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Kuo « Nitpixels

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inFamous 2’s moral missteps

In this piece I will be discussing the recently released inFamous 2, and I feel I should preface myself with some warnings to the reader.  First is the obligatory SPOILER WARNING;  I will be discussing some of the bigger story events in the game, so should you want to remain unspoiled you should look away.  Second, while I will be taking a rather harsh and critical look at one specific aspect of infamous 2, this should in no way be read as a negative review.  In fact, the gameplay here is an excellent improvement on the original, with tons of content and well worth the full price of admission.  But, as this site’s name implies, sometimes you can’t help but nitpick.

The inFamous franchise aims to take the concept of moral choices in games, mechanics usually restricted to RPG titles, and bring them into its decidedly action-focused game world.  The series follows Cole McGrath, an ordinary guy with a flair for parkour who gets the extraordinary ability to control lightning, as he travels through the fictional vistas of Empire City and New Marais trying to survive and avert-or cause-varying levels of destruction and mayhem.  The player’s choice between good and evil paths is central to the gameplay, affecting not only Cole’s appearance but also what powers he can access, with Evil abilities that tend to exhibit a rampant disregard for collateral damage and civilian casualties.

inFamous handles this concept of morality rather clumsily.  In the first game, things had a fair setup:  you’re given an inhuman amount of power and placed in a horrible situation. Do you go the Spider-Man route and accept the great responsibility to help those around you, or do you put on the Joker makeup and relish in the chaos and madness?  Unfortunately, the games stumble in the execution of these ideas, with inFamous 2 making more missteps than its predecessor.  Both games make the classic mistake of giving each moral conflict only two drastically opposed resolutions without any semblance of subtlety or middle ground.  Cole can either be an electrical messiah, healing the sick and arresting muggers with energy handcuffs, or he can be murderous psychopath, using prisoners as kindling for a bonfire while chucking grenades at innocent bystanders.

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