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South Park: The Stick of Truth – PlayStation 3 Review

March 12, 2014 Leave a comment

SouthPark ST Box

Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Platform: PlayStation 3 (also available on Xbox 360)
Genre: Role-playing Game
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB: M (Mature)
Release Date: March 4, 2014

Review By: Angelina Sandoval

After having played a number of games that make use of the South Park license, I had officially given up on that one game that would be true to the characters created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Then South Park: The Stick of Truth was announced and everything surrounding this role-playing game, including the fact that the Comedy Central show’s two creative forces would be directly involved, made this title well worth the wait. As it turns out, The Stick of Truth not only turns out to be one of the best South Park games available thus far but it is also one of the funniest games you will play this year.

MEET SOME FRIENDS OF MINE

As Eric Cartman explains in the beginning of the game, a make-believe world (that somewhat resembles a bastardized version of Tolkien’s Middle Earth) is tossed in a war between the forces of good and those that want to claim the ultimate treasure of them all … the Stick of Truth. So, as you can see, it is a good day for you – the new kid in town – to be forced to go out and make friends with fellow fourth graders that are playing this massive citywide child’s game.

SouthPark ST Screen1

After designing your own voiceless character, you come to meet your first real friend by saving a boy everyone knows as Butters. From there, your new friend introduces you to Cartman and, of course, the game. From there you are given the choice between being called a douche or a douche as well get to pick your character class whether you’d like to be a fighter, a thief, a mage or maybe a Jew. Strangely enough, choosing the Jew class doesn’t really add much except that Cartman won’t like you as much as he would if you were a mage or a fighter.

The town of South Park is then open to you as you are given quests by not only Cartman but also by the various resident of the Colorado town whether it’s Mister Lu Kim who runs City Wok or other familiar faces scattered throughout. In fact, one of the things that make The Stick of Truth the ultimate South Park game is the fact that it incorporates not only the main characters but also the entire town.

SouthPark ST Screen2

As a matter of fact, South Park itself is a character in itself and if you’re a fan of the show you will be happy to see all the familiar haunts such as the City Wok, Jimbo’s Guns, the Bijou Theater, Stark’s Pond and South Park Elementary just to name a few key locales. Better yet, thanks to the in-game map, we finally get a better idea of where things are geographically speaking. For example, did you know that Stan, Kyle and Cartman are actually neighbors?

RESPECT MY AUTHORITAH!

Like most role-playing games, you start the game at Level 1 as you level up by completing quests and surviving various battles that occur the minute you accept to take a part in the game. Of course, you are given a crash course in combat, learning not only about the strengths of your opponents as well as their different attacks but also learn the intricacies of turn-based combat that everyone within the game finds quite lame.

SouthPark ST Screen3

In fact, combat is The Stick of Truth’s biggest disappointment as it is not only bogged down by its repetitive old-school nature but also by the turn-wheel mechanics that make selecting your attacks and special abilities somewhat of a nuisance. Sure, you can upgrade your equipment, armor and your choice of weapons but in the end you will find that you’d much rather avoid combat than get locked into battle with the “elves” or even those damn Mongolian kids.

Still it’s something of a rare treat to be siding with a number of South Park’s recognizable characters in combat. Having Butters by your side swinging his little hammer or gently patting you on your back to heal you is downright adorable but it’s also a blast to summon the likes of Mister Lui Kim (in his Chinese battle garb he wore when he tried to fight off the Mongolian horde in that one episode) or Stan’s hilarious father who teaches you the mystical art of – well – farting. Think of flatulence as a special spell much like the Shouts in Skyrim.

HOWDY-HO, EVERYONE!

The game is filled to the brim with Easter eggs that will have you busy whether it is trying to locate every Chinpokomon as well as a variety of side quests … many of which are available at specific times. The story is well written and what began as an elaborate child’s game turns into something even bigger that threatens the town itself whether it is battling against Crab People, alien visitors or a conspiracy involving tacos. Oh yeah, even Mr. Hanky makes an appearance. Thankfully you will have a number of companions that will aid you in saving the town and the world that includes everyone from Tweek to Kenny (who really is the fairest Princess) even if you have to go through (or inside) Mister Slave.

