|The problem with "inFamous"
||[Jun. 25th, 2011|06:25 pm]
The Event Horizon of Awful Things
"inFamous" is a great game: I'm replaying it now and thoroughly enjoying it. It's superbly balanced, well designed, and extremely well-thought-out.|
All that said, there is one big flaw in the writing: you kind of wonder why Cole, the man with electric superpowers who can fly, doesn't just fuck off and let Empire City burn, since nothing he does is good enough for these ingrates.
To recap: "inFamous" is an open world game with a morality system and lots of side missions, usually of the "citizen needs your help desperately" stripe. The side missions are actually extremely necessary: some unlock new powers and all give you XP to spend to upgrade your powers (most of which you'll barely use, but what the hell). The problem is, these citizens are usually incredibly bossy. It's not, "hey, guy being hunted by gangs and saving me while I cower and do absolutely jack shit, please help me!", it's, "the gangs are doing something I don't like. You should stop it."
The worst is the main character's supposed love of his life, Trish, who, if you're a bad guy, rewards your protecting her valuable bus full of medical supplies, that she drives right through a gang war, including lots of douchebags with rocket launchers and swarms of enemies (this is a game where if there are more than one or two enemies, you will get your ass handed to you unless you find cover or start throwing grenades), at the slowest possible pace even after her boyfriend screams at her to floor it, which means he gets blasted with rockets and will likely take a few bullets...and then rescues her from a nasty hostage situation while legions of bad guys are trying to gun you down...yeah, her reaction is "I think you're a douche, so we're breaking up."
So, manipulating your boyfriend to do what you want at risk of his life and limb, that's OK, but some stuff you've heard but haven't seen is more than enough rope to hang him?
If you're a good guy, she is nice to you (for all that THAT matters), but the populace is still snotty.
It's a problem in that the game really does have a good storyline, but it's difficult to become emotionally invested when pretty much the entire populace act like assholes. It makes the karma system pretty much a choice between whether you're a backshooting dirtbag (the "Good" side mostly focuses on tightly aimed weapons that require precision) or charge in blowing everything up (the "Bad" side basically consists of powers that bring new meaning to the term "collateral damage").