Oh Zeke, what are we going to do with you?
True fans of the inFAMOUS series will tell you that Zeke Dunbar is as important to the games’ formula(s) as Cole McGrath himself. Cole’s best friend and sidekick is an integral part of both the inFAMOUS lore and Cole’s life. The thing about Zeke is that although he means well, he ultimately creates as many problems as he helps resolve. Sometimes you / Cole, just wish he would keep his mouth shut but then again, you aren’t sure what you would do without him by your side every step of the way.
Festival of Blood (FoB) is a tongue and cheek tale set in the inFAMOUS universe. Despite the appearance, this isn’t meant to be taken as canon in the game world; you are basically playing through the events that Zeke is describing to a young woman he is trying to pick up in a bar. You know Zeke, he has an uncanny ability to make an elaborate story out of the most mundane event(s), especially when a beautiful woman is involved. There is no doubt that there is a Pyre Night celebrated in New Marais, and Cole likely had an adventure or two or perhaps intervened in a series of events during the festival; when Zeke tells the event(s) though, the story evolves into an exaggerated tale of the undead and ancient curses that have come back to life. If you are going to appreciate this chapter of the game, then you have to appreciate Zeke and his ultimately “good” intentions.
According to Zeke’s tale, Cole was once abducted by a group of vampires who used his powerful, conduit blood to resurrect the long-dead Queen of the Vampires, known as Bloody Mary. Once she was brought back to the world of the living, Mary sunk her teeth in to Cole in an attempt to claim his soul as her own for eternity. Cole had a single night to unravel the tale of Bloody Mary and of Pyre Night in order to stave off eternal damnation.
If you want me to describe the game in the simplest means possible, you could call the game a scaled down version of inFAMOUS 2
with Halloween decorations. The adventure takes the main game, minus a bit of the detail and complexity and throws in decorations and traits from various vampire lore. At the heart of the adventure is the same inFAMOUS gameplay and themes that fans know in love. Cole will travel around New Marais seeking out missions which will advance both the story and the improve Cole’s powers. This adventure though limits you to the main island in the town; you won’t be able to cross the bridge(s) into the suburbs and visit some of the other areas that you traveled to in inFAMOUS 2.
Cole still retains a majority of his powers that were earned in his recent adventure but you cannot switch between them as you could previously. You have your grenades, shoves, and lighting firing abilities and they will be improved upon slightly over time. There just won’t be variations of those powers though; no explosive grenades, no zoom targeting to snipe enemies with bolts of electricity, and also no opportunities to launch yourselves skyward. On the other hand, you do gain a variety of new abilities thanks to the transition into becoming a vampire that you are currently undergoing. Cole can now fly around the city by transforming into a flock of bats. You will also be utilizing vampire vision which is used to identify demonized civilians amidst the crowds and a a newly acquired wooden stake which will be used to dispose of those less-than human individuals that you encounter. We all know that the only way to truly dispatch a vampire is with a wooden stake through the heart and that is just what you will be doing here. Goodbye powered amp and hello sharpened crucifix.
Everything about the game falls directly in line with the standard inFAMOUS formula; little to nothing has changed. Instead of seeking out “dead drops” or recordings that fill you in on the lore and backstory, you will trackdown glyphs which reveal the narrated teachings of Bloody Mary. While the blast shards of the old games are no where to be found, they have been replaced with small canisters of blood which you need to collect in order to increase the amount of human blood you can harvest and store. Just as electricity reserves are need to fuel your electric powers, blood is needed to drive the “vampiric” powers that you have recently acquired. In order to fill the meter, you will have to sacrifice innocent civilians by biting them in the neck.
Perhaps the biggest trait of the inFAMOUS series is missing from this tale though, and that is the aspect of “choice”. There aren’t any moral decisions to be made here; the tale and your missions are extremely linear. You will simply be completing a direct path from the start to the finish of the game, with absolutely zero variation in the path. While this makes sense in the context of the story at hand, it ultimately cheapens the overall inFAMOUS experience.
Sucker Punch has once again implemented the User Generated Content modes which debuted in the second game. Players can craft their own unique missions in the Festival of Blood world and share them with other PSN users online. There is even a new tool included which allows you to design and utilize 2D storyboards for the purposes of narrating and advancing your creations. This is a very welcome addition which has since been released as a tool for inFAMOUS 2 via a recent title update.
There is really only one complaint that I have with the game and that lies with the exclusion of directions roughly 2/3 of the way through the game. Just like part 2, the story introduces players to the concept of the user generated content. After completing a mission, you are informed that you now have the ability to craft missions for sharing through the PlayStation Network and educated to the fact that that those types of missions will be marked with a green waypoint on the world map. With this knowledge, one would think that green missions marked on the map are simply extra missions, created within the UGC, which can be explored simply for your entertainment.
That isn’t the case though, the next mission that you are required to complete in order to advance the story is in fact a Sucker Punch created UGC mission which appears as green on the map. I wondered around for nearly 2 hours trying to figure out what I needed to do to advance the story and had 2 separate friends report experiencing the same issue. In the mean time, I ventured throughout the entire city and collected all of the various blood canisters and Bloody Mary teachings, hoping that I would eventually trigger the next events in the tale. In a last ditch effort before I gave up I decided to try the labeled UGC mission. to my surprise, completing the second Sucker Punch mission did in fact advance the storyline and triggered the next ‘required’ mission on the map/. It would had been really nice if there had been some sort of explanation that the mission was required but instead you are told that it is optional and may skip it for the itme being as a result. If you make the same mistake that I did, you are going to be spending a lot of time loitering around the city and doing absolutely nothing to advance the story of Festival of Blood. Once I moved on though, and got drawn back into the tale, all was forgiven and I quickly forgot that I was ever frustrated at all.
Considering that the entire package is available as a stand alone title for merely $9.99, there really isn’t any reason why fans of the inFAMOUS series shouldn’t check it out. I would recommend the title to anyone who enjoys action games as a whole but there is more to love for those familiar with the characters and the series. The game is truly a simplified inFAMOUS experience under a Halloween mask. It’s fun, festive, and extremely entertaining. The game is a relatively short experience; you could easily complete it in roughly 2 to 3 hours but the UGC options do offer an opportunity for nearly endless gameplay above and beyond the main story. You shouldn’t have any reservations in checking out the Festival of Blood, it’s a bloody good time.