When a huge explosion tears down several blocks in the middle of Empire City, Cole MacGrath mysteriously is the only person to survive near the center of the detonation. However, he starts to notice an unusual change in his body, a supernatural power over electricity which he soon learns to control. By then, a sickness has lead the government to quarantine the entire city, enabling street gangs to overwhelm the police and establish a violent rule over the population and the increasingly scarce supplies. Trapped in a desolate city of people who hold him responsible for the explosion, wanted by the police and hunted by the Reapers who try to stay in control of the streets, Cole must decide whose side he’s on. Will he use his new-found powers to assure his own survival and take revenge on the people that condemn him, or will he use them to gain their respect by aiming for the greater good? Will he become a famous superhero, or an infamous super villain?
inFAMOUS is an action game taking place in a free city environment. It takes a different approach to comic book style games by not giving players control over a powerful superhero, but having them fill the role of a regular guy who is just starting to discover his supernatural abilities. Through their actions, they are able to decide whether Cole will become a hero that the inhabitants of the city admire and look up to, or a selfish man who fights for his survival and that of his friends, even if it means the death of others. When encountering Cole in the streets, citizens react according to his reputation.
The game can only be played in a single-player story mode, where Empire City is fully explorable. A karma meter shows how many good and bad deeds have been done. Experience points gained in combat and upon completing tasks can be spent on improving Cole’s control over his electric powers, where some improvements are only available with a certain amount or positive or negative karma. Relying on electricity for health and powers, Cole needs to recharge himself wherever he can find an electric current, which is made more difficult by the occasional power outages happening in different areas of the city.