Infamous: Festival of Blood preview

It's easy to see why there's so much confusion over Festival of Blood. Firstly, it's not an expansion pack for Infamous 2--you won't need the original retail disc to play the game. Secondly, it's not a sequel for the Infamous series--it's actually not canon at all. Think of it as an "official fanfic," the term I jokingly donned onto the title when I saw an early preview build of the game. More importantly, you should think of it as an incredible value. Priced at $10, this Festival of Blood will be one of the greatest values on the PlayStation Network. What do you get with Festival of Blood? You get the entire city of New Marais, re-skinned to match its spooky Halloween theme. You'll also get new areas to explore, such as an underground tunnel system where vampires live. You'll also get new vampire powers, including the ability to suck blood, "Vampire Vision," and most importantly... the ability to fly. Festival of Blood may not be a sequel, but it certainly feels like one. Cole's new abilities, combined with the roster of new enemies, makes the game look and play like a brand new game.

Yes, you can now fly in Infamous

But... why vampires? After Infamous 2 was completed, the Sucker Punch team felt like they could work on an expansion pack in time for Halloween. Also, this was a great excuse to not only introduce new powers, but familiarize gamers with Cole's evil sensibilities. I was told that most people opt to make Cole a good guy. By turning him into a vampire and getting rid of the morality meter, Sucker Punch wanted to encourage gamers to try being evil for once. The player has no choice but to be evil, but don't worry that this is breaking your game's "canon." Right from the get-go, Festival of Blood is set up as its own fiction. Zeke, ever the womanizer, tries to impress a girl at a bar by telling a tall tale of how he saved his friend from succumbing to the curse of a vampire. In Zeke's narrated story, he tells the captivated woman that Cole only had one night to destroy Bloody Mary, the most powerful vampire in New Marais, lest he turn into a vampire forever. It's a cute and clever way of setting up the standalone adventure, and makes me hopeful that--should Festival of Blood be a success--that we'll see more of Zeke's fantasy spin-offs in the future. Infamous vets will find most of the gameplay familiar here. In spite of your newfound vampirism, you still have electric powers, and will largely be bolting enemies as you traverse the environment. However, there are some new gimmicks. For example, vampires are hidden amongst humans and the only way to ultimately defeat them is to stake them through the heart. These encounters can be quite difficult--but you can get the upper-hand by using your vampire-enhanced vision and finding out who's human and who's not. (ProTip: Vampires don't have hearts.) If you sneak up behind a vampire undetected, you'll be able to stake him for an instant-kill.

Vampire vision lets you see who's human... and who's not

The enemies are a lot tougher in Festival of Blood, but thankfully you'll be able to run away pretty quickly with Cole's best new move: the ability to fly. Provided your blood meter is full, you'll be able to transform into a flying swarm of bats and fly around in first-person. It's rather exhilarating, and makes traversing through the environment that much more fun. Sucker Punch does note that the campaign is significantly shorter than the one featured in Infamous 2, but hey--it is $10. Amazingly, like its retail big-brother, Festival of Blood also comes with its own UGC system, allowing players to create their own Festival of Blood missions. Festival of Blood is truly an extraordinary expansion. I joked that if Capcom had published this, it would have been repackaged as its own $40 retail game. But no, it's $10 (and even cheaper for PlayStation Plus members). Even if you haven't played Infamous 1 or 2, I still recommend you check this out when it releases on October 25th.