The Grater Good: An inFAMOUS Disaster

Faulty generator simulator inFAMOUS is one of the PS3’s stronger exclusives, and indeed one it’s smarter titles. Made by the talented bunch over at Sucker Punch this game has some genuine issues over which to munch and a scenario that brings in a satisfyingly electric crunch (Rhyming is fun!) You see, inFAMOUS as a series is all about disasters and the reaction to them; the first dealt with post 9/11 paranoia and the attitude to terrorists, but I think it’s the second one that brings home a much stronger and much more interesting idea to the table.

You see, inFAMOUS 2 has a very interesting story mechanic at its core that plays directly off the New Orleans post Katrina inspired city of New Marias. The Beast, an unstoppable monster that Cole must power up to defeat, is heading your way, and every time you complete a certain amount of story missions the screen goes black and text flashes up, simply reading “The Beast is ___ miles away”. Every time you pause the game you can see it ripping down the map, getting closer and closer by the day. It’s unstoppable, it’s inevitable, and all that can be done is to prepare. It’s just like a hurricane.


The people of New Marias, however, have a different attitude to the disaster. Many don’t believe Cole can save them, many more don’t believe the Beast will come, and some (in particular the game’s antagonist Joseph Bertrand) use the impending disaster to win power. inFAMOUS 2 doesn’t appear to have any particular view on the disaster from a political view, but that’s because it does something far more powerful: it just lets you see it.

The start of the game demonstrates the power of the impending Beast; it defeats Cole easily and destroys his hometown in minutes. The threat is established, and the chips are down. But the game decides to go one further by taking you to a town that’s already devastated. The final area in the game is a part called “flood town” and its name is a fairly good description of what to expect. Sunken houses, non-existent roads and destroyed scenery, all of it brought about by the last disaster that befell this poor city. Nobody’s fixed it, nobody knows what to do about it and it’s about to happen all over again. It’s a strong motivator for the player; you’ve got to destroy the Beast, because otherwise, somehow, things will go from bad to worse.

Also you get to fire a tornado and it tears shit up. That part is freakin’ cool.

About Lewis Dunn

Lewis got into gaming as a child, when he was handed the portable version of crack cocaine, known colloquially as Tetris. He would spend hours trying to make blocks form lines so they would disappear never to return. At the age of 8 he had his first existential crisis as to what happens to blocks that disappear. Lewis has a deep love of humour in games, with some of his favourites being No More Heroes, Brutal Legend & Portal. Lewis enjoys writing bios in the third person.