Infamous 2 Hands-On Preview

We face internal conflict between good and evil and take down glowing nipple beasts in our latest look at Sony's superhero sequel.

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Establishing a new brand is always risky business, but if your product weathers the storm and comes out the other side, then you gain the opportunity to forge ahead without the constraints of your original concept. This became Infamous developer Sucker Punch's mantra when it began work on the follow-up to its 2009 open-world game. To do this, it recognised it needed to grow both the characters and the world that they inhabit with physically larger monsters, better visual effects, and, for the first time, user-generated content.

The studio admitted during its presentation that it hopes it is building the next "game of the year." Unfortunately though, since there's no specific checklist to follow to raise a good game to the level of greatness, they're building the game they want to play. In doing so, the team is taking everything people loved about the original and then jamming its finger into the power socket and cranking up the juice.

Our demo was split into three parts: a boss encounter with the Behemoth, a game of hide the shards with Zeke, and a small taste of some of the content you'll be able to create with the user-generated content tools. With a couple of obvious exceptions during key story moments, Infamous was largely a game played at the grunt level. As an origin story, it followed Cole as he came to grips with his new and, at times, frightening powers. This included lashing out at something bigger and meaner than himself, but for the most part players took on groups of similarly armoured and skilled soldiers. Infamous 2 marks a turning point and sees Cole ditch the long sleeves of his courier jacket to show off tattooed arms. With this newfound confidence comes the chance to tackle new and even larger enemies.

The demo began with Cole arriving at the scene of a downed helicopter in the middle of the city. Searching inside, he muttered aloud that he was searching for an old man, though it remains unclear whether he's referring to new antagonist Bertrand--the leader of a local anti-deviant militia group--or Alden from the original game. Regardless, there seemed to be a venomous edge to Cole's speech, suggesting that perhaps this was less a rescue mission and more an operation to get even.

The end of the cutscene threw us straight into the world, and we stood facing a wide street lined by stout buildings draped in red party lighting. As we followed the star marker on our minimap towards suspicious-looking smoke plumes, a thunderous roar echoed through the cement gauntlet. A few more steps forward, the head of a giant bipedal reared its head and came into view. Even packing superpowers, it didn't seem like a good idea to kick it in the shin, and we turned to run for our life. The ambling beast was foolish enough to give us a glimpse at its numerous weak spots, revealing two pinkish glowing points on its chest before shuttering its ribcage to protect the goods. As we backed up it bellowed again, spitting phlegmy globs and giving us a chance to shoot it in the tongue. The dance continued through the streets--it lumbered ever closer while we did our best to return fire as we avoided the exploding cars around us.

Enemy militia put aside their differences for a moment, joining forces under a common enemy and rushing to fire at the creature by our side. The support was short-lived though, as the group was swatted away like flies at a barbeque by mutated humanoids (not unlike Dead Space necromorphs) that also joined the fray.

While melee attacks were functional in Infamous, they've become a more crucial element in the sequel, with Cole using a cattle prod to clobber anything and everything that comes within swinging range. Basic attacks can be combined with fancier execution moves, which are performed by tapping the triangle button when you've built up enough in your meter. These finishers are bone-crunching thumps, some in slow motion and most ending with the release of an electrical discharge that stuns nearby foes. Putting the stragglers to sleep with our justice stick, we turned our attention back to the monster destroying the city, shooting at exposed parts of its body as it muscled through buildings that impeded its path.

Where previously changes in colour from blue to red were your best indication of whether your attacks were doing damage, boss fights will now include health bars. A final volley of electricity from our fingertips smote the beast, but faded to white before we could bask in the glory of our kill.

While the first part of our demo put us in control of good karmic powers, providing fast, accurate bolts, the second arena was all about bad Cole. Dropping in, we jumped on the radio with old pal Zeke, who sent us searching for blast shards in a warehouse. Our only vague hint on their location was that they were being stored inside a box stamped with the militia's insignia. Anything wooden became fair game as we unleashed our dark side, and once we had found the specific crate and cracked a safe by zapping it, we then had the task of finding more just like them in other warehouses in the area. Of course, rather than let us simply waltz in and take their goodies, bad guys showed up to stop us. We were merciless as we tore them limb from limb, lobbing clustered energy grenades at anything moving and in the process removing the protective sheet metal covering the walls that had protected us from incoming gunfire.

