to do with repetitive mission design and the inordinately high difficulty of the standard action. When accepting side missions you know you will be doing one of 5 things:
- Escorting prisoners
- Tracking gang members to an eventual, small scale battle
- Item retrieval (hidden packages or medical supplies)
- Vehicle escort
- Area clearance (routing either enemies of surveillance devices)
The biggest issue I had with inFamous was the inconsistent difficulty level. On Medium setting, the average Reaper, Dustman or First Son is more durable than Superman and the Incredible Hulk merged into one stubborn super-being. These standard goons have almost infallible aim, and would be able to shoot individual flakes of dandruff off of your head if that was their intention. Unfortunately, your enemies intend to actually hurt you, not perform trick shots, and these controller-smashingly difficult grunts at times made standard combat a grind. Boss fights however were much more undemanding, to the point where the final boss battle felt anti-climatic (at least as far as difficulty is concerned).
Keep Cole gritty. Keep me looking for Blast Shards and Dead Drops. Vary the mission design, and make the difficulty more consistent and inFamous 2 will be enjoyable, if not perfect.
What are you playing this weekend? I'm intending to start playing through the single player portion of Battlefield: Bad Company 2. What do you think of Bioshock Infinite?