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Infamous is an action-adventure video game for the PlayStation 3. It was developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, released internationally in May and June 2009.

In Infamous, the player controls the protagonist Cole MacGrath, a bike messenger caught in the center of an explosion that devastates several city blocks of the fictional Empire City. The explosion sends the city into chaos while Cole finds himself with new electricity-based super powers. Though the game's story follows Cole using his new abilities to restore some semblance of order to Empire City, the player is given several opportunities to use these powers for good or evil purposes in the game's Karma system. These choices ultimately affect character growth, the reaction of the City's populace towards Cole, and finer elements of gameplay and the story.

Sucker Punch developed Infamous as a change of pace from their earlier Sly Cooper series of stealth-based games, but using a similar comic book-inspired origin story to help the player become more connected with Cole. The game's pacing in the introduction of new super powers and ease of movement about the city by unconventional means were critical factors during development. The desolate urban atmosphere was inspired by comics such as DMZ and No Man's Land. Amon Tobin was among the artists that helped to compile its soundtrack, which aimed to reflect the environment.

The game was well received by the gaming press. It was praised for many of its elements, including the implementation of Cole's powers and climbing ability, and the game's content and mission structure. Reviewers commented on the repetitive nature of combat and enemies, limitations of the Karma system, and technical aspects in the graphical display. Infamous was also compared to and contrasted with Radical Entertainment's Prototype, a video game released the following month which had many elements similar to Infamous, including exploration of an open world-style city by a protagonist with superpowers.

The game was offered by Sony as a free download as part of their 'Welcome Back' program, after the 2011 PlayStation Network outage. A sequel, Infamous 2, was released on June 7, 2011. A third game designed specifically for the PlayStation 4, titled Infamous: Second Son, was announced during the PlayStation Meeting 2013 on February 20, 2013.

Infamous Plot

While the basic story of the game remains unchanged whether the player opts for the "Good" or "Evil" karma path, there are some story elements that change depending on the player's choice at that time.

Cole is instructed by an anonymous customer to deliver a package to a location in the Historic District, and then to open it; unbeknownst to Cole, the package contains the Ray Sphere, which activates upon opening and wipes out six city blocks. Cole manages to survive the blast and is nursed back to health by Trish, during which he discovers his newfound powers. When the Voice of Survival pinpoints Cole at the center of the explosion, the city turns against him including Trish, whose sister was killed in the blast, and Cole and Zeke try to escape the quarantine with Cole's new powers but are overwhelmed by government agents. During his arrest, Cole is convinced by Moya, a high ranking government agent, to return to Empire City to seek out the Ray Sphere and her husband John in exchange for Cole and his friends' release from quarantine. Cole proceeds to follow Moya's missions, restoring power to the city to be able to fight off the various gangs that have taken over. As he comes to interact with Sasha, Alden, and Kessler, the leaders of each gang, he learns that Kessler displaced Alden from the leadership of the First Sons, an organized crime group, and initiated construction of the Ray Sphere, while rejecting Sasha's attempts for romance. Cole is able to defeat Sasha and capture Alden, but during a breakout attempt by the Dust Men, Zeke's own heroism antics allow Alden to go free, much to Cole's irritation. Later, Cole and Zeke track down Alden, who has recovered the Ray Sphere; Cole is able to distract Alden long enough for Zeke to recover it. However, Zeke is caught between Alden and Kessler, and realizes that he could gain superpowers himself through the Sphere and activates it, but nothing happens. Kessler immediately figures out what went wrong and offers Zeke power in exchange for assistance to fix it. Zeke agrees and departs with Kessler, taking the Ray Sphere with him.

Cole is finally able to track down John, but learns that John is neither from the FBI nor Moya's husband, but instead an undercover NSA agent who assisted in the creation of the Ray Sphere. John explains that the Ray Sphere consumes the bio-energy from those around it and transfers that power to the person holding it, granting them super abilities at the cost of thousands of lives, and urges Cole to help him find and destroy it. Alden goes on a killing spree while heading into the Historic District. After a long battle, Alden is defeated and jumps off the bridge. During the battle, Alden destroyed huge sections of the bridge. Cut off from the Warren, Cole goes ahead into the Historic District. As they search for the Ray Sphere, Cole discovers that Kessler has kidnapped Trish along with six other doctors, and forces Cole to choose between saving her or the other doctors. Regardless of the player's choice, Kessler has arranged for Trish to fall to her death, but is briefly revived by Cole. If the player has good Karma, Trish will be proud of Cole and profess her love, while if the player has bad Karma, she will curse his name with her dying breath. After mourning for his loss, Cole works with John to recover the Ray Sphere; the player can then opt to either destroy it or use it to further enhance Cole's powers (which also gives him red and black electricity), but either option causes the Ray Sphere to malfunction, disintegrating John.