SouthPark ST Screen5

Delightfully enough, The Stick of Truth looks exactly like you’re playing an episode from the show itself – which, in itself, is not a difficult task to accomplish considering the fact that the show was purposely made to look crappy. It’s also great to see numerous nods to episodes from the show that pop up throughout your exploration of the town itself. There are sight gags aplenty as well, many of them of the mature variety that are true to many of the characters themselves. For example, if you happen to be in Eric’s house take a quick side trip to Mrs. Cartman’s room and you’ll get what I’m saying.

Even better, though, is the fact that the voice acting found throughout the game come directly from the talents of the voice actors themselves and I’m not talking the usual sound clips found in other South Park games. Matt Stone and Trey Parker provide some truly hilarious dialogue that won’t fail to crack you up or put a smile on you face all throughout the game. Then there’s the music that is classic South Park as well as some memorable tunes that can be heard over the radio such as “Taco-Flavored Kisses,” Finger Bang” and a song about too many minorities in the water park just to name a few songs heard.

SouthPark ST Screen4

South Park: The Stick of Truth will be remembered for not only making brilliant use of the show’s license but also bringing us one truly hilarious role-playing game that would fit nicely with the show’s current season. Sure, combat is not as satisfying as eating a bag of Cheesy Poofs but the story and the ability to explore one of the best little town’s in Colorado definitely makes it worth the price of admission alone. South Park fans, you do not want to miss out on this game … I am super cereal.

GAME FRONTLINE RATING

Gameplay: 8.0
Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 9.0
Appeal: 9.0
Overall: 9.0

Review copy provided by Ubisoft

Categories: Feature Review, PS3 Review

Grand Theft Auto V – PlayStation 3 Review

September 21, 2013 Leave a comment

GTA5 Box

Publisher: Rockstar Games
Developer: Rockstar North
Platform: PS3 (also available on Xbox 360)
Genre: Action
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB: M (Mature)
Release Date: September 17, 2013

GR Choice Award

Review By: Eduardo Zacarias

Ah, the choices that life presents us.

Two armed thieves are holding a store manager at gunpoint but the idiots forgot to bring along a getaway driver … until you just so happen to stumble upon their dilemma. One thief tells you that you’ll get a cut from their score if you find a car and drive them the hell out of the scene and thus participate in a Drive-like cop-evasion car chase. Then again, you can be the hero your community needs by responding to the thieves’ request by shooting them dead instead and stopping the robbery.

GTA5 screen1

These are but just a few of the spontaneous activities that pop up during the course of Grand Theft Auto V as we make a return to the city of Los Santos in an epic story that brings together three very different characters.

Just as it was back in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the city of Los Santos is basically a tongue-in-cheek version of sunny Southern California from its tourist trap streets of Hollywood (called Vinewood here), down the gorgeous Pacific Coast Highway and straight into the great outdoors of what the game calls Blaine County. So, as you can imagine, the map is huge to the point that it makes the Liberty City of Grand Theft Auto IV seem tiny in comparison.

After a rather lengthy installation, you are quickly introduced to the game’s story mode where we take part in a bank heist gone wrong in another city. Years later, we find ourselves taking control of Franklin who not only happens to find and deliver repo cars to the auto dealership where he works but also deal with his neighborhood and his friends that feel that Franklin isn’t gangsta enough.

On the other end of the spectrum is Michael, a seasoned criminal who has made his money and wisely invested enough of it to buy a lavish home in the hills. Unfortunately, he’s not happy with his life and, most especially, his family that consists of an unfaithful wife, a selfish slob of a son and a superficial daughter. On top of his family situation, Michael feels that he was only truly happy when he was pulling elaborate heists.

GTA5 screen2

Finally, there’s Trevor, the unstable lunatic who will not hesitate to put a bullet in your eye if you even look at him funny. Michael and Trevor have a history together so Trevor considers him the only real friend he has in a world filled with idiots. In a way, Trevor is your excuse to go on killing sprees without a thought about your consequences … a personality trait that he does not share with Michael or Franklin who commit acts of violence but know that they have a choice to solve problems without causing a hefty body count.

