Thursday, 2 July 2009

inFAMOUS, what have you done to me?

When I sat down a few weeks ago to plan which upcoming games I would be purchasing I decided that I really wanted to play both inFAMOUS and Prototype. Despite the similarities in genre and gameplay style each had a unique quirk that prevented me from disregarding it in favour of the other. The comic book art style and general superhero shtick of inFAMOUS appealed to the comic book fan in me, and the idea of a re-imagined Hulk: Ultimate Destruction with all the ‘next-gen’ trappings of a modern action game also piqued my interest.

Despite my intentions to buy and play both games I have only purchased and played inFAMOUS. Not because I don’t have the money or because I’m having trouble finding a copy, but because playing inFAMOUS has killed any desire I previously had to play Prototype, in fact I’ve gone from being extremely excited for Prototype to actively avoiding it.

This kind of emotion is unusual to me; it is a completely irrational response, an illogical dismissal of something despite having no contact or experience with it, it is the kind of characteristic pioneered and perfected by fanboys and I’d like to think that I’m not a crazed fanboy (does a fanboy know whether he or she is a fanboy?). I’ve been struggling to figure out what has caused this and after thinking long and hard I’ve come to a conclusion, fate, yes – fate!

My opinions of inFAMOUS are about as irrational as my opinions of Prototype, although I can recognise that the game has numerous flaws; the hawkeyed sharpshooting enemies, the repetitive mission types and numerous glitches to name a few, I have fallen completely and utterly in love with inFAMOUS. I’m infatuated the point that I’m am actively enjoying aspects of the game that I would cite as cliché and contrived if it were featured in any other game. Cole’s bald headed gruff voiced character design is extremely generic, but I’ll still argue he is much cooler than Alex Mercer despite feeling deep down that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out they were identical twins split at birth as part of a social experiment. Other than Cole’s ability to command electricity in various forms his only other skill is his familiarity with the city and his skills in ‘Urban exploration’. To me it’s a beautiful method of effortlessly moving from point to point with the finesse of a calm breeze, but to everyone else it’s that Parkour crap that everyone seems to be able to do ever since Altair showed up, jumped from a shack to a windowsill and then walked along a beam and into some hay. Sure, I know it’s Parkour but I’ll still maintain that the gameplay and feel of Cole’s particular brand of Parkour is much better than Altair’s or Alex’s, -- like I said, completely irrational.

It seems Sucker Punch has created a game that clicks with me on every level, every aspect of the game ranging from the comic book visuals to the electricity infused combat, the simple but cool characters to the typical and slightly predictable anime/comic book style storyline appeals to me. It appeals to me on a level that even lets me appreciate and enjoy the aspects of the game that are so clearly generic and uninspired. It’s almost as if Sucker Punch had a detailed psych profile of me and then created a game perfectly suited for me, a game that I was predetermine to love.

After playing inFAMOUS and looking at Prototype all I can see is a game that seems to have been rushed, an uninspired and poorly updated rehash of an old title, created with the kitchen sink approach to development and wrapped in bland, unremarkable and unappealing visuals, and I say all this having never played the game.

Yeah I know, I know what I am...