Infamous (stylized as infamous) is a sandbox-style third-person shooter video game for the PlayStation 3 video game console. It was developed by Sucker Punch Productions, published by Sony Computer Entertainment and designed by Nate Fox. The game was released on May 26, 2009 to North America, May 29, 2009 to Europe and June 4, 2009 to Australia with an ESRB rating of T for teens. In Infamous, players play the role of the protagonist Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger who is caught in the epicentre of an explosion that devastates several city blocks of the fictional Empire City. The city turns into chaos when Cole finds himself with new electricity-based super powers. Players are given several opportunities to use these new super powers for good or evil purposes in the game’s Karma system which ultimately affects character growth, the reaction of the City’s populace towards Cole and other finer elements of the story, although the game’s story essentially follows Cole using his new abilities to restore some semblance of order to Empire City. In terms of gameplay, Infamous combines elements of platforming, shooting, puzzles and role-playing, with the player controlling Cole and primarily interacting with the world of Empire City through Cole’s newly gained electricity-based powers that are used for movement, offense and defense in combat, as well as either for better or worse in dealing with the citizens of Empire City. In order for Cole to use his powers, he must have stored electrical power, represented by a node meter on the player’s heads up display. Cole can be recharged by draining electricity from powered sources which requires Cole having to restart the main generator for that area, or from living beings. In addition to recharging Cole’s powers, recharging also restores Cole’s health although Cole’s health will eventually regenerate over time when player stays out of battle long enough. There are seventeen different electrical powers featured in the game ranging from simple bolts that do not consume Cole’s energy to wide-field lightning storms that drain most of Cole’s energy. In addition to that, players can use such powers against both live targets and the environment, hence providing them with options in certain situations.
Infamous follows the story of Cole MacGrath who used to be your everyday bike messenger. All of that ended when the package he was delivering went off in his hands, resulting in an ensuing blast that levelled a gigantic portion of the city and left Cole in a coma. When he awakes, there is a plague going on making people sick, Empire City is quarantined by the government, gangs have seized control of the three islands that make up the metropolis and Cole finds that he has been bestowed with electricity-based superpowers. Infamous is an open-world game whereby once you’ve gone through the basic tutorial, you are free to roam Empire City and do anything. Players can go out on story missions, take on random bad guys camped out on rooftops, tackle some side missions, or just run and jump from rooftop to rooftop. It is also presumed that Cole was a bit of an urban explorer before Empire City turned into hell, with everything in the city designed to be scalable. Players can run at a wall, jump and cling to a windowsill, pull themselves up and leap to a pipe, climb to the roof, and run across a power line connecting the rooftop to another structure. As Cole turns on the power to various sections of the city, the power lines go live and allows him to skate on them while kicking up a wave of juice, combined with Cole’s later-level ability to glide via Static Chargers for one of the most original city-traversal mechanics.
“Empire City may not be the prettiest place, but what it lacks in stunning beauty it makes up for in pure entertainment. One of the most remarkable aspects of Infamous is how it continually improves throughout the quest. The pacing is excellent. It doles out new abilities, introduces powerful story twists, and concocts exhilarating missions at a steady rate, which means the game never loses steam during the course of the lengthy adventure. And when the credits finally roll, you’ll just want to keep playing, to see what the other morality choices reveal and to squeeze every ounce of entertainment from this amazing world. Infamous is an exhilarating and incredibly fun open-world game.” (GameSpot, 2009)