inFamous: Festival of Blood Review

Before I begin, I should let you know that InFamous: Festival of Blood is not DLC content for inFamous 2.  It is a complete standalone game, and even if you've never owned an inFamous game, you can download it and enter the game's open world city right from your PS3's hard disk without ever buying inFamous 2 or popping a Blu-ray into your PS3.  If you don't own inFamous 2, well, you're missing out on a great game, but that's beside the point here.  Let's just focus on Festival of Blood...

It's Pyre Night in New Marais, a city-wide party that's part Halloween, part Guy Fawkes Day, celebrating a town legend.  Only it turns out that it wasn't a legend.  The story of the town standing up to and defeating the vampire queen Bloody Mary isn't local legend or historical fiction, it's historical fact.  Bloody Mary has chosen this particular Pyre Night to make her return and her minions have begun to prey on the locals for a little refreshment.  When our electrified hero Cole enters the catacombs beneath the city to try and rescue some of the locals and discover what's happening to them, he has a disastrous first meeting with Mary.  Turned into a vampire himself Cole has only eight hours to kill Mary to dispel the curse, but he needs to figure out just how to kill the queen of the vampires first...

If you never played an inFamous game, then you'll need to spend some time on your own figuring out Cole's basic electricity-based power set as the game leans toward the assumption that you're already somewhat familiar with them.  There are some screen tips that cover the basics, but not as much as you'd get if you were playing inFamous or inFamous 2 from the beginning.  Everyone's on equal footing when it comes to Cole's new vampiric powers as the game is more thorough in introducing them, and veteran or newcomer you're going to love what you can do as a vampire.

There's a new travel power that lets you soar through the skies of New Marais.  You'll be able to transform into a swarm of bats and quickly travel over the city's streets and rooftops.  And it's more than a travel power, too; you can use it to rush at enemies and deliver a devastating blow.  Ah, but there's always a downside with power like these and in this case it's that your flight time is limited.  You can only fly as long as you can power that flight and the only way to recharge the meter is to drink the blood of the citizens you were trying to protect in the first place.  If you did play InFamous 2, this is the point where you are probably beginning to worry about how all of that blood-sucking of innocents is going to affect your karma level.  Well, luckily for you the karma system is non-existent in Festival of blood.  The citizens that give their blood to you are just a necessary sacrifice to prevent the greater evil of Bloody Mary taking over and turning everyone to vampires I suppose...

Anyway, your other 'gift' from Bloody Mary is vampiric sight which serves a few useful purposes.  With it you can tell who in the population is human and who is a vampire in disguise, which is a necessary skill because if you try to bite a vampire you'll have a pretty nasty fight on your hands.  It's much better to just stake the incognito vampires and dispatch them instantly before they transform.  The skill also comes in handy when you're trying to locate vampires in one of the game's many dark locations; you'll be able to pick out where they're hiding and take them out which is particular useful when facing weapon-toting undead.  Other uses of your new way of seeing things are locating hidden blood stashes that increase your vampiric power capacity and vampire graffiti that leads you to important locations or places where you can learn more about Mary's origins.

In addition to these new powers you'll also have Cole's own powers at your disposal.  The full power set from InFamous 2 isn't available, but enough of it is to make you an effective vampire hunter.  These powers include Cole's ability to grind along electrical wires and climb up and down buildings, so even when your bat power is in need of some juice you'll still be able to get around New Marais well enough.  You'll also need to rely on your offensive electrical powers to put down the vampires crawling all over New Marais, and recharge your health by leaching electricity from street lights, fuse boxes, and the like.  If you're familiar with inFamous 2, then you'll be familiar with the battles here.  If not, they're generally fun - firing bolts of exploding electricity tends to be so - but the game has an annoying tendency to back you into corners or against walls at which point it becomes difficult to see your enemies and fight them off.  This doesn't happen so often that it ruins the game, but often enough that it will lead to a number of frustrating deaths.

Between the game's story mission, collectibles, secondary goals, and the pure fun of flying around town, there's a pretty decent amount of content here for a downloadable title.  Overall I had a blast with InFamous: Festival of Blood, and hope that we see more PSN offerings like it in the near future.

Final Rating: 90%. A bloody good time in Ol' New Marais.


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