inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood Review

inFAMOUS is one of my favorite franchises on the PS3. The franchise places you in the shoes of Cole MacGrath, a man given special powers over electricity. The game allows you to decide how you want to go about using those powers, and whether you are going to be a beacon of hope or a source of fear for the city that you live in. This is decided by choices you make in the game. Do you keep all the food for you and your friends, or share it with others? Do you fight in the street and endanger civilians, or move the fight away to protect them? Do you kill the guy to move forward, or reason with him? All this and Cole’s story really made me look forward to any and all sequels for the franchise. So imagine how happy I was to hear they were working on DLC for the game.

inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood is the first downloadable game in the series. In a surprising move the DLC is stand-alone, meaning that you don’t need inFAMOUS 2 in order to play it. This game unfortunately doesn’t expand upon either ending in inFAMOUS 2, but rather is a one-off story. The story is made up by Zeke, who’s telling it to a girl he’s trying to score with (very Zeke-like, indeed). In the tale, Cole is bitten by a vampire lord called Bloody Mary and turned into a creature of the night. Now a vampire, Cole must deal with not only a vampire uprising, but try to regain his humanity. While the game itself is really short (Story is only 8 chapters long), I did have fun with it. Cole and Zeke battling vampires was a nice distraction from the norm in inFAMOUS.

Now if I could sum up the game play and presentation in one word… it would be lazy. There’s a reason I spoke about choice earlier, it’s that choice that’s the soul of the game. That soul is absent from this game. There is no karma meter, and there are no choices to make that effect whether you are good or evil. That’s a big deal, and makes this DLC feel like an inFAMOUS game in name only. This is a huge shame as this game had potential to be so much more. They could have had Cole struggling as a “Vampire with a Soul” or going to the dark side and siding with Mary. A very big missed opportunity by Sucker Punch.

A lot of mainstays from the series are gone here. There are no stunts, no side missions, no blast shards, no karma, or dead drops. Heck there’s not even XP to gain! Any powers you get are due to defeating enemies or finishing User Generated Missions. Once you do get the powers, there is no real reason to fight anymore, and the game just turns into rushing from one mission marker to another.

Another thing about inFAMOUS is the cool powers and the various ways Sucker Punch thinks to utilize those powers. I was expecting a lot when Cole became a vampire, but they once again got lazy. Cole only gets two powers to work with here: Vampire Vision and Bat Swarm (a form of flight). That’s it. I was very disappointed with this, as they had room for quite a few powers here. They could have just ripped off Alucard’s powers from Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, and I would have been happy. As for your electric powers, there’s nothing new. In fact, you lose a few powers that you gained from inFAMOUS 2, most notably the car throwing power. And those cool fire or ice powers? They’re not here either.

Graphically, the game is good. The city of New Marais is redecorated as a huge festival called Pyre Night (get it?) is in effect. Huge balloons with demon faces, fireworks in the sky and on the street, glow sticks are all over the city, and citizens are dressed as monsters. Its actually really well done and I enjoyed the look of the city for the game, even if it was only half the city. That’s another thing — half the map is blocked off for whatever reason for this game, too. There’s only one new area in this game, and that’s the Catacombs underneath the church.

There are four enemies introduced in this game (five if you count Bloody Mary herself). With the exception of the Firstborn enemy (A big half Bat, half humanoid creature) the other three do just about the same thing: teleport around the room, and shoot at you. It’s this low variety that makes some of the missions, especially the UGC missions, really formulaic and repetitive. Most are run to this area while fighting off gangs of the first three enemies, get to the area and kill a Firstborn, end or repeat.

The length of this game is very short; you could finish this game in less than 6 hours if you focus on the story. While there are no side missions, there are other things to do on the side. You can study Glyphs that contain stories from Bloody Mary, collect Blood Jars to extend your blood meter, or kill enemies to gain powers. If you’re a trophy hunter, these acts also get you trophies, and are not that hard to accomplish.

If it seems like I’m hard on this game, it’s because I love the franchise so much. Festival of Blood could have been something really great, but in the end it feels like Sucker Punch felt content with the amount of money they’d make from simply having inFAMOUS in the title. The amount of stuff they cut out, especially the karma system, took a lot out of what could have been a great bit of DLC. However, I can’t say I hated this game. It was good for what it was, and it was great to see Cole and Zeke again. I know for a fact however that Sucker Punch is capable of creating a much better experience than this.