Friday, October 28, 2011

Infamous: Festival of Blood - Worth Sinking Your Teeth Into

As it is the month of October, it seems only fitting that a company would release a Halloween-based title around this time. For Sucker Punch, it is Infamous: Festival of Blood. At first, I remained cautiously optimistic about the concept of Cole interacting with vampires in New Marais, let alone the fact that he would have vampire powers anyway. Once it was released, I decided to download it and found myself enjoying it a lot more than I thought.

In this story, Cole McGrath explores the catacombs underneath the city of New Marais, only to be captured by vampires. As he is a Conduit, his blood is more than enough to awaken Bloody Mary, who sucks enough of it from his neck to regain her strength and youthful appearance. In exchange, Cole becomes a vampire and must defeat Bloody Mary by sunrise if he wishes to become normal again. This is all I really can say, as I don't want to give away too much of the already thin plot. Despite this I found it rather intriguing once they brought up the issue of Cole's morality as a vampire affecting his morality as a human.

Speaking of morality, the Karma meter is absent from this game, replaced instead with a circular Blood meter that fuels his vampire-based abilities. Refilling the meter is done through not only the classic method of sucking blood from a human, but also through staking vampires and breaking canopic jars, which also increase the meter's maximum size. One ability grants Cole a vampire sense that allows him to locate hidden vampires and jars, along with glyphs that reveal more of the history of Bloody Mary. The only other ability to speak of is the power of flight, which is actually really fun to use and feels like a natural step up from Cole's electrical flight powers.

Speaking of Cole's electricity, he can still use them alongside his vampire abilities since the HUD still contains the electrical nodes. Unlike the other Infamous games however, you cannot manually upgrade these abilities. Instead they get upgraded automatically by completing certain objectives, which is thankfully an easy task in itself.

As for the enemies, the vampires thankfully have a lot of variety to them. Since they can teleport around like Cole and they all have a different strategy to them, the fights become just as intense as any regular group of enemies from Infamous 2. The only disappointment may be in the last one, since it boils down to fending off enemies until Zeke does something. Even after that though, the ending is still satisfying.

For a game that costs only $10 ($8 if you're a PlayStation + member) and takes about half that in hours to beat, it's a pretty good one. It's short and sweet and introduces some fairly interesting concepts that I would like to Sucker Punch expand on in the future. I would also like to see more self-contained "What If?" scenarios in the future and see if they can use some of these ideas in a potential Infamous 3. In fact, owning Infamous 2 is not required to play this since it doesn't read your save game. I would recommend this title to anyone who likes the Infamous series or anyone who wants to see Cole do something exciting and new.

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