Written by Brock Poulsen, brockst4r Thursday, 14 July 2011 11:00
The morality system in inFamous 2 is very simple, with very obvious good-or-evil choices presented to the player in the main storyline. But there are moments and interactions that occur in the game world that reveal deeper truths about morality and choice.
I endeavored to make this article as non-denominational as possible. I happen to be LDS (Mormon), but the concepts discussed are universal and I tried to make them as broad as I could. Needless to say, though, this is very much a religious discussion of the game, with the concept that such terms like good and evil are divinely determined, and the reality of God. The article doesn't represent the official opinions of Goozex or GoozerNation, just my own musings and opinions.
As I mentioned, the main choices in the game are seldom more complicated than "kill everyone vs. save everyone." But in the time spent away from the main story and in smaller encounters, there arises a sort of persistent morality, where small choices veer closer to grey moral areas. Cole can hurry on to his next mission, but what about that group of militia members harassing those citizens? And do I stop to pick up a blast shard before coming to the rescue? This was my first realization where art imitates life: the major choices in our lives are usually somewhat black and white, while it's our day-to-day lives where we see more difficult choices. This initial realization led me to several related ideas that I think are significant and demonstrate the interesting morality at play in inFamous.
It is easier to be an evil character in inFamous. I purposely played through my first time as a good guy so that if I wanted to play through a second time on Hard difficulty I could be reckless and indiscriminate with my attacks. It takes more planning and better aim to stay on the good side of Karma. Cole has attacks like grenades or the Shockwave that are very effective but widely destructive, and can result in harming citizens. In the same way, it is easier to live a life that is not in line with God's guidelines. This concept is referred to by many names and concepts: the natural man, the path of least resistance, realism, etc. But the fact remains that it requires more of an effort and greater self awareness to be good. Cole must be aware of his surroundings before tossing a grenade; we must be aware of the effects our actions have on others. It can be inconvenient to make the right choices, and it requires a concerted effort to live a righteous life.
inFamous 2 is certainly a worthy gameplay experience, with the added appeal (for me, at least) of being an interesting and compelling metaphor for living a spiritual life.