Cole then goes to face Kessler at Ground Zero of the original explosion. As they fight, Zeke appears and tries to intervene but is tossed aside by Kessler. Cole eventually mortally wounds Kessler. Kessler uses his last actions to implant his memories into Cole's mind, revealing that Kessler is a version of Cole from the future of an alternate timeline. In that timeline, Cole (as Kessler) and Trish were happily wed with children, but soon the appearance of an entity known as "The Beast" plunged their world into chaos. Kessler and Trish fled with their children rather than fight, but after years of running, The Beast eventually caught up to them and killed his family. Kessler realized the only way to stop the Beast would be to use his powers to go back in time and prepare his past self, Cole, for battle against it as it was too late to fight back in Kessler's time. Kessler seized control of the First Sons from Alden, Manipulating then shunning Sasha's advances due to his past love for Trish, and ordered the construction of the Ray Sphere much earlier than in his timeline. Kessler was also the anonymous customer that directed Cole to use it. Kessler used Trish's death as a means of making sure Cole could choose the impossible in the battle with The Beast. After Kessler dies from the battle, Cole declares his hatred for Kessler, and says "When the time comes, I will be ready."

The ending of the game depends on the player's Karma. If the player's Karma is good, Empire City continues to rebuild itself, while still idolizing Cole as its savior. If the player's Karma is evil, Empire City has fully slid into chaos. The sky is red, people are dying in the streets, and Cole recognizes himself as the strongest person alive. Declaring Kessler an idiot for thinking he would use his powers for the greater good, he then laughs at the idea of using them to fight The Beast.

Infamous Gameplay

Infamous is an action-adventure and open world video game where the player controls Cole and primarily interacts with the world of Empire City through Cole's newly gained electricity-based powers; these are used for movement, offense and defense in combat, and 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 (HUD). The player can recharge Cole by draining electricity from powered sources or from living beings; recharging also restores Cole's health, though if the player stays out of battle long enough, Cole's health will regenerate over time. The game features seventeen different electrical powers, ranging from simple bolts that do not consume Cole's energy to wide-field lightning storms that drain most of Cole's energy. The player can use such powers against both live targets and the environment, giving the player options in certain situations. For example, the player may fire at a generator near foes to cause it to explode and cripple his opponents, or fire at the body of water that an enemy is standing in to take advantage of water's conductivity to kill the enemy. Due to being vivified electricity, Cole is unable to use vehicles, take up weapons, or swim. Cole easily climbs buildings and other structures and can fall a great height without taking damage; these maneuvers can be combined with Cole's electrical powers for unique combat situations. A number of stunts, requiring the player to kill enemies under specific conditions (such as killing an enemy while both Cole and the enemy are in mid-air), are available to complete.

Many powers are acquired over the course of the game; once acquired the player can use experience points, awarded for specific actions, stunts and missions, to increase the power's effectiveness. The growth of these powers is affected by Cole's current Karma level. Starting in a neutral position, it ranges from Guardian to Champion to Hero on the Good side, and from Thug to Outlaw to Infamous on the Evil side. Certain actions, such as stopping to help injured citizens or draining their health to restore Cole's, will affect the Karma level in either direction. Normal story missions may also alter the Karma level. During the game the player will encounter Karma Moments, when the action pauses and the player is told, through a monologue by Cole, of two actions that can be taken, always a good and bad option. For example, one scenario the player is presented with is to either pull a valve and get a spray of tar in his face (Good), or force a civilian to do it for him (Evil). There are also a number of paired Good/Evil side missions in the game; completing one will lock out the other mission but will reward the player with a large amount of Karma towards their selected Karma goal. Completion of these missions helps gain access to unique super powers based on the Karma level. The player is not locked into choosing either Karma path, and may opt to play towards one extreme and later switch to the other mid-game. Doing so will lock out any purchased power(s) in the original chosen Karma sector. In addition to altering Cole's appearance and certain aspects of the game's story, Karma also influences the behavior of the citizens of Empire City, they will come to help Cole in battle if his Karma is Good, but will turn on Cole and throw rocks at him if he has Bad Karma.

Empire City is built on three islands, and the player must work through main story missions on each island before being able to access the next one, though future missions may require the player to return to an earlier island. Each island is divided into a number of sectors, at the start of the game controlled by three different gangs. The player can undertake a side mission in each sector, once certain main story requirements have been met, to free that sector from gang control, reducing or eliminating the presence of the gang in that sector. Other side missions may also unlock medical stations where Cole will re-awaken should he die. Though Cole must travel on foot he eventually gains powers that allow him to grind along power cables and powered, elevated train rails and to hover for a short time. Scattered around the city are hundreds of 'blast shards' which Cole can collect to increase the amount of electricity he can store. There are also 32 'dead drop' satellite transmitters that help to reveal more of the back-story in the game. A mini-map on the player's HUD can be used to locate blast shards, dead drops and power sources.

SettingThe game takes place in fictional Empire City, laid across three islands: the Neon District, where many businesses and entertainment venues are located, the Warren, the slum where goods are shipped into and out of the city, and the Historic District, the smallest of the three islands, but the most post-modern. The districts are connected by bridges, and each district has its own elevated train system. At the start of the game, six blocks of the Historic District are wiped out by an explosion from a bio-electrical device called the Ray Sphere. A plague develops soon afterwards, forcing the government to quarantine the region. In doing so, they block the only bridge to the mainland from the city, causing societal collapse within the isolated city.

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