Review: inFamous Festival of Blood
As is the case among us all, this time of year always gets me excited about ghosts, goblins, zombies and vampires. Creatures that stalk the night and massive amounts of candy paint a picture of wonderful memories through the years of Halloween. While television shows and movies have had their fair share of Halloween themed content, it’s been really great to see some games test the waters out with their own Halloween themed expansions. Last year I was reminded of my love for trick-or-treating with Costume Quest and this year inFamous Festival of Blood is here to remedy a bad taste I’ve had in my mouth towards vampires recently.
It’s important to note that inFamous Festival of Blood is a completely standalone side-story. You don’t need to own any of the inFamous games to play it and there’s absolutely no need to have any knowledge of the story beats from the prior games. I’m happy they did this as it’s a great opportunity for people who haven’t played inFamous to get a short taste of what the game is like without the confines of a demo.
Festival of Blood kicks off with Zeke striking up conversation with a lady in a bar. He mentions that he’s friends with the great Cole McGrath and begins to recant the tale of the night in which he turned into a vampire. The story, which shouldn’t take much more than ninety-minutes to two hours to finish follows Cole just moments after he’s been bitten by the one and only Bloody Mary. Now with some new vampire powers at his disposal he has one night to take down Bloody Mary or else she’ll have full control over him for eternity. This also just so happens to fall on Pyre Night, New Marais version of Halloween, which seems to be an excuse to have the citizens of New Marais drunk enough to not notice the legions of vampires roaming the city.
Mission structure within Festival of Blood is set up identical to inFamous 2. You’ll travel to a waypoint on the map and partake in some sort of objective. Most of the game you’ll be tracking down a special crucifix that’s believed to hold the power in taking down Bloody Mary while in other moments you’ll need to hunt down First Born vampires that have the ability to disguise themselves as humans. While it’s possible to rush through the main missions within the game, there’s plenty of side collectibles to track down. In place of Blast Shards and Dead Drops, Festival of Blood has you tracking down Blood Canisters and Bloody Mary Teachings. Blood Canisters are used to boost the amount of blood you can store — blood is used by your vampire powers — and Bloody Mary Teachings provide some back story on Bloody Mary. If you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself constantly looking for these collectibles as you fly around New Marais taking down vampires and sucking the blood of innocent victims.
I think the most notable thing about Festival of Blood are the new vampire abilities that you possess and the way in which the game handles progression. Cole now has the ability to transform into a group of bats and literally fly anywhere within the city. This drains blood quickly but makes traversal faster than ever. He’s also able to activate a vampire sense which acts very similar to detective vision in Batman. With vampire sense activated you’re able to see through people and nearby collectibles glow on the minimap. Vampire sense is mainly used in the game to track down First Born vampires that cloak themselves as humans in order to stay hidden. Along with his new vampire abilities Cole starts out the game with his entire move set. He’s able to throw his lightning grenades, rockets, etc within the first moments of the game. Instead of unlocking abilities through experience points and a karma based system, the game allows you to upgrade abilities naturally as you progress through the game. By taking down a certain number of vampires, seeking out first borns, finding a set number of Blood Mary teachings and even completing user generated missions you will earn upgrades. This new method of progression works really well and feels far more natural than the usual route taken in past inFamous games. Whether it’s something we’ll see again in the future is unknown but I really enjoyed the way progression worked in Festival of Blood and hope it’s used again sooner rather than later.
Festival of Blood doesn’t stop at just some new powers though. Move support is included within the game and I’m happy to say it’s some of the best implementation I’ve experienced yet. Playing with Move the only main difference is that you’re now in full control of the camera and aiming. Everything is done with one of the face buttons on the controller, while the camera control and aiming is done by pointing with the Move controller. As is expected the Move controls take a little getting used to but in no time it all, it seemed, I found myself loving it. It doesn’t feel tacked on, rather it feels completely natural. All in all it’s great to see developers putting a good effort forth in implementing Move support that ultimately makes the game better.
The UGC missions have received some updates as well, from inFamous 2. In addition to new enemies like vampires you can now create comic book style cut-scenes to include within your mission. UGC however isn’t totally optional. There’s a point about half way through the story mode in Festival of Blood where the game will make you accept the ToS and then force you to complete two UGC missions before advancing. There’s literally no explanation as to what’s going on at that moment and I honestly thought there was a glitch since the story missions vanished from the map.
Many people might point out that inFamous Festival of Blood is too short. That however would be ignoring the fact that Festival of Blood is a seriously great piece of content that inFamous fans absolutely have to experience. Playing through it without rushing I got about four and a half hours out of the game before achieving one hundred percent completion. The game was enough to rid my mouth of the nasty taste that inFamous 2 left and had me sincerely hoping for more inFamous related games in the future.
If you’re looking for something to do this Halloween then look no further than this.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Ability Progression
- Fun side-story
- Vampire powers
What I Dislike:
- Forcing me to play UGC missions to progress in the story
- Final Boss