NYCC Hands-On Preview: inFamous 2

By Pete Haas 2010-10-09 15:18:47 discussion comments
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Somewhere between inFamous and inFamous 2, Cole McGrath bought a cattle prod. It's an odd purchase for an urban super hero but his electricity-based powers make it a deadly weapon. Cole's new electro-bat was the focus of the first part of my hands-on demo. Monsters with bladed arms and torn mouths have ambushed Cole and he must fight them off all by his lonesome.

In the first game, melee was a last resort. Most enemies had guns and you'd be half-dead from their gunfire by the time you got close enough to pummel them. In inFamous 2, though, you're expected to get in close and personal. These monster seem to shrug off Cole's normal electric bolt attacks so you really need to rely on your cattle prod to take them out. A more superficial reason to use the cattleprod is that it looks awesome. I did a baseball slide under one enemy, sending him flying into the air. I spun and, before the monster hit the ground, smashed him like a baseball. The game slowed down during this takedown so I could appreciate the visuals.

Cole's melee takedowns aren't the only visual improvement. inFamous 2 takes place in a city called New Marais, inspired by New Orleans. In the next segment of the demo, Cole chased a limo through a neighborhood resembling the French Quarter. The original inFamous's setting, Empire City, was somewhat generic and it's nice to now be in a more distinctive city. It's more conducive to the exploration typical of sandbox games.

There was no time to exploring in the demo, though. I had a limo to catch. It was too fast for Cole to catch on foot but thankfully he's retained his ability to skate along power lines. inFamous 2 isn't going to employ some God of War-esque "oops, I lost all of my powers" gimmick; you'll start off with more power than you had at the beginning of the original game. You'll gain new tricks as well. For example, Cole can now grind along the sides of certain buildings.

An even more impressive power was revealed moments later. After catching up to the limo, I was attacked by a helicopter. After I dodged the chopper's opening barrage of gunfire, the game prompted me to use a new cyclone ability. At the push of a button, Cole tossed a massive, electrified tornado that ripped the helicopter from the sky. To ensure I appreciated the awesomeness of the new power, the game asked me to tear apart the nearby neighborhood with a few more cyclones. These tornados suck up cars, people, and other objects and propels them forward while an accompanying electric storm causes nearby lights to spark and explode. I imagine this is going to be your ultimate nuke ability.

After I had thoroughly trashed the neighborhood, the demo ended. A lot of questions remain. I'd love to know how the morality system and side missions have changed, as those were two weaker points from the first game. I like the ingredients on display in this demo, though. Vicious new enemies, a beautiful city, a cattle prod, and electrified tornadoes aren't enough to sell me on the game completely but they've gotten my attention.
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