Cole, You Suck!
Available as a reasonably priced digital download, and not requiring the full version of inFAMOUS 2, Festival of Blood attempts to tread similar ground to last year's fantastic Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare by providing a one-off non-canon story that's totally appropriate for All-Hallows Eve. The impetus for this tale is that your old pal Zeke is out at the bar, trying to pick up a lovely lady and is regaling her with tales of the exploits of Cole, and in particular this one story where Zeke himself helped save everyone.
See, one night good Cole was stopping some punks in the sewer when out of nowhere a vampire named Bloody Mary materialized and chomped on Cole's neck and transformed him into evil vampire Cole. Since the legend says you can revert to human if you kill the vampire who birthed you (but only in the first 24 hours!), Cole sets out to track down Bloody Mary and put an end to her. Unfortunately, the city of New Marais is under siege from these vampires who are able to blend in since everyone is celebrating the night Mardi Gras style and reveling in the streets. Cole has to fight his way through these vampires over 6 missions to build himself a weapon to take on Mary and restore himself to just being a freak rather than an undead freak.
In his vampiric state, Cole retains all his (evil) electricity powers and gains the ability to turn into a mist and fly through the air. Turning into a mist is a godsend, since not only does it let you fly through the air and traverse the city quickly, you can also instantly kill other vampires by flying into them. Unfortunately, using this power comes at a cost. Cole has a blood meter that rapidly drains as you fly, and can only be refilled by staking other vampires (which only nets you a bit of blood) or by chomping on the luscious bare neck of any of the city's citizens (which fills it completely). As you might expect, evil vampire Cole has no qualms about either of these methods, so you can guess which one I generally used to refill. Interestingly, the RPG progression for unlocking your powers that exist in the main game has been replaced here by powers unlocking merely through kills. Knock out and stake 20 vampires, and you'll unlock grenades, kill another 20, and now you have missiles, and so on. The game helpfully lets you know your progress after each kill. You'll still need to soak up electricity to use these powers, naturally.
The world is quite a bit smaller this time around, and the architecture is decidedly bent towards buildings that are only a few stories high and centered around a huge graveyard in the middle. There are still plenty of power lines to surf along, also a nice underground catacombs system to (somewhat) quickly get you from one side of the island to the other, but overall there world is a little bland. You'll make your way through the story in around 3-4 hours, but you can spend more time hunting the collectibles (a task made trivial by unlocking a power pretty early on that highlight the nearest collectible on your mini-map. Cole also gets himself a "Vampiric Vision" mode that is essentially his own version of "Detective Mode" from Batman: Arkham City and comes in handy quite a few times. Combat is about the same as you've come to expect from the series, although the enemies are limited to two main types of vampires that are essentially interchangeable, and the occasional battle against a hulking Firstborn vampire that amounts to a miniboss.
For those that love the UGC (User Generated Content) system from inFAMOUS 2, it's back with a few new templates for you to create missions with. You can even add in your own comic-book style cutscenes. I didn't mess with it too much, and I didn't see a whole lot of UGC when I was playing (you can't actually unlock that until you beat the game proper) but any content is extra content so we appreciate that. Sucker Punch also shoehorned in some Move controls (also getting patched into the main game soon) that work fairly well, all things considered. The fact that Cole tends to shoot his powers out from his hand makes the feeling of using the wand a little more analogous to real life than if you had a gun, and while I'm not positive I'd want to play all the way through like that, it is absolutely worth checking out for a bit.
For $9.99, Festival of Blood is a nice little diversion for fans of the original game, and making it available as a stand-alone product means those obsessed with the macabre can get in on the action for a reasonable investment. It's over pretty quick though, and the bits of new gameplay that were added don't necessarily bring too much new excitement to the table. But fans of the game of vampire freaks could do a lot worse for their 10 bucks.