Cole McGrath is back and this time he's up against blood-sucking freaks in this stand-alone adventure in New Marais.
- Vampire powers are cool
- Plenty to explore
- Decent story
- Stand alone game
- Combat is still weak
- Morality system totally gone
inFamous 2: Festival of Blood Review:
Cole McGrath is back in Festival of Blood, an odd horror-themed aside to inFamous 2. A stand-alone add-on to the series, this downloadable Sony exclusive doesn’t require players to own either of the previous games in the series. Fans of both inFamous and blood-sucking fiends of the night will find plenty to enjoy in this trip back to the New Orleans-inspired New Marais, although Cole’s night of terror is spent on a much smaller map than before.
I Vant to Suck Your Blood!
The story opens on Pyre Night—New Marais’ Halloween-styled Mardi Gras—when Cole inadvertently raises a cruel vampire named Bloody Mary from her grave. As a reward, Mary bites Coles, thus turning him into a creature of the night. To make matters worse, Cole has just eight hours to end Mary’s reign of terror before she controls him completely. To help turn the tide of blood, Cole has his ever-faithful wingman Zeke to provide guidance.
Indeed, the story is essentially told by Zeke’s, as an attempt to hit on a bar hottie. So, anyone who thinks the idea of supernatural vampires in inFamous’ otherwise straight-up super-hero mythos is absurd can just write the whole thing off. That said, vampires transition pretty smoothly to the overall structure of the series’ gameplay.
Instead of roving criminal or terrorist gangs, there are roving bands of vampires looking for victims. Most are just pointy-eared pests packing crossbows, but soon submachine gun-wielding acrobatic vampire babes start popping up as well. There are also larger bat creatures, and all the vamps have limited teleportation abilities to make things more interesting (or annoying).
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Cole can now turn into a cloud of bats and fly around. It’s incredibly fun, but drains his blood gauge quickly. The gauge can be recharged in the obvious manner—New Marais is ripe with tasty treats roaming the streets—or by finding vials of blood hidden throughout the city. The vials are one of Festival of Blood’s collectables as well, and discovering enough of them increases his blood gauge.
For gamers who liked picking sides, however, Festival of Blood has one glaring oversight—the morality system is completely absent. Civilians can either be ignored or picked off with abandon, but there are no consequences either way. In fact, not murdering the hapless party goers just makes the game more difficult, since Cole will always be struggling to refill his blood gauge some other way.
Cole also can’t save any vampire victims either. Any time he walks into a fight against a group of vamps, civilians are just casualties waiting to be drained or brutalized. The only choices Cole has when near a civilian is to bite or stake them—staking comes into play for vampires masquerading as humans (another one of the game’s secrets to collect).
Combat is still problematic given Cole’s tendency to grab any part of the landscape he comes across. Since the vampires move quickly and in relatively large groups, infamous 2’s rather unrefined combat feels even more faulty here. Targeting is difficult, and quickly maneuvering out of harm’s way or to the next opponent cleanly is a constant issue.
That’s not to say that beating down vamps isn’t fun. While Festival of Blood could really use more custom stake finishing moves, it’s still entertaining to watch Cole unleash a mix of supernatural and electrical powers on the walking dead.
Exploration is a key facet of the game play. Cole now has vampire vision that lets him see strange markings on the wall that frequently lead to special messages from Bloody Mary. This vision mode also lets Cole see non-humans in crowds and find other collectibles. The main story line won’t take long to complete—maybe two or three hours at most—but getting the most out of the game by thoroughly exploring for secrets will definitely give players their money’s worth.
Celebrate the Festival
While Festival of Blood doesn’t feel entirely cohesive to the overall inFamous world, it’s an entertaining return to New Marais. For those who haven’t tried the series yet, this is a low-priced way to dive in, and for fans, it’s an easy recommendation.