So, in the midst of the annual E3 nonsense (this has to be one of the more underwhelming shows in years), I've managed to play through and complete Infamous 2
on the Good path. Overall, it's...more or less the first Infamous again, but with more polish and some much-needed gameplay tweaks that add both speed and power to the game. The new city of New Marais is both more interesting and much better rendered than the first game's Empire City, and character animation and in-game cutscenes are loads
better (they're not using the Sly Cooper-style twitchy character animation anymore) and more epic in scope. The story is much better told than in the first game, and while moral choices remain obvious and binary they don't descend into the level of "I could help this guy out, or I could shoot this box of puppies!" silliness that the first game did. Melee combat is so much better now than in the first game, as well, with a simple combo system. And really, if you aren't smacking the scum of New Marais around with the Sly Cooper cane (forget that silly tuning fork the game wants you to use), you're playing the game wrong
While most abilities are taken away at the beginning of the game, you retain many of your important ones from the first game (notably power line grinding and the Static Thrusters) so you start off the game actually feeling empowered and mobile (both of these were abilities granted late in the first Infamous, and radically change how you play the game). And as opposed to the first game's consistent grind, Infamous 2 starts throwing new powers at the player fairly quickly, and to my delight the game does NOT
fall into the same trap that Prototype did and dish out too many. At least on the Good path, each core ability has several alternate versions you can swap between as you like, so it's more picking the flavor
of your attacks than picking whole new ones. For instance, do you want Sticky Grenades or Ice Grenades? Do you want to be able to shoot your lightning blasts at exceptionally long range, or do you want more of a machine gun-like rapid fire? Speaking of the new elemental powers, though, I'm a little underwhelmed by at least the Ice powers of the Good path. They're not as useful as your electrical powers, and in the second half of the game you face enemies who use the same abilities so they're even less useful. Being able to buy a radar ability to track down blast shards from the other side of the map, though, is so useful I'm annoyed you have to wait until the end of the game to get it.
Probably my biggest complaint about the game (besides some annoying crash and camera bugs, one of which popped in up in the final boss fight, forcing me to die to reset the camera), is that while the enemies in this game don't have the godly sniping ability of those in the first game (who could kill you from a rooftop a mile away before you could even see them), they are still rather annoying to kill. As the game goes on, larger and more powerful enemies are added to a mix in even common fights and while it makes combat consistently chaotic, it also can make it a royal chore to get through large-scale mob battles if you don't have any of your godly ionic powers handy. I also have to complain about the sound design a bit: while the music is very good and adds a nice cinematic atmosphere when it's playing, it is also completely absent at the oddest times. Just wandering around the city with nothing
playing in the background is very strange.
Overall, I view Infamous 2 the same way I viewed something like the Assassin's Creed sequels: it's much more polished than its predecessor; its systems are much better integrated; and it's much more fun, but ultimately it's the same game. It feels like with at least the Good path that Sucker Punch may intend this to be the last game in the franchise, and if so the franchise goes out on a high note. Very much recommended.