Together, the three characters come together to become partners in crime as they plan and execute heists. You can, after meeting each character, switch between either three, which leads to a satellite view of the city as you jump into the body of the character you pick. Interestingly enough, each time you switch characters you interrupt activities they happen to participating in while not in use. For example, I switched between Franklin to Michael only to find Michael playing a round of golf (which is one of many playable mini-games). Then I switched to Trevor, only to find him – inexplicably – gunning down police officers at a roadblock with burning vehicles to his left and right.

The main story missions themselves are varied, thankfully; now include checkpoints so you don’t have to start the mission from the very beginning. As you might have already guessed, many of the missions involve impressive heists that make use of the individual talents of each character. You will participate in everything from a jewelry store heist to assassination missions like the one where you kill a target who regularly rides the bus. You even rob a cargo plane in mid-flight using a biplane you use to crash right into the cargo hold of the plane.

GTA5 screen3

Of course, there are loads of side missions, mini-games and even spontaneous moments that are triggered on the map such as the situation I mentioned in the beginning of this review. The side missions come in the from of the Strangers and Freaks missions that have you doing jobs for people that include a crack addict from Franklin’s neighborhood to a paparazzo who wants you to help him film a celebrity sex tape by sneaking into a celebrity’s home and record her doing the nasty.

Still, it’s the unscripted moments that become the one of many highlights of your GTA experience. You can spend hours just exploring every side street of Los Santos, the great outdoors that makes up Blaine County or even the depths of the ocean near Paleto Bay. The map is big enough to house thousands of secrets, collectibles and extras. I literally spend two hours taking a dirt bike through the woods, avoiding hikers who are either setting up tents or backpacking their way up the mountain. You can easily spend the time playing tennis in a country club as well as play a full round of golf.

Other activities help increase each characters skills or abilities by sometimes doing something as simple as driving around the city or even running. You can walk into an Ammu-Nation and take on a few marksmen challenges that can lead to unlocking discounts for weapons you can buy and upgrade. Speaking of upgrades, you can upgrade your vehicles (as well as take your car to a car wash because people in Los Santos judge your ride). You can even purchase clothing for your characters as well as give them better hairstyles.

GTA5 screen4

As far as the controls are concerned, Grand Theft Auto V improves on just about every aspect of the driving, shooting and even melee attack controls. Driving is a huge improvement, making the vehicles control more smoothly than in the fourth game in the franchise. Rockstar has taken a page from its own games like Red Dead Redemption as well as L.A. Noir for the shooting mechanics, making targeting so much easier. In fact, it can be a bit too easy for most, but you can always switch to free targeting. You can also take cover behind objects as well.

The character AI is both a hit-and-miss, however, leading to moments when your opponents seem to want to run into your line of fire instead of ducking for cover. Still, this is a minor gripe compared to a few other hiccups that pop up in the game. Still, whatever flaw you might encounter in the game feels minor compared to all the things the game does right. No glitch really detracts from the fun and there was never a moment where I felt truly frustrated. Sure, cops are alerted quickly for the littlest thing but once you know how to elude them you will find yourself moving on to your next crime.

How does the PlayStation 3 version stack up the Xbox 360 version, you might ask? Well, aside from the fact that the Xbox 360 contains two discs (one is the install disc while the other is to play the game); the two look nearly identical to each another graphics-wise. This is good news considering that Rockstar caught some flack from Sony fans for getting the short end of the stick for Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. Sure, the Xbox 360 version has a slight advantage when it comes to shadows and foliage but the PS3 version does not disappoint in the very least.

On the visual side, Los Santos is absolutely breathtaking in just about every way and incredibly detailed to the point that you will often find yourself stopping long enough to admire the scenery around you. People go about their business impressively whether they stop to snap pictures of a car crash or go to a spot in the park to join others in a group yoga class. Even explosions look remarkable in this game.

