What Shall You Do?
The original Infamous represented something of a rarity in videogames – a brand new, original franchise that was somehow able to earn both critical acclaim and commercial success despite strong competition from other titles. The game saw lowly courier Cole McGrath transformed into a lightning-hurling superman ready to save (or abuse) the residents of Empire City, and weaved the action into a comic-book style story involving monsters, superpowers, and time travel.
This year the popular open-world title will get a sequel, giving Cole the chance to evolve devastating new lightning-based powers as he takes on the monstrous new enemies in new locales. As a result of the time-tampering of villain Kessler in the first game, the world-destroying “Beast” has emerged much sooner than expected, forcing Cole from Empire City. Arriving in New Marais, a city based on New Orleans, Cole must learn more about the “Ray Sphere” device that gave him his abilities, and further grow his powers before the inevitable confrontation with the Beast.
But getting torn limb from limb by the Beast isn’t all our hero has to worry about – he’ll also have to deal with the Corrupted, mutated shambling zombies, and the Militia, ruthless vigilantes who are none too fond of superpowers or those who wield them. As New Marais is apparently the place where the Ray Sphere was constructed, we can expect Infamous 2 to delve further into the backstory of Cole, his powers, and the mysterious First Sons responsible for creating the Ray Sphere.
Infamous was a game set apart by its creative use of superpowers, and the sequel looks set to continue this trend with some truly epic additions to Cole’s arsenal. First, he’s more mobile than ever, using his electrical abilities to launch directly upwards and glide through the air. And as in the first game, Cole possesses the Spider-Man-like ability to tether himself to buildings and lamp-posts and slide across power lines.
While many of Cole’s offensive powers have been kept under wraps, the most devastating new ability shown so far is known as “Ionic Vortex.” This allows Cole to summon up a gigantic electrical vortex capable of decimating enemies and tearing apart environments. Other new powers include the ability to hurl around objects like cars using powerful electromagnetic fields.
Infamous’ karma system also makes a return in the sequel, with positive and negative karma being personified by two new characters – the squeaky-clean NSA agent Kuo and the vengeance-driven mercenary Nix. As the game progresses, Cole’s karma and decisions will determine which of the two he becomes closer to.
Sucker Punch Studios is also upping the ante in graphics this time around. The developer’s Communications Director, Ken Schram, recently said that they were aiming to beat Uncharted 2’s visual quality, and recent screenshots from the game would certainly seem to back up those claims. Environments are larger and more dynamic, and particle effects from lightning bolts and explosions look better than ever.
While there have been rumors of support for multiplayer, co-op, and PlayStation Move in Infamous 2, none have been officially confirmed by Sucker Punch, and at this late stage in the development cycle, it’s likely that gamers will have to make do with a single-player, controller-driven game. However this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if it means that more development time is spent polishing the single-player experience. We look forward to checking out the next chapter in Cole’s story – and playing with dangerous amounts of electricity – when Infamous 2 lands this June.