Our mission ended with us dealing a final, killing blow to a large elemental ice creature who was brought around to our way of thinking by destroying its limbs one at a time. Stepping over the body to a waiting safe, we opened it to find not only blast shards, but also Bertrand's briefcase. What could be inside? The secret to Cole's past? An amazing tofu dessert recipe? We're going to have to wait and see.

The third and final section of our demo was a look at user-generated content and how it will be integrated into the game. Taking a page out of fellow PlayStation-exclusive title Little Big Planet 2, Infamous 2 will include a robust creation tool for building and sharing original missions. UGC levels will appear automatically in the game for players and act like normal side quests, marked on the minimap with a green icon. Accepting one plopped us on a rooftop, asking us to collect a giant coin and showing its influences, populating the sky above with orderly rows of the same enemies that had chased us when we fought the Behemoth. Our job was to shoot them down as they scrolled back and forth, dropping a line every so often. Floating bonus asteroids could be destroyed to slow their speed temporarily, making it much easier when used alongside Cole's rapid-fire energy shots. Successfully completing the mission rewarded us with a score (and can grant experience points) but didn't appear to offer much by way of comparing our score against other players. Nevertheless, it was an interesting diversion from the usual building climbing and wrestling with hobos.

Regardless of the type of content we took on in our session, one thing was abundantly clear: Cole has come to terms with his special skills on both ends of the moral compass. Running felt faster, hovering was much more effective when leaping from one rooftop to another, and weapons were exact and deadly. Through Cole, Infamous 2 unabashedly revels in its newfound power, and we're eager to play more and continue the story. Keep an eye out for more as the title approaches its June 7 North American release date on the PlayStation 3.

Discussion

75 comments
ohiostatedog
ohiostatedog

@ gawthy - Infamous 2 does look pretty beast, but Uncharted 3 will give it a run for its money.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

A lot to look forward to with this sequel!

egyptian2388
egyptian2388

This game's gonna be completely awesome!!

gawthy
gawthy

Why is there always one idiot who hates a game so much they have to write how its a take off of this and looks the same as first. Your comments are worthless. Infamous 2 looks great and could get GOTY.

mammoth592
mammoth592

this looks much better than the first one, can't wait

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

infamous 1 was AMAZING, this game.... even more EPIC!!! xD can't wait....a must get game for the ps3 to put it simply... LoL

GunnyHath
GunnyHath

Looks good. I didn't see any nipples though :P

gostrider373
gostrider373

cant wait! loved the first game. this one looks way better

meedokicky
meedokicky

like that girl in the first trailer said, "yeah baby!" 8)

gamesrok345
gamesrok345

its gonna be so awesome! its look better than the first game i'm glad we have some help in this game whether we're good or bad! by that i mean ice girl and fire girl

hitechgraphs
hitechgraphs

I didn't see the big monsters until now.Wow.

Kratos_Kills
Kratos_Kills

it looks better than the first game which was great.if its was story was handled more seriously ( comic style was good but obviously the developer was afraid to bore players so they impleted story lightly ), it would be better than many many games. the gameplay was great but now with these videos and level-maker option this game will be greater than ever i hope.

inso-maniac
inso-maniac

looks cool i hope u get to play as the ice girl later on

Dice2119
Dice2119

looks ok. Kinda sketchy about it though

xXBiGMaC94Xx
xXBiGMaC94Xx

looking forward to this, first one was good but with the new improvement's this one could end up in a different league

JoeTheBest01
JoeTheBest01

You know, at first, I was sketchy about that hammer thing, but after watching it in action, it looks pretty sick. Now I have to go find my copy of the first one and beat it all over again to prepare for the epicness of #2.

grim0187
grim0187

Never played the first one. Need to get that and this.