GTA5 screen5

The game’s sound and soundtrack, once again, is a highlight of any GTA game. This is certainly the type of game you play with the volume cranked up just for the hilarious bits of conversation you’ll hear just standing around in the streets. The dialogue is handled wonderfully as well and the atmospheric sound effects drive home the feeling you’re in the great outdoors or standing outside somewhat familiar Vinewood locales. The radio stations are an eclectic mix that works whether you like hip-hop, classic rock or country just to name a few musical genres represented in the game.

The few minor glitches and gripes I have with the game pale in comparison to all the things the game has to offer including the massive map that comes to life more beautifully than in other Grand Theft Auto titles. This, along with the improvements in control, make for a rich and enticing experience that will give gamers literally thousands of hours of much to see and do.

One minor regret, however, is that the online multiplayer portion – billed as Grant Theft Auto Online – is not up and running yet. In fact, it will be available free to all GTAV owners in October so we will bring you a review for it when it is finally up and running.

GTA5 screen6

Meanwhile, you can take our word for it when I say that Grand Theft Auto V for the PS3 is one of the best the franchise has produced and, simply put, a truly epic game that has a lot to offer even for those who have become tired of the open-world sandbox games. With three intriguing characters, loads of missions and extras, you will find this huge world a sandbox you will not want to leave anytime soon.

GAME FRONTLINE RATING

Gameplay: 9.5
Graphics: 9.0
Sound: 10
Appeal: 10
Overall: 10

Review copy provided by Rockstar Games

Categories: PS3 Review

Saints Row IV – PlayStation 3 Review

August 25, 2013 Leave a comment

SR4 Box

Publisher: Deep Silver
Developer: Volition
Platform: PlayStation 3 (also available on Xbox360)
Genre: Action
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB: M (Mature
Release Date: August 20, 2013

Review By: Jerry Zacarias

The Saints Row series has always marched to the beat of its own over-the-top crazy drumbeat to the point that it managed to crave out its own niche among the mass of Grand Theft Auto-inspired sandbox games. With Saints Row: The Third, the series took a turn to an even more zanier territory that continued to provide plenty of laughs but just didn’t quite hit the spot the way the Saint’s second outing did. Now, with Saints Row IV, the franchise ditches crime sprees for world-saving superhero antics.

SR4 screen1

Ok, that last sentence isn’t entirely true since your created character is still the leader of a notorious and beloved-by-all gang that had – in the last game – became so popular that you and your crew were the stars of a sci-fi blockbuster movie. You still participate in hilariously illegal shenanigans that have become familiar to the franchise and, yes, your homies are still a menace to law enforcement.

However, because of the fame generated by you and key members of the Saints such as Shaundi and Kinzie, the gang has become heroes. Think of it as a statement about society’s insistence on celebrating debauchery and thug culture. Saints Row IV opens with your character being America’s last hope in stopping a nuclear missile in a first mission that eventually ends with you becoming an actual hero. It is this feat that leads you to the White House itself as President of the United States.

Hilariously, your Presidency consists of a number of changes to the White Crib that includes a staff made up of members of the Saints as well as a Vice President that just so happens to be actor Keith David (who, interestingly enough, voiced a key character in the first two Saints Row games). All seems to be going well despite the fact that you’re still the leader of a gang until an alien invasion changes everything. We meet Zinyak, an alien warlord that is determined to take the planet by force and enslave the human race and Zinyak actually succeeds.

SR 4 screen4

It doesn’t take you long to discover that you are living a lie in a Matrix-like version of Steelport as a glitch in the system wakes you up to this reality. As a result, you manage to take control of yourself and exploit this recreated world by becoming something of a superhero complete with super powers. You don’t just move around the open-world … you can leap up buildings, zip through the backstreets of Steelport like The Flash and even glide from rooftop to rooftop. You’re practically Superman in this world.

Consequently because of these powers, Saints Row IV feels less and less like the first two games and more like the bastard love child between Crackdown and Prototype. As you complete missions, you will find yourself developing new abilities that will make you even more powerful to the point that upgrading weapons such as sub-machine guns and pistols will seem pointless. I mean, who needs an AK-47 when you can pick up a car over your head and slam it into an alien enemy?

