I know it’s a clichéd question to ask, but if you could have any superpower, what superpower would you want? I’d want the ability to turn paperclips into doughnuts, because not only is it a cool party trick, but also, you know… doughnuts are awesome. A man by the name of Cole (just Cole) lives in the fictional Empire City. He’s a bike messenger with a flair for pissing off the city’s cops. He dabbles in urban exploration, and when he’s not clambering around in the city’s sewer network, he hangs out with his girlfriend Trish and his best friend Zeke. After receiving word that someone needs an inconspicuous package delivered pronto and that Cole’s the only courier for the job, he collects the package and sets off on the errand. One thing leads to another and Cole ends up destroying part of the city and killing thousands of its citizens. It’s a long story that’s filled with potential spoilers, but that’s the gist of it. Cole is incapacitated following his life-altering excursion and when he eventually comes to, he realises that, aside from feeling like he was just tackled by a Boeing, he has his very own superpower: he can turn paperclips into doughnuts. I’m just kidding – Cole’s not that lucky. Instead, he becomes a living electrical conduit, able to wield and manipulate electricity at will. Thus begins the tale that inFamous so brilliantly tells.
inFamous is an open-world adventure game at heart. Players take on the role of Cole as he learns all about his newfound abilities and tries to either keep the city safe from further harm or strike fear into the hearts of the people left living there. Speaking of newfound abilities, Cole’s are awesome: Cole has a few travel-related powers (such as Static Thrusters, which essentially lets Cole glide around the city), some defensive ones (Polarity Shield is awesome for staying alive in troublesome situations) and a slew of offensive abilities such as lightning bolts and shock grenades. One of the most striking things about inFamous is the game’s atmosphere. I truly felt like a fledgling superhero/super-villain, trying to come to terms with my new abilities while dealing with the trials and tribulations of a world filled with super-powered individuals. This is further emphasized by the way that the city and its inhabitants are constantly reacting to the actions that you choose to take. For example, at the start of the game, when your fellow citizens first discover that you were the one who started this mess in the first place, they don’t react too kindly. They even go so far as to throw cans, rocks and bottles at you while you’re trying to make your way up the sides of buildings, which is just rude. Depending on the decisions that you make (thanks to the karma system that the game employs) further on in the game, the folks of Empire City will either learn to put aside their hatred and shower you with admiration (they’ll even take photos of you while you roam around the city if they love you enough), or their hatred will transform into fear of your awe-inspiring evilness.