Giant Bomb Review

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inFamous: Festival of Blood Review

4
  • PS3N

A few valuable gameplay additions and thick Halloween atmosphere make Festival of Blood easy to bite on for its modest price.

Plenty of new enemies to stick a stake in.

Maybe it was too much time spent watching Charlie Brown holiday specials in my youth, but I find something fundamentally appealing about seasonally-themed games. With all its emphasis on monster archetypes and sinister atmosphere, Halloween is as ripe as any holiday for the game treatment, and around this time last year we got a double dose of creepy little downloadables with Costume Quest and the brilliant Red Dead Redemption add-on Undead Nightmare. This year it's Sucker Punch getting into the act, with a standalone Infamous game rife with vampires. Festival of Blood might be a little short on content, but there are things about it that are genuinely better than Infamous 2 itself, and for only $10, it's hard to argue with how much is included.

As all good what-if games ought to, Festival of Blood works within a framing story that doesn't take itself seriously. Your old pal Zeke is at a bar spinning a yarn to some comely lass, about that one time legendary electro-guy Cole MacGrath became a vampire for one night. That gives the game carte blanche to get as crazy as it wants with undead monsters overrunning the city during a booze-soaked nocturnal celebration known as Pyre Night, which dresses Infamous 2's New Marais up in some attractive seasonal decorations. The city also feels more alive than Infamous 2 did, with more and better ambient sounds, and street parades and revelers almost everywhere you look. The crux of the story here is Cole's transformation into a minion of the sly vampiress Bloody Mary. You've only got until dawn to kill Mary and break your enslavement, and the game does a great job of indicating the passage of time by reminding you at certain points during the story how many hours you have left, and subtly changing the world by lightening the sky to give the sense that time is in fact running out.

New Marais' seasonal makeover helps establish the mood.

Festival of Blood is built on the Infamous 2 engine and assets, which is to say it feels almost exactly like Infamous 2 (which in turn felt a lot like the original Infamous). That means a lot of dodging and rolling in between hurling bolts of lightning and electric grenades and rockets at enemies. Since the game is still Infamous 2 at heart, it's worth noting that the same combat issues are here--mainly, it's easy to get ganged up on at inopportune times, or occasionally stick to a piece of the level design when you're trying to dodge. There's one meaningful new ability in here--the power to turn into a cloud of bats and soar right over all those buildings you had to climb up slowly in the previous game--that really changes the feel of how this game plays. It's incredibly fast to get around the city now, so fast that you might have a hard time going back to Infamous 2 after this. Festival of Blood reminds me of BioShock 2's masterful Minerva's Den in the way it accelerates the progression of your abilities over a compressed timespan; you start out with basic Infamous powers at the beginning and quickly advance to more powerful weaponry by completing combat challenges. The game works the vampiric theme into the gameplay pretty well, since you're fighting (and staking) other vampires almost constantly, and you get a "vampire vision" sort of mode that lets you reveal disguised vampires walking among the populace, as well as some nifty hidden collectibles.

It's those collectibles that add a little bit of meat to what is otherwise a pretty lean experience. You could burn through the story missions alone in a couple of hours here, especially since the flight ability makes it so quick and easy to get from place to place. But there are 100 items scattered around that increase the length of your flight time, as well as 10 invisible glyphs painted onto building walls that reveal some voiceovers from Mary about her past, stretching all the way back to Colonial America and even earlier. Those voiceovers do a surprisingly good job of fleshing her out as a character, and I found myself seeking them out not just to earn a trophy but because I wanted to hear everything she had to say. The glyphs are also fun to hunt for, since slipping into your vampire vision will show you ghostly arrows that point in the general direction of more arrows that will eventually lead you to a new tale. Hunting those down makes you feel a little sleuthy.

Some nice new still art helps tell the brief story.