Still, despite the powers, those who do prefer to run-and-gun there are a number of interesting alien weaponry to complete your arsenal collection. Aside from the decent alien pistols, there’s a cool energy sword for those real close encounters as well as even more interesting weapons that cause interesting damage. For example, there’s the Abductor, which creates a vortex that sucks targets into it. Then there’s the Dubstep guns that really aren’t as impressive as they should have been.

SR4 screen2

As I said earlier, you’ll find it a lot more effective using your powers rather than using your guns to take down enemies. Why blast alien forces when you can toss them around with your telekinetic powers or freeze an opponent then bash them to pieces with your first, right? On top of that, you can upgrade said powers as well as your health to the point of being nearly invincible.

Sadly, it’s this near invincibility and super powers that the action tends to get monotonous. Really, the only real challenge comes from the mini bosses that show up throughout the game. Really, what’s the point in calling homies when you are just as powerful as the Man of Steel?

However, despite all of this, Saints Row IV does not stray too far from it zany antics that makes this series such a delight to play. It’s sense of humor is still one of the series’ highlights and there are plenty of laughs that not only the game’s script throws at you but also funny moments you yourself create be it how you created your character (don’t mess with my fat Chuck Norris creation) or gliding across Steelport stark naked.

The game also takes comical stabs at other games whether it’s a romance option that will bring the Mass Effect games to mind (only with hilarious results) as well as Splinter Cell and/or Metal Gear with a stealth segment. There are also plenty of collectibles scattered throughout the game that will have you exploring a Steelport that is basically pretty much the same as it was in the third outing. You’ll find returning favorites in the game as well, such as the Insurance Fraud, street races and the destructive demolition missions.

SR4 screen3

Thankfully, the main campaign missions are fun and many of them are just hilariously insane such as the mission where you are transported to the 1950s to destroy trucks spreading propaganda after realizing that you are living out some ‘50 sitcom role. On top of the story missions there are plenty of side missions, including a few Loyalty Missions as well.

Once again, two-player co-op makes its return and it allows you to tackle the map with a friend and it works well without too much lag. The fun comes in both characters being able to unleash their superpowers against the alien horde as well as on each another in fun deathmatch skirmishes.

As far as the character creation tool is concerned, it is still just as deep and addictively entertaining as it was in the third game. You’ll even find an even bigger selection of clothing options with numerous accessories to make your character as close to you as possible … or create a total freak show.

Then there’s the game’s soundtrack that is an eclectic mix of various musical genres whether they come from the various radio stations or the tunes that play during key moments in the game. The music definitely adds to the hilarity on the screen just as it did in the first three games. On top of that, of course, there’s the voice acting that continues to be top-notch whether its most of the returning cast or the inclusion of the always awesome Nolan North (who voices Nathan Drake in the Uncharted games) as one of three male voices for your created character.

SR4 screen5

The game’s visuals still feels like it has been ripped straight out of Saints Row The Third and – as I mentioned – so it the map of Steelport. While I did like the character design and the visual gags of the third game, I just wish there were more interesting places to see in the city. Still, the alien simulation adds some interesting twists at some point in the game that brings players back to familiar stomping grounds from the first game and there are funny animations aplenty. Unfortunately, there are also a number of graphical glitches in this game that has characters speaking without flapping their lips.

With all its destructive fun, over-the-top comedic moments and amazing super abilities, Saints Row IV loses a little of what made the franchise that worthwhile alterative to the GTA series. Still, that’s not to say that you won’t have fun playing this game because its nearly 20-hour campaign is loaded with enough crazy fun to keep you occupied. It’s just too bad that the super hero antic gets old fast and Steelport is still the same city you played through in the first game. Other than that, Saints Row IV is a game fans should definitely check out either way.