MacBeth96
MacBeth96

I loved the first one, Infamous 2 looks even better! Love the new Cole look too!

aramsley
aramsley

I loved infamous and even if this is just infamous with a few changes it will still be amazing. I cant wait to discover all his new powers just like in the first one. It felt so great when all of a sudden you could lay waste to your puny opponents with your new-found power. The ice and supposed fire powers look cool too!

wizdome1
wizdome1

So glad that they got rid of that Backstreet boy style Cole and re-developed him to resemble the original Cole of the first game!

davidsworld3
davidsworld3

This just looks more like the first game...more like a glorified expansion...I'm gonna rent it but dont see it really being worth the 60 bucks. I didn't like how you got only 2 choices very linear. Notice the guy really basically said it's more or less like the last game just added enemies and abilities. It's not like an epic update both graphically and in story. these huge monsters...Really dont hit me right, I mean it's ok but just seems silly to me. I know it's more or less a sci fy game but the big enemies just dont sit right with me. I like how the last game the boss was a future version of you that was actually interesting now it's just a heres some monsters to test your abilities....I'm just gonna pass on this.

Pete5506
Pete5506

Sounds like its shaping up to be a pretty great game

1penance1
1penance1

@cooleo123 yeah he has some fire powers, but at the same time the evil electricity is really really orange so it looks like fire

cooleo123
cooleo123

is that fire he was using???

cabbage100
cabbage100

Am I the only one who thinks an unlockable Sly Cooper sin would work perfectly?

marlobc
marlobc

i loved Cole more from infamous,but this looks promising.Cant wait!

Gabe_Logan_666
Gabe_Logan_666

I thought the title of the article said glowing nipple breasts :/

MudkipMaster1
MudkipMaster1

How did the monsters come to be anyway? I mean they just appear out of now where and start attacking people!

plaintomato
plaintomato

I just read this because it promised glowing nipple beasts. This article isn't about glowing nipple beasts. WTFUw/dat?

ziproy
ziproy

I don't like how they added monsters.

Doomrul
Doomrul

New trend after Little Big Planet (PS 3 Exclusive as usual) ROCKED THE WORLD with "USER CREATED" Content.After sickening "Multiplayer" Abuse of game developers like Blizzard and EA , now a new era starts : "Buy this game and COMPLETE it , because we can't be arsed to!"

awheaten
awheaten

I will make this prediction, GameXboxSpot will give this game a 7.5. I wish Anon shuts down this sites servers for giving this game a weak score. Pathetic!

Frimmel
Frimmel

So is the melee some sort of combo system or a chain system? How do you build up this meter that was mentioned?

Andy9Beans
Andy9Beans

@taouin Gamespot got paid to promote Homefront... and then gave it 7.5. I whinged about the preferential treatment and Guy Cocker contacted me to outline how the review scores are calculated. They're actually very objective about it so I'd wait to see how Infamous 2 fares. @sleepnsurf Stop trolling, if you didn't like the first and have already pre-judged the sequel then do yourself and us a favour and stop following it. The first game was really fun, yeah the blast shards took a bit of grinding and the mission types were a bit predictable but at least Sucker Punch have realised and addressed this with UGC. With the earlier coverage of the sequel I was a little concerned about the "cutesy" character modelling. However I've realised from last week's trailer that where #1 had "realistic" modelling and "comic" cutscenes, they've tried to bring both closer together for #2. Forget DCU Online (most people already have), Infamous 2's going to be the superhero game of 2011!

IRoxxorUrSoxxor
IRoxxorUrSoxxor

This man is very clever. His vision sounds like something you'd actually want.

annoyingdevil
annoyingdevil

The first game was good but the charachters looked horrible the charachters are good in this 1 tho (:

sul6an-g
sul6an-g

i play the first one and its was freaking aswome but i hope change the idea of the enmie cuz in the first one there was alot of enemie in the city but how ever this ONE is ASWOME!!!!!!!

punu40
punu40

Loved the first, will like the second I presume.

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Hated the first, wont like the second I presume.

taouin
taouin

will probably get a 9.5 since Gamespot got paid for advertising

Prinze
Prinze

Cool stuff, I can't wait for the Hero Edition! : )