Advertisement

Play good guy or villain. It's your call

May 31, 2009|By CHRIS CAMPBELL / Scripps Howard News Service

o "inFamous"

Platforms: PlayStation 3

Genre: Action-Adventure

Publisher: Sony ESRB

Rating: T for Teen

Grade: 4.5 stars

Now this is a game that people can get behind. Plenty of games advertise that you can choose whether to be the good guy or the bad guy (with corresponding attributes) but rarely do they deliver. "inFamous" is an outstanding game and a shining example of how choose-your-own-adventure gaming can be addictive and rewarding when done right.

Playing as Cole, you are a bike messenger whose package has suddenly exploded, leaving the city in ruins and you with special powers, mainly electrical arms not too far from the lightning power you've seen in "Star Wars" films. You set off to learn the origins of the package and your powers, and in doing so are left with the most fun of decisions: Help the city and its citizens, or become a dastardly villain.

Advertisement

These moral decisions do double duty. On one hand, they help advance an engaging story. On the other, they determine who are your allies and who are your enemies.

The gameplay is solid from top to bottom. Use your powers to electrocute your foes, set off massive explosions or glide across pipes and wires. All the action plays out in stunning glory. The visuals may be a tad bland, but they're saved by a story that you absolutely want to see through to the finish. The campaign mode is really the only option, but the essence of the game screams high-replay value, and with more than 25 hours of gaming to go through, you won't feel let down by "inFamous."

I didn't get to play the game through a second time to see how the other outcome turns out, but I know I will find the time to do so. After laying waste to them the first time around, it's worth seeing how the citizenry fares when I am on their side. Gamers should definitely check this game out.

o "Terminator Salvation"

Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC

Genre: Action-Adventure

Publisher: Equity Games ESRB

Rating: T for Teen

Grade: 1.5 stars

Perhaps the biggest letdown of movie tie-in games is that they fail to convey the power and magnitude of the films they are based on, and at their weakest they just feel like half-attempted excuses for money-making.

"Terminator Salvation" should not have fallen into this category. It's a three decades old franchise and if the movies have taught us anything it's that these machines should not be that easy to take down. That simple premise (oh, and the whole saving mankind from extinction part) should be enough to deliver a hair-raising and engaging video game.

Everything falls flat here, however, and rarely picks up a heartbeat, even an artificial one. First off, the campaign is ridiculously short. For a full-priced game to give you just six hours or so of gameplay is a crime. And not stocking the game with any multiplayer or online modes or anything beyond the campaign is disappointing.

Then there is the action itself. Enemies come in three different forms, and they are not that difficult. Makes you wonder why Linda Hamilton, Christian Bale or any actor from the films were so worried about these things. I've had more difficulty programming my DVR.

The only saving grace to this game is that it is nice to look at. The post-apocalyptic Los Angeles looks great and although the missions center on typical warehouses, open streets and sky rises, the game delivers a solid atmosphere. Sadly, almost everything else comes up short. The voice acting is dull and even the iconic soundtrack fails to leave you sitting on the edge of your seat.

Go to that YouTube rant by Christian Bale about the movie's filming, and maybe you can just close your eyes and imagine that his lunatic tirade was about playing this game.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|