Thursday 9 July 2009


Let’s keep the moaning about my punctuality to ourselves, shall we? I’m still not getting paid and seeing as you’re one of a maximum of maybe four people reading this, it’s not worth any of us getting worked up.

As anyone who’s walked into a games shop over the last year or two has noticed, the PS3 is really fucking expensive when you consider it’s direct rival does the same job for much cheaper. I mean, the exact same job, none of this Hyundai are cheaper than Volkswagen bollocks; if anything, the 360 does the same job to a higher standard (between asthma attacks, of course). Also, anyone who’s tried showing their friends Little Big Planet will know (at some point or another) that the PS3 does things at its own pace, and if you don’t like it, you’d better hope there’s something good on TV.

In the interests of fairness, I personally own both consoles and have only the HDDVD add-on between the two to stop them from fighting. Anyway! I decided to take a small break from beefing up my totally pointless Gamerscore – relying heavily on the thought that the bigger it gets, the less healthy my social life is – and give this year’s PS3 exclusive a try.

By all respects, inFamous should have me sold on the PS3 before I even take it out of the box. As I whinged about in my bit on Haze, I revel in games that allow me to be as evil as possible, and I think the stark contrast (i.e., leg humping) in my Crackdown piece, I love a super-powered sandbox game. And while it is fun leaping off the top of a building and hitting the ground like an electrified meteor, killing every living thing on screen, inFamous has its problems. Which I shall now whinge about.

I always assume that any game that gets delayed will be eventually released with any noticeable bugs well and truly snuffed out like bubbles in wallpaper, which is why I was – well, let’s save some space and say I was “disappointed” – with a particular bug in inFamous. It was just one little bug, and although it hardly seems worth mentioning, I feel that my dearest, loyal readership deserves to know. This bug MOTHERFUCKING KILLED ME FOUR TIMES for no particular reason, in the middle of rather difficult missions. Surely there are teams of people looking out for bugs that drop your character through the floor of the level and kill him. Even if it means the bug is “fixed” by having your character dropped back into the map near where you outwitted the processor. Don’t you dare think it’s just because I fell through a pier and drowned. It’s like that bug on GTA 3, only it kills you rather than drops you back into the map.

That’s not something I’m willing to forgive, let alone when the game focuses around some ugly twat firing lightning out of every orifice and only accepts water as a conductor. I lost count of the number of times I thought I could be a clever arse and murder a load of enemies by sending half a zillion volts through the metal staircase those smug fucks were hiding in. No, apparently not. Train tracks? No, although they do let you skate along them. Buses covered in scrap iron? No, somehow covering a metal box in other pieces of metal makes it more resistant to electricity. I guess it’s my own fault I’m disappointed. I was expecting a shiny, new, current generation exclusive to demonstrate some new and interesting features, rather that finding a new way to take guns out of players’ hands.

I thought I was angry at inFamous, but it turns out I’m just disappointed. Until further notice, Crackdown is my ultimate in a sandbox game because it keeps things simple. You have superpowers, they get better as you kick more arse and most cardinal sins of gaming are sidestepped by the fact that there are absolutely no cutscenes or “points of interest”, as the story goes simply thus:

”Kill anything that tries to kill you, however you can.”

InFamous falls short on this by locking the city until you run through a dangerously uninteresting story and ties you down to the two most unlikeable characters since… well Haze, probably. Although most cutscenes in inFamous are done in their own comicbook style, the bits that rely on people actually interacting are so shamefully crap, I actually wondered if I could personally do a better job. I’ve only ever done coding once and I was the only person who managed to suck enough to break the engine we were using. Even so, I probably could’ve made smoother and more realistic animations. I’ll just say the lip synching is terrible by the standards laid down by the original Thunderbirds and leave it at that.

In short, if you’re looking for an excuse to justify your fanboyish claims that the PS3 is not just equal to, but greater than the 360, then inFamous isn’t going to do you any favours. If you’re looking for innovation or variety, inFamous is going to go down about as well as a retired basketball player on an obese midget. However, if you are in fact the niche that wants to run around a ruined city firing lightning bolts at people’s faces for hours on end, then I honestly can’t think of a better way of doing so that doesn’t involve illegal hallucinogenics.

The sandbox fun continues within the next fortnight or so (when I can be arsed) after I’ve played Red Faction Guerrilla.

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