Infamous 2's user-generated mission tools make their way into Festival of Blood as well, though you need to finish the story before you can make your own stuff. There's a nice upgrade to the editor that lets you pose character models in specific positions and then take still images of them, then overlay comic book-style talky bubbles on the image to create a little narrative to go along with your mission. I long ago made the life choice not to create my own content with these sorts of tools, but I could see people creating some decent stories if they put some work in. You can play as many user-made levels as you want after the game ends, though I tend to think open worlds feel a little lifeless once you've completed the storyline that runs through them.

Anyway, the game is $10. In my mind, that throws any quibbles about how long it is right out the window, especially since it contains the visual fidelity and gameplay of a full retail title. Sucker Punch made a laudable decision taking Festival of Blood standalone, rather than casting it as an add-on that requires Infamous 2. As a result, you've got a three-gigabyte download to chew through, but that opens this game up to anyone who didn't bite (ha!) on the previous game. Whether you're curious about trying Infamous for the first time, you wanted more after finishing Infamous 2, or you're just looking for a quick experience in a well-constructed Halloween setting, Festival of Blood is worth a look.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+
37 Comments
Edited by AlmostApollo

Whoo!

Also, I wish I had a PS3 for this.

Posted by solidejake

This game was great for it's price, and I would have paid double for it!

Posted by Gerhabio

More stand-alones, please!

Posted by RE_Player1

Having beaten this and got all the trophies I hope they continue with this type of DLC. Fantastic piece of content for $10 and even better cause I got it for $8 :)

Posted by rmanthorp

(ha!)

I laughed, a lot.

Moderator
Posted by ckeats

This reminds me of the Dead Rising thing they released on XBLA. I loved that, so I bet I'll love this. (Because I also enjoy InFamous)

Posted by bigJaffa

Well worth a look for 10 bucks. The new abilities are a ton of fun!

Posted by nick_verissimo

$10 and standalone? I'm in!

Posted by Cyrisaurus

I may get this. It's like $8 for PS+ members.

Posted by The_Nubster

Awesome to hear that it's good. If anyone would care to answer, how many mini-boss monsters are there? In the vanilla inFamous 2, I found fighting three bigguns every mission tiring and aggravating. Are there fewer now, or are they at least more fun to take care of?

Posted by MormonWarrior

I got inFamous for free with the PSN welcome back thing, and it's cool and all but I can't see myself getting any other inFamous games after that. Although I really did enjoy the Undead Nightmare for RDR even though I didn't like the main game...so maybe I'd like this?

Posted by Nekroskop

Gonna play this as soon as I buy Infamous 2.

Posted by waypoetic

After completing the story-part, i can just free-roam like in InFamous 1/2, right? It's not : "yup, finished, time's up buddy! You might as well delete the game. "

Posted by MasterKickface

@waypoetic: Yeah you can still roam around once the story is completed, and after you beat the story is when all the user generated missions pop up too. Even this early after it came out there are already a bunch of cool missions that people have made. One of the trophies is for beating 20 of the user created missions too.

Posted by Salesmunn

wow nice. Expansion pack review. This is unexpected.

Posted by Sander

I had no interest in this..until I read Mr Shumacher's review.

And a DLC that doesn't require the main game? Double sold.

Posted by beard_of_zeus

Just finished this up a few minutes ago actually, this is a piece of content well worth checking out, I would say. The bat power for flying around is awesomely useful! Definitely on the shorter side, but if you're up for cruising around the city and collecting stuff, that helps lengthen it out a bit. Still need to find that last glyph, it's driving me insane.
 
I actually spent a surprising amount of time playing some of the UGC missions post-game, there are at least a couple really good ones already I've found so far. Will probably jump back in and make a mission or two at some point, I had fun putting together a couple missions in infamous 2 proper.

Posted by Landon

@waypoetic said:

After completing the story-part, i can just free-roam like in InFamous 1/2, right? It's not : "yup, finished, time's up buddy! You might as well delete the game. "

Yeah, they set you back to midnight so you can finish collecting trophies. But keep in mind, you only get one island to explore, but it's the big one.

