A side story with teeth
Pyre Night in New Marais brings out all the weirdos: party girls wearing masks and horns, goths trying to get their cool drunk on, and vampires wanting to resurrect some seriously evil vamp queen named Bloody Mary. It’s here, in a dark catacomb, that we begin inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood, a standalone side story.
At the start of the tale, the formidable Mary makes a snack of series protagonist Cole MacGrath, and his superpowered blood transforms her from shriveled corpse to dangerously sexy bloodsucker. Now, he’s got eight hours to destroy Bloody Mary, or he’ll become her slave for eternity. It’s not clear whether or not the events in inFAMOUS: Festival of Blood ever actually happened, though. Really, how much faith can you put in a story Cole’s goofy buddy Zeke Dunbar tells while chatting up a hottie in a bar? Still, I like to think that for one indeterminate night, Cole MacGrath got to experience the joy of sinking his teeth into the hard-partying citizens of New Marais.
Festival of Blood, while providing a few hours of fun, doesn’t really fit with the series’ two main games. Stripped away are many of Cole’s inFAMOUS 2 powers (no ice or fire skills), the ability to make moral decisions, and much of New Marais itself. In its place, Cole receives some nifty vampire powers, including Vampire Vision, which allows him to find hidden clues and discover Firstborn Vamps hiding in human bodies. Additionally, Cole can turn into a flock of bats and fly until hitting solid objects. These new abilities provide a fresh feel and complement Cole’s electrical abilities well, keeping the level of bad-assery high. In order to power his vampire abilities, Cole must feast on blood—thus eliminating any possibility for completely good behavior. There’s even a trophy for draining 100 innocent victims. Needless to say, if being evil repulses you, skip this one.
The main episode’s also quite short—one-sitting short, depending on your skills. It takes a little longer to earn all of the trophies and find all 100 of the Canopic Jars—collectibles that up Cole’s blood-storage capacity and allow him to use his shadow abilities for longer periods of time. What can extend the life of this soirée is the inclusion of user-generated content specifically designed for Festival of Blood. Like the UGC available for inFAMOUS 2, the quality varies wildly. Episodes created by Sucker Punch feature fun diversions and great comic book-style asides, while those churned out by the masses are hit and miss—and you don’t know whether you’re entering a mess until you’ve started a quest. You can find gems, but you have to look hard.
Sucker Punch does its usual excellent job with Festival of Blood’s polished, smooth-playing presentation. The new enemies—vampires, vampires with guns, Firstborn vampires that resemble Man-Bat from DC Comics and can tear Cole up in no time flat—all help keep the action fresh and different enough from the standard inFAMOUS entries. The price seems a little steep for a three-to-four-hour diversion, but inFAMOUS fans will certainly enjoy the extra content. But those who haven’t yet played through either of the main inFAMOUS games shouldn’t judge them based on this little gothic side quest—that would be doing the series a disservice.
SUMMARY: Festival of Blood is a great Halloween diversion, like a one-shot comic that doesn’t really affect the main storyline. It’s a good time while it lasts, but it just makes you more anxious to get back to the main story.
- THE GOOD: A standalone adventure that doesn’t require inFAMOUS 2 to play
- THE BAD: Doesn’t really represent the depth of the series’ gameplay
- THE UGLY: Being bum-rushed by two dozen hungry Fangers