E3 2010: Hands-on with InFamous 2

When I was finally given control over what Cole was doing, I (and everyone else who played) immediately went off the rails and started testing out what Cole could do. While they weren’t really shown off in the hands-off demo, Cole’s old powers are still available, from his simple, bullet-like electrical zaps to the bigger, car-flinging electricity bursts and sticky lightning grenades. We also had a chance to try out his new Ionic Vortex, a massive lightning-charged whirlwind that picked up cars and civilians alike, leaving them littered across the street in chaotic piles.

For us, though, the most significant thing we took from the hands-on was that the first game’s “stickiness” was gone. Cole could still grab onto ledges and jump onto narrow objects with ease, but the game seemed to have a better idea of what we were aiming for. We could finesse small jumps without Cole’s feet getting automatically sucked onto whatever surface they got near. It’s a seemingly small improvement, but one that could completely remove the platforming-related irritations that held the first game back.

If you pined for some kind of fast-travel system in the first game, however, don’t hold your breath forone in InFamous 2. While ideas for this have been considered – and could still make it into the final game – director Fox seemed unenthusiastic about the idea, saying that it’s better to make traveling through the city so much fun that players won’t want to skip over it.

As for the rest of the demo, it was mostly spent chasing down the Militia’s ominously Southern-accented leader, a man named Bertrand, as his limo sped through the streets of New Marais. After dispatching a few Militia goons and leaping onto the limo’s roof, Cole was bowled over onto the street by a low-flying helicopter gunship.

Once he’d recovered, he was forced to flee toward the camera, in a very Uncharted-style moment, as the chopper tore up the street behind him with machinegun fire and missiles. Once he’d sprinted to safety, however, he turned around and launched a massive Ionic Vortex at the chopper, which brought crashing down to Earth.

The gunship’s destruction didn’t seem to faze Bertrand one bit, however. After having exited the limo at some point, the old man – wearing a red longcoat that seemed awfully flamboyant for a redneck-military type – stood in the middle of the street and silently regarded Cole while puffing on a cigar. Then, without a word, he turned and walked into the expanding dust cloud Cole created with the Ionic Vortex, as some unseen, nearby monster roared and shook the ground.

Seconds later, a hapless civilian ran out of the dust cloud and tripped, only to have a clawed tentacle erupt from the cloud and yank him, screaming, back in. As the beast roared, its lumpy silhouette became visible over the top of the cloud, prompting Cole to look up and sigh, “It is always something!” before the demo ended.

While there weren’t any present in the demo, we’re told that the first game’s graphic novel-style cutscenes will make a return when the game ships sometime in 2011. Also making a comeback are the moral decisions, although Sucker Punch isn’t yet revealing what they’ll be like or how they’ll work; just that they’ll be important. The devs also aren’t revealing whether there’s a “canon” ending to the first game, or whether you’ll be able to carry over your good/bad decisions and powers from InFamous to InFamous 2 (although from the way they were talking about it, both seem like strong possibilities).

And, yes, Zeke is returning as well. Fox said that some players found Cole’s fat, amoral sidekick (who tries to upstage and eventually betrays Cole) so irritating, they begged for him to be messily executed in the sequel – which, judging by the way Fox was talking about it, might be a possibility. However, Fox says he’ll be a more helpful, less annoying presence this time around, as he lets Cole call the shots and tries to atone for his sins in the last game.

Hey, if nothing else, he’s the one who designs Cole’s new fight-stick near the beginning of the game; that alone should win him a few points.

InFamous 2 is still about a year away, but the demo already has us interested. We weren’t huge fans of actually playing the first game, but its mythos was intriguing, and it showed a lot of potential to be something really interesting. InFamous 2 looks poised to tap that potential, and after our first brief taste, we’re excited to play more.

June 18, 2010

Mikel Reparaz
After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.