Online
Posted by MEATBALL

Loved InFamous 2 (enjoyed it more than its predecessor to be perfectly honest). I'm totally down for more InFamous 2, so I picked this up. Glad to hear it's pretty good, I'll save it for Halloween, methinks.

Posted by MiniPato

I hope we see more standalone expansion packs that come with a modest price. It seems like a really good idea, a way of giving players a demo of sorts of the game while getting a whole experience to boot. Reminds me of Dead Rising Case West and Case Zero, except with Festival of Blood you get something meatier with more replay value.

Posted by csl316

Coolness.

Edited by bybeach

Yeah it is a true standalone. Took me some hours to download it, even called my cable company. It seems a strange decision except maybe it is good business and perhaps allows for some improvements. The shortness of the campaign probably won't bother me, I tend to take my time. I won't say how long Hard Reset, the so called '4 hour game', took me. (on hard)

I'm glad they reviewed Infamous 2 Festival of Blood. I really liked Infamous 2, despite a final save debacle. I wish GB had maybe taken/might take a look at the Deus Ex-missing link dlc, not even neccessarily formally grading it. A QL in other words. Mixed reception but I like it pretty much...

Cool, thanks for the review!

Posted by DarthOrange

Was over FAAAAR to quickly for me. it took me less then five hours to get 100% of the trophies. I strongly recommend you play it on hard if you have played any of the previous infamous games. That said i still think this game is fun and more then worth the measly $10. The story is genuinely hilarious and i would love to see more themed infamous stories. Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day, 4th of July, hell pretty much any event that puts Zeke and a beer with woman.

Posted by FoxMulder

Dissapointed by inFamous 2 in every way except for it's gameplay, which is still fun as hell. Hated the story, new look, new characters, and overall tone. This looks neat, but inFamous 2 overall was a big letdown and I don't think I have it in me to play anything like it soon.

Posted by JTB123

God damn my PS3 for breaking, can't wait to play this. 

Posted by Razputin

Is it worth checking out for the Halloween-themed story and visuals even if I have not played inFamous 2?

Posted by popmasterruler

Really cool stand-alone,I only wish that it had been 1-2 hours longer and you could get a few more vampire powers but overall I'd recommend it.

Posted by Enigma777

I really enjoyed it. Especially how you can chain bat flight with your normal rail grinding and gliding abilities to virtually get around the entire city without touching the ground even once.

Posted by RE_Player1

@Enigma777 said:

I really enjoyed it. Especially how you can chain bat flight with your normal rail grinding and gliding abilities to virtually get around the entire city without touching the ground even once.

One thing about the inFamous games I like, especially this piece of content, if you know the ins and outs of how to move Cole and his powers you can get to one side of the city to the other without even touching the ground or even a building.

Posted by Undeadpool

Really, really enjoying this so far. I've heard it's over too too quickly, so I'm pacing myself and it's cool that it's standalone cause a friend is borrowing my copy of inFamous 2.

Posted by MindChamber

I love the idea that its a stand alone, just wish there was a way for it to search your drive for installed textures/sounds etc, to shorten the download for anyone who had I2

Posted by mewarmo990

Honestly this came as a pleasant surprise. $10 is nothing, since there aren't any appealing Halloween sales for me. Will be checking this out. Thanks for the write-up, Brad!

Posted by Spartacus714

@nick_verissimo said:

$10 and standalone? I'm in!

Posted by Yummylee

The Gaming Medium could do with more Halloween themed ''what-if'' alternate timelines, and I could always do with more inFAMOUS 2! Will definitely buy eventually, once I can wrangle some spare cash. And to think I was actually weighing this and the DA2 DLC ''Mark of The Assassin'' at one point... It's apparently meant to be pretty solid, but anything inFAMOUS 2 automatically >'s anything Dragon Age 2.

Posted by iAmJohn

So is it any good with the Move?

Posted by Skald

Surprised more people don't make standalone content like this. Seems it would make more money and help you sell your game.

Posted by shinboy630

Here's to hoping there is something awesome like this around christmas/winter break, seeing as that's when I will finally be picking up infamous 2