InFamous: Festival of Blood Review – Frighteningly Good

So even though it may be the season to be jolly and all of that fa la la la type of spirit, can’t we also include some vampires?  Released as a standalone downloadable title, inFamous: Festival of Blood is Sucker Punch’s way to tell an interesting tale from the inFamous universe without getting in the way of the overarching story from the retail games.  Festival of Blood puts you in the shoes of Cole MacGrath once more as he races against the clock to reverse a vampiric curse put on him during the events of New Marais annual “Pyre Night” holiday. 

Does Sucker Punch hit another home run or should we just put a stake through its heart?  Full review after the break…

Festival of Blood begins with Cole’s buddy Zeke lounging around in a bar reading a comic book.  When an attractive woman comes near, he sees an opportunity to strike up a conversation by telling a tale of his best friend, known as “the Electric Man” down in New Marais, in hopes to impress the woman.  You once again roam the streets as series star Cole MacGrath who has unfortunately been led into a trap and accidentally brought back a vampire queen known as Blood Mary to life.  Having been bit by the queen, Cole also now has vampiric abilities and has till dawn to break the curse or else be stuck that way forever.

If you’ve played any of the InFamous games prior you should know what to expect here.  The city of New Marais is (mostly) open for you to explore and you have a number of electricity based abilities to help your combat (though not the entire expanded list from InFamous 2 this time) and movement around the city.  The catch here is that the upgrade system and morality system of the previous two titles have been scrapped completely.  It’s hard to say for sure which side Cole is now playing on, but based on the fact you can bite civilians to replenish your vampire corruption meter and throw around red lightning, I’d say he’s more towards the evil side.  It is a bit odd no longer having a moral quandary to solve or using those karmic points to upgrade various powers.  It’s a bit disappointing, especially since it reduces the replayability factor.

The big hook here is Cole’s new vampire abilities and, to be completely honest, they shine.  It’s funny because with these new powers, I just didn’t miss some of the electric powers that have been removed.  You just don’t need them, so I can appreciate Sucker Punch trying to streamline and remove potential clutter from the experience.  If you’re sick of all the free running and building climbing then you’ll love his new Shadow Swarm ability which essentially turns you into a group of bats and lets you fly around until your corruption meter empties.  It’s a small but very welcome addition.  You’re able to refill your corruption meter by biting and sucking the blood from the citizens walking around.  There’s no penalty for draining blood from the innocent, but I’m guessing you’re expected to feel bad about doing this?  New abilities are gained through clearing out vampire sections of the city and using your new Vampire Vision to collect various blood jars and runes hidden around the main part of the city.  New Marais this time isn’t fully open.  The northern island is inaccessible to you but I never really noticed this to be honest. 

You’ll fight a few different groups of vampires including the hulking Firstborns to the quick-moving Harpies.  Combat plays the same way you remember with your amp getting replaced by a large cross weapon.  Melee hits build a meter which once full can be used to unleash a bigger attack.  You can drain electricity from street lights or other things that use the juice to power themselves to regain health if damaged.  In my experience, you’ll be doing this quite often because some of the vampire encounters can be a little annoying in terms of them swarming you or just being a bit on the cheap side.  Plus, I can’t forget to mention that Sucker Punch has added some very badass stake animations for taking down vampires.  There’s really nothing quite like driving a stake through a downed vampire though.

Sucker Punch’s User Generated Content returns in this title and has been given a shot in the arm so to speak.  You’re now able to create comic style cut scenes to accompany your mission and you have full control over things like camera angles, speech balloons, and even character poses.  In addition, you’re given all assets from Festival of Blood as well, so if you want to create a mission involving vampires, you certainly can.  I really haven’t messed around with it as the tools are still fairly complicated to understand and use and I just don’t have the time to really invest in them at this point.  Still, they’re powerful and if you put the time in with it, you can really create some fantastic stuff with them.  Sharing and playing missions are still a breeze thankfully.

Ultimately, for only 10 bucks, Sucker Punch is giving us a great value with this title.  Festival of Blood is well designed, fun, and has that b-movie campy feel which adds to the charm.  The fact that the game’s events don’t have any relation to the previous two titles means that you don’t need to have experience to enjoy this title.  Everything is self-contained.  I’ll admit, it’s a bit odd not having a morality system and the campaign is pretty short.  Still, if you’re an InFamous junkie like I am, you don’t need a reason to want to return to the universe.

InFamous: Festival of Blood gets 4 sparkling vampires, out of 5

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