GAME FRONTLINE RATING

Gameplay: 7.5
Graphics: 8.0
Sound: 8.5
Appeal: 7.0
Overall: 7.5

Categories: PS3 Review

While We Were Away – Fist Full Of Micro Reviews

March 27, 2013 Leave a comment

While we were still waiting for news that we would finally be owners of this site, the staff of Game Revolver didn’t just spend the free time watching YouTube videos of skateboarders cracking bones and praying nightly that the “Harlem Shuffle” fad will die that horrible death that it deserves very soon, we have been playing games.

So here’s a collection of micro reviews of games that we should meant to review but couldn’t.

ALIENS: COLONIAL MARINES

AliensCM Xbox
As fans of the James Cameron film featuring our favorite acid-blooded aliens, we foolishly had high hopes that Sega would do justice to a game set after the events of the movie. Hell yeah we would love to tear the aliens apart as a colonial marine in the exact same place where Ripley, Hicks, Bishop and Newt managed to escape so of course we were on board. However, nothing hurts more when your hopes are smashed to pieces when you’re presented with a game that is this lackluster, repetitive and without any redeemable value. Also, the multiplayer is poorly executed.

Be prepared to see this game in Angelina’s column very soon. Yeah, it’s just that bad.

OVERALL GRADE: D-

DEAD SPACE 3

DeadSpace3 Box
While this third chapter in the Dead Space saga might not be as great as the first game or the second, there’s much to like about this one thanks to the great balance between good storytelling and action that still works well. My heart still belongs to the first game but if you’ve played both you definitely need to play this third game.

OVERALL GRADE: B-


SLY COOPER: THIEVES IN TIME

SlyCoop4 TT Box
Sly fans have been looking forward to this PS3 offering and, for the most part, it does not disappoint although the things that made Sly Cooper games of old so charming and enjoyable have been toned down some in this game. Still, that’s not to say that you won’t have fun with Thieves of Time. In fact, we still recommend this one very enthusiastically either way.

OVERALL GRADE: B+


HITMAN HD COLLECTION

Hitman HD Coll Box
With the arrival of Hitman: Absolution, it just makes sense to remind gamers why Agent 47 is such a bad ass anti-hero we cannot help but love by releasing an HD Collection of the early games like Silent Assassin, Contracts and our personal favorite, Blood Money. While the visuals are not as gorgeous as Blood Money, both Silent Assassin and Contracts more than makes up for it with the addictive mission contracts 47 must complete anyway you – the gamer – see fit.

If you never played the earlier games in the series, you are seriously missing out on some truly enjoyable games that should not be missed if you like an inventive action series with the best feature a game could have … total freedom. This collection is a Must Have for sure.

OVERALL GRADE: A-


DmC: Devil May Cry

DMC_PS3 box
Much has been said about Dante’s younger look and lack of style that made him so darn likeable in that Japanese pop star sort of way but looks aside it’s the gameplay and action that should have been on everyone’s mind and DmC: Devil May Cry does not disappoint whatsoever. Don’t call this a reboot or a comeback, this is an origin story and it works well.

If you liked the original Devil May Cry games, this one hits all the right notes and makes for a solid action-packed title that will make you a fan all over again.

OVERALL GRADE: B+


FAR CRY 3

FarCry3 Box
The Far Cry series has never let us down when it comes to providing an exotic setting that becomes like a second character in this first-person shooter series that keeps you on your toes as you explore your surroundings. This third outing finds a new characters stuck on an island with even more dangers to face as we witness a young man go from helpless victim to stone-cold killer.

Add an equally awesome multiplayer game with enough bells and whistles that Far Cry fans are already accustomed to and you have a game with a lot to offer first-person shooter fans or action junkies in general.

OVERALL GRADE: A

InFamous 2 – PlayStation 3 Review

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Sucker Punch
Platform: PlayStation 3
Genre: Action
MSRP: $59.99
ESRB: T (Teen)
Release Date: June 7, 2011

Review By: Clarke L. Kent

Sucker Punch certainly gave us a wild ride with the super-powered Cole McGrath in the first Infamous game that made PlayStation 3 owners freely roaming a city that has just gone through a catastrophic even. It was such a success that nobody was really surprised when a sequel was announced and now the team gives us a new setting as McGarth’s story continues with Infamous 2 … a game that plays much like the first but trust me when I say that you won’t be complaining.

