Game Review: 'Infamous: Festival of Blood'

Infamous: Festival of Blood (guess developer Sucker Punch dropped the 2 somewhere between the first reveal and the final release) wears its light heart—and its vampiric inspirations—on its sleeve.  The game opens up with a rockabilly goofball named Zeke, the pompadour-wearing sidekick to series protagonist Cole McGrath, trying his hardest to pick up a woman in a bar, explaining that the "kiddie book" that he is reading is no mere comic, but instructions on how to deal with the undead.  OK, Sucker Punch, you've referenced The Lost Boys already and you're not even in the game proper?  You've got my attention.

Festival of Blood comes across as A Very Infamous Halloween Special, with the electrically-charged Cole McGrath attacked by a pack of vampires in the fictional city of New Marais (Infamous' analogue for New Orleans) in order to resurrect their queen.  Unfortunately for Cole, this superhuman blood transfusion not only revives the obviously-named Bloody Mary, but turns him into a vampire as well.  An electrically-powered vampire.  Yeah, it's as cool as it sounds.

Infamous veterans will be able to dive right into Festival of Blood without any difficulty, as it shares the controls and move sets of the prior games with some additional vampire-based abilities.  Cole now has to feed at a fairly regular rate from the various rabble rousers and revelers of the Pyre Night celebration (a holiday seated at the crossroads of Mardi Gras and Halloween), but this blood thirst has the not-unpleasant side effect of some enhanced abilities, including the ability to fly through the air at breakneck speed and a constantly-growing list of vampire-slaying abilities that he gains by—you guessed it—killing other vampires.

The best part of Festival of Blood stems from its sheer lightheartedness.  Sucker Punch seems to relish the inherent absurdity of a superhero-turned-vampire, and they handle it with a b-movie flourish.  There's a nonsensical story about a supernatural priest who initially defeated Bloody Mary, and whose crypt contains the artifact that will finish the job again, and the roving gangs of vampires are suitably cheesy, decked out in leather pants and coats with no shirts on underneath.  Even the townsfolk are dressed to the partying nines, with obnoxious glowing gear that's half Burning Man and half 90's candy rave scene.  The whole thing feels "done up" properly, like a Halloween episode of a sitcom, and that's just fantastic. 

In fact, Infamous: Festival of Blood as a whole is just that: fantastic.  It takes the already brilliantly executed gameplay of the Infamous series and dolls it up with deliciously hokey horror that works wonderfully, even after Halloween is over.

Infamous: Festival of Blood is available now on the Playstation Network for $9.99.