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inFamous 2 – The Triumph Of UGC

inFamous 2 – The Triumph Of UGC

When I first began hearing whisperings of user-generated content in inFamous 2 I was intrigued. Some seemed skeptical, others strangely defiant in their opposition, but I think most thought ‘why the hell not?’. As I’ve slowly worked my way around New Marais it’s become clearer and clearer that bringing UGC to inFamous 2 was a genius move.

In terms of content right now, I’ve only encountered a handful of user created mini-games or missions that were truly interesting and nothing yet that I would consider outstanding. That’s not of great concern to me right now. The quality of the UGC is not what makes it such a good idea. That honour goes to the role in can play in your progression through the game and the way you can use it to shape and pace your experience of New Marais.

I’ve come to treat inFamous 2 in a rather meticulous way. I try to complete every available side mission before moving on to the next story mission and that’s in part because I want to earn as much XP as possible to keep Cole MacGrath as topped up with powers as possible. It’s time consuming, but it’s also completely in my hands, which is one of the things I love about sandbox games. What the UGC adds is another, non-essential, take it or leave it layer that allows me dip in, grab a little extra XP and drop out again when I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. And some of the missions and games can be so simple that they really couldn’t be better suited to those needs.

There have been a couple of issues such as not having unlocked abilities that I needed in order to complete a UGC mission early in the game. That could get rather frustrating. And there’s certainly a much higher need to play such levels towards the back end of the game as abilities become more expensive and the story side quests don’t quite keep pace with their XP handouts. But it’s in your hands. You can make use of these levels or not. You can dictate the terms.

Quality would be preferable of course and some tweaking needs to be done in order for it to be easier to filter out the rubbish and allow the cream to rise to the top, but inFamous 2’s UGC is a step in the right direction. It fits perfectly with the sandbox environment, it feeds brilliantly into the XP system and on the whole shows just how well community made content can be integrated into modern games. Could it be better? Yes, but I’ve found it to be a welcome new feature and I’ll be looking forward to seeing what Sucker Punch do with it in whatever game it chooses to make next.

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