The original game’s story finds Cole facing off against the Beast that we learned about in the first game’s ending and the opening comic book-styled introduction that has our powered hero taking on said Beast only to lose and be forced to pull out of Empire City to the New Orleans-like New Marais to prepare himself once again. Along for the ride is her buddy Zeke and a new set of allies, two of which are connected to the morality choices that are back again and – unfortunately – handled nearly the same way as the first game. Notice I said “nearly” because there are just a few changes I will get to in a moment but don’t expect any epic changes to the story or character.

New Marais is a very visually stylish city compared to Empire City and parts of it will drive home the images we’ve seen of New Orleans during Katrina. We’re talking flooded areas that display the same devastation and desperation that came with the flooding. It also makes navigating through New Marais an interesting experience despite the fact that the map is about the same size as Empire City. You’ll still be able to follow the story missions anytime you like as well as well as take on Karma/Pedestrian missions and Dead Drops.

Thankfully, Cole begins the game with some powers and, even better, all your powers and power upgrades from the first game so you start off with enough abilities to get you through. Of course, there are new powers you’ll obtain in Infamous 2 that add to Cole’s already diverse list of powers. As I mentioned earlier, you also get morality choices that affect your Karma and that opens up different powers. Karma is linked to two new characters named Nix and Kuo … both ladies represent good and evil choices. Follow the path of evil and you’ll also get an extra set of missions. Unfortunately, the good/bad choices are still kind of lame although now – aside from the old Bio-Leech, Restrain or Heal option – there are other ways to obtain good-bad Karma such as the choice you can make with street performers you’ll find scattered throughout the city.

Cole also has a new weapon that comes in the form of a two-pronged baton that gives him a better edge in the melee combat department. The best part is that there are devastating combos you can pull off with the right tap of the button when the attack meter is full. You’ll need it too since New Marais is filled with an assortment of new enemies … human or monster. There are monsters this time around that will have Cole really stepping up the combat during the frequent skirmishes he’ll get into on missions or just roaming the streets.

In fact, this is one of the game’s continued weaknesses … the irregular number of battles the break out in-between missions. It’s still frustrating to have your exploration of the city interrupted by the enemy attacking you and even more annoying when you’re just about to grab that hard to reach Blast Shard when suddenly some monster attacks or a gunshot from your enemy has tumbling back down to the pavement. Oh yeah and don’t get me started on the camera that is still not your friend.

Still, despite these annoyances, the story-based missions are still a blast to play as are the side missions from the different sources around New Marais. Add Zeke and Bertrand to your allies you’ll find yourself once again taking care of business as well as reactivating generators to unlock various areas of the city. Best yet is the UGC (User Generated Content) creator tool that allows players to come up with their own missions whether it’s a simple fetch quests to a more intricate mission filled with an assortment of enemies and goals. You can even share your missions online much like the user-created levels in Little Big Planet.

The graphics still look excellent, although there are still a few graphical glitches here and there that – thankfully – won’t distract you from enjoying the great visual effects. New Marais is a visual treat and more so for anyone who has been to New Orleans. It’s a colorful and lively place that makes Empire City seem bland in comparison. I still love the comic book-styled cut scenes as well.

Then there’s the sound, that suffers a bit only because another voice actor is handling Cole. Other than that, the soundtrack and the great background noises bring the atmosphere and your surroundings to life and even more so if you’re playing the game with a great sound system.

Infamous 2 is an excellent sequel and, despite the fact that some things haven’t really changed from the first game, you will find yourself happy to be assuming the role of Cole once again. Add new powers, an interesting new setting and the UGC options and you have a game you really should not miss, PS3 owners. There’s definitely more than enough here to warrant a purchase right away.

GAME FRONTLINE RATING

Gameplay: 9.0
Graphics: 8.5
Sound: 8.5
Appeal: 9.0
Overall: 9.0

Categories: PS3 Review