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InFamous 2 – hands-on with giant monsters and user-generated missions

Back during the Game Developers Conference in March, developer Sucker Punch revealed a secret it had been holding back for years: InFamous 2, while still retaining its open-world, story-driven structure, will introduce tools for users to create and share their own custom missions within the game world. It’s an interesting idea to shoehorn into a sandbox game, and during a press event in Seattle Monday night, we finally got a chance to test-drive the creation tools for ourselves – as well as to go head-to-head with some of the new enemies electrically charged hero Cole MacGrath will face in the sequel.

Some of those enemies will be on the huge side; the first mission we played pitted Cole against a massive, city-stomping boss called The Behemoth, which looked like a giant purple dust mite by way of Lost Planet. As the beast lumbered through the streets of New Marais, smashing buildings and slobbering noxious green goo everywhere, it quickly became apparent that there was only one way to stop it: aim for the glowing pink orb that appeared every time it opened its mouth.

Of course, it couldn’t just be that simple. While hanging back and pounding its weak point with Cole’s lightning bolts did some damage at first, that became a lot more difficult when it hordes of man-sized swamp monsters started swarming out of the ground to attack us. It didn’t take long for the fight to devolve into absolute chaos, as monsters popped up from everywhere and formerly hostile Militia goons focused their fire on the Behemoth. Every time we got clear enough to draw a bead on the giant monster ourselves, it roared, an act that sent every car and being in its path – Cole included – flying.

In spite of the mess, we were eventually able to extinguish the glowing orb in its mouth (Cole’s lightning rockets, returning from the first game, helped a lot). At that point, however, it dug its arms into the street and braced to attack, revealing two more glowing orbs on its elbows. And no sooner had we targeted those than it opened its jaw-like chest, grabbed Cole with a tentacle and started dragging him inward – something that revealed two more weak points, which we were free to blast as it pulled Cole in.

Once we’d blown out all its weak points (some more than once), the fiend disappeared in an explosion of green smoke – and it was time to move on to the next portion of the demo, a mission called Forced Conduits. Set in a previously unseen, industrial part of New Marais called the Gasworks, it introduced us to a shady-looking group of soldiers with ice powers, who seemed to be there specifically to interfere with Cole’s search for a Blast Core (an artifact Cole – or the soldiers – could use to unlock new powers).

They were a slippery bunch, too. As we searched for the Blast Core by smashing through semi-hidden, Militia-branded crates in a series of warehouses (always fun), they’d show up periodically to take potshots at Cole – and just when we’d drawn a bead on them, they’d take a flying leap out of range, leaving only a jagged hunk of ice where they’d just been standing.

Luckily, we faced them as Evil Cole, with some interesting new powers activated. The old sticky grenades, while great, were replaced by a sort of cluster bomb that scattered tiny explosives in a wide radius, making it hard for the ice soldiers to slip away. Cole’s normal rockets were replaced by bolo-like projectiles that were hard to sidestep, and whenever we tried to lift a car with telekinesis – one of Cole’s best new powers – he instead rocketed forward several dozen feet in a black cloud, which turned out to be useful as both an attack and a quick way of getting around. (It also came in handy when, at one point, the Militia sealed off a warehouse Cole was in and filled it with toxic gas, at which point we climbed up and rocketed out of a skylight.)

Our newfound sense of superiority didn’t last long, as it quickly turned out the ice soldiers were assisted with big, charging ice brutes, who could soak up a lot of punishment and would knock us down whenever we tried to go toe-to-toe with them. But they were nothing, we soon learned, next to the Ice Titan, a hulking monster who appeared at the end of the mission, after Cole had finally uncovered the crate containing the Blast Core.

The Titan made a pretty big entrance, and he looked intimidating – but he quickly turned out to be a pushover. As it turns out, throwing everything Cole had at the Titan’s arms made them fall off, at which point the Titan slumped helplessly – and a button prompt appeared in front of it. When we hit it, Cole leapt onto the monster’s face and jammed his amp into a fissure in the ice, at which point we were prompted to mash Square to pry a chunk loose. Its face revealed, the monster re-grew its arms and attacked again – at which point we just lobbed rockets at its face until it keeled over.

Once the Ice Titan was finally out of commission, we were free to dive into InFamous 2’s content generator. However, before we were actually handed the reins (and had them carefully explained to us), we were invited to try out three short examples of what could be done within the mission creator.

Once the Ice Titan was finally out of commission, we were free to dive into InFamous 2’s content generator. However, before we were actually handed the reins (and had them carefully explained to us), we were invited to try out three short examples of what could be done within the mission creator.

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.