Festival of Blood is an interesting piece of DLC that sets itself apart from the game it shares a common title with. Not requiring the original game disc to be used at all, this side-story takes place exclusively on a single revamped island from the original game, and features a new power set to go with Cole’s new, vampy look.
Framed by Cole’s buddy Zeke telling the story to a girl in a bar, Festival of Blood sees Cole facing an all-new enemy during the New Marais holiday of Pyre Day – vampires. I know, I know. It seems like adding vampires or zombies to a game is a staple of add-ons, but this is executed in a way that legitimately seems to tie it into the overall infamous mythos. Captured by a group of gentleman with strangely pointy teeth, Cole McGrath the electric wonder finds himself being used to kick-start the corpse of Bloody Mary, an ancient vampire. Apparently as a Conduit (super-powered individual), Cole’s blood packs a lot of punch, because Mary comes back and starts draining him like a youth potion. Great news for Mary, because she’s back and ready to raise some hell – less great for Cole because he now finds himself with an unwelcome appetite for blood, and the knowledge that come sunrise, he’ll be a slave to Bloody Mary for the rest of his undead life.
It’s not all bad, though! With new vampiric tastes come new vampiric powers, like the ability to travel at high speed as a cloud of bats and Vamp-Vision, which lets you tell the difference between vampires, tasty humans and vampires in disguise. The bat-travel, powered by your bloody appetite, is a very welcome addition as it lets you zip across the landscape with great ease. This is especially true when used in conjunction with Cole’s existing hover ability, because put to proper use you could travel halfway across the city without ever needing to touch down.
Combat mechanics are largely the same – you charge up your combat meter to allow you to use impressive finishing moves, and vampires are just as susceptible to being electrocuted as everyone else. The health and combat upgrades of the core game are absent, meaning you need to be very careful about keeping a recharge source handy lest you die in seconds. It’s a bit of a letdown that the extra endurance I earnt for Cole in the main game cannot be taken advantage of here, as I found he had a very short lifespan otherwise.
The core story will see you chasing after Bloody Mary in order to put an end to her and save yourself from your vampirism. This is interestingly achieved without the characteristic karma system of inFAMOUS 2 – obviously chewing on the necks of innocent bystanders for flight fuel would be considered a faux pas, so after a few voiceover announcements from Zeke stating that Cole had no choice but to survive the matter is put to rest. Not having to decide whether to play nice or nasty was curiously freeing, as this karma system has been integral and enjoyable in the series thus far.
Side missions also make a return in Festival of Bloo, spicing up the journey from story point to story point. Hidden glyphs lead you to snippets of audio explaining Mary’s backstory, random gangs of vampires await your beatdowns, and jars full of vampire blood scattered across New Marais will upgrade your blood capacity as you smash them. Without this content the DLC would be extremely short, but your bat-flight ability makes it enjoyable to bounce around tracking them down.
All in all, Festival of Blood offers you a few hours of something a little different from the Cole McGrath you’re used to. If the developers take anything away from this for the inevitable inFAMOUS 3, I hope it’s the ability to fly. I know that if Cole happened to develop the ability to zip around as living lightning, I wouldn’t be complaining! In the meantime, this add-on gave me a bit more time with one of the PlayStation 3’s most interesting original properties, and for that I’m grateful.
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