inFamous: Festival of Blood Review

Platform: PS3
Release Date: October 25, 2011

Last year Red Dead Redemption gracefully presented us with a spooky add-on, Undead Nightmare, around Halloween featuring zombies in the Wild West along with a bunch of other silly B-movie monsters. It came together phenomenally well in almost every aspect, making it one of the strongest DLC releases in recent memory. Flash forward to this year and inFamous 2 has taken a inspiration around the same holiday. Swap out the overplayed zombies for some ripe-for-making-fun-of vampires and throw in the inFamous style and you, more or less, have inFamous: Festival of Blood. This sounds like a formula for success, but unfortunately it isn’t quite that easy for this downloadable title. Festival of Blood maintains some of the series’ high points and adds some interesting content, but not enough to make this as memorable as it should be.

Zeke has always been at Cole’s side, but sometimes he’s only in it for himself. This exploitation is actually what begins the tale, as Zeke is trying to woo a curvy woman in the bar by explaining how the vampire tale in his comic book actually happened to his buddy Cole. Thus, you are now dumped into playing as Cole but he is bitten by a vampire not too long after you pick up the controller. Not only that, he is used to resurrect Bloody Mary, a total bitch of a female vampire, and by sunrise she will have complete control over Cole’s actions. That is, unless he kills her first. Obviously, Cole doesn’t want to be a vampiric puppet, so murdering this woman is at the top of the agenda.

The complete absurdity of the plot and whole set up is enough to make the story amusing, while keeping the good characters from the root game in tact. Cole and Zeke still remain likeable, everyday dudes and, despite their other worldly surroundings, are still grounded and relatable. However, like most downloadable content the actual length of the tale is pretty short, leaving any ramping up or suspense mostly by the wayside. You get converted, find out your goal, and quickly achieve it. Yes it is short and to the point, but still, like many game stories, the characters do it justice and carry it past the less positive points.

inFamous 2 isn’t needed to experience Festival of Blood, but they play almost identically. Running, jumping, and being an electric monkey climbing on every building sticks close to its established roots. Changing this part of the game would have been odd because of how smooth, satisfying, and fast these activities are. Being a vampire has even netted Cole a brand new kick-ass power: the ability to fly. Yes, fly. Hitting up on the d-pad transforms Cole into a swarm of bats capable of quickly flying just about anywhere on the map. I was impressed on how cool this power was and how well it worked. I would have liked to see Cole while I was flying (the camera cuts to a first person perspective or Cole just disappears) but flying was a unique way to get around the city. That said, it does cut down on the climbing (that can be good or bad) and can make some journeys seems a bit less challenging knowing you can just zoom straight there. Regardless, of the complaints, you can fly for Pete’s sake.

With this new setting comes new foes that all vary in quality. Vampires are slippery sons of bitches, as evidenced by their constant teleporting and moving, but because of this they aren’t as much fun to shoot. It’s hard to get a bead on someone who only appears for a few seconds, and given the number of them in some situations, can lead to just bashing the closest jerk with the melee crucifix. Melee isn’t broken, but doing that for almost every enemy can really downplay how enjoyable the electric powers can are.

Blasting an electric rocket straight into a group of these Twilight rejects is still fun, but now you can’t choose what type of electric rocket you can use. Customizing powers was a huge selling point for me for the core game, but it’s strangely absent here. Upgrades still come, but you are forced upon which ones you get and you can’t change them around. Do you like the regular bolt shot more than the magnum bolt shot? Well, too bad because you are stuck with whatever one the game forces upon you. Granted, the powers are all cool in their own way so you aren’t completely out of luck, but crafting my own Cole with my own powers was so fun last time that it comes off as a strange omission. Not to mention that a majority of the powers are absent from this release. All the ionic and R2 button powers are gone, leaving the combat up to the pea shooter, grenade, melee, and rockets. Since there aren’t any new combat moves, it’s even more puzzling why Sucker Punch opted to take so much out.

I don’t think Sucker Punch took inFamous: Festival of Blood far enough. There aren’t any side missions (although there is user-generated content), the story is reasonably short, and not many new things were added to core inFamous experience. Yes, it’s still contains some of inFamous‘ core values and a goofy premise, but I wanted more from this title. More moves. More content. More crazy. Sucker Punch preferred to play it safe (or lazy) by just adding what seems like a bare minimum on top of a solid foundation and not stray too far into uncharted territory. Festival of Blood sticks closely to the script of inFamous 2, which is a fine script to adhere too, but it also holds it back from its full potential.

+Parkour remains strong
+Ridiculous setting and solid story
+Flying is a good new addition
-A lot melee combat on skittery enemies
-Lacks a bunch of meaningful content
-Upgrade path is too linear

Final Score: 7.5/10

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