Infamous 2 Updated Hands-On Preview: Be Good? Or Bad?

We get an exclusive look at a new mission in Infamous 2 and get a peek at the second island.

Sucker Punch Productions' upcoming Infamous 2 follows the continuing adventures of unlikely hero Cole MacGrath. The anticipated PlayStation 3 sequel sees the electrically empowered bike messenger finding his legs as a hero (or as a jerk, depending on the choices you make in the game) and traveling to new places. To date, we've seen how Sucker Punch has worked to improve the game's visuals, refined its gameplay, and added a new user-generated content system. However, we haven't gone too deep into the game's choice-based karma system, or into the other locales Cole will visit in his new adventure. We remedied that on a recent trip to Sucker Punch's Seattle offices, where we got the opportunity to play through a new mission from two different karma perspectives and to tool around the game's second island in an updated version of the game.

Our first order of business was to try a new mission set on the first island. Our last preview detailed Cole's raid on a militia stronghold, and if you were wondering how he gets help for the attack, the mission shows how he galvanizes everyone. More importantly, the mission showcases the significant impact of your karma choices. The mission opens with Cole and his sidekick, Zeke, on a rooftop, along with his new ladyfriends, Nix and Kuo. The conversation turns to Cole's need for manpower to pull off the assault, at which point Nix and Kuo offer suggestions, including the idea of involving the rebel forces led by a man named LaRoche. Each of the ladies offers a potential solution that is clearly tied to a karmic choice that fairly well smacks you over the head (especially given each character's color scheme and physical appearance).

The fire-empowered Nix suggests manipulating LaRoche by fooling him into thinking she's a dastardly militia officer manning a turret and then opening fire on the rebels. This course of action would let Cole swoop in to stop the turret and apparently save the day, while also increasing the rebels' anger toward their enemies, the hated militia. Yep, it's as shady as it sounds. On the flip side, ice-powered Kuo offers a more benevolent approach and suggests they take medicine to LaRoche's forces to help deal with a plague making its way through the population. She suggests that the act of kindness will win LaRoche over and lead him to support the assault. The options present themselves in the sequel's new cinematic view as both of the ladies make their case. As before, you have to pick a course of action before heading out, but again, the game makes the choice between good-karma decisions and bad-karma decisions extremely clear. In addition to color-coded text on the choice, Nix and Kuo come across as obviously "bad" and "good" in the sequence. Nix's outfit, powers, and undignified flirting with Cole indicate that she's trouble. On the other hand, Kuo's outfit, powers, and levelheaded demeanor clearly make her the safe choice.

Since we like trouble, we chose to follow Nix's advice. After we gave her the word, she dressed up as a member of the militia and jumped into the aforementioned rooftop turret, at which point we took control of said turret and opened fire with the intent of hitting as many of LaRoche's people as possible. Once the body count was high enough, we were able to play as Cole and zap her to give the appearance of helping LaRoche's men. As expected, both LaRoche and his men were irritated at being shot at by what they saw to be militia forces and were all too eager to dole out some payback.

The superpowered bike messenger Cole McGrath returns for his next adventure in Infamous 2.

Following Kuo's advice and taking the "good" option is a lot more work and plays out entirely differently. You have to help her get a conveniently located and stocked ambulance over to LaRoche's people. This turns out to be quite the job since you get bombarded by various foes, humanoid and otherwise, that are all hell-bent on stopping you. Fortunately, since your main goal is to clear a path for the ambulance, you can avoid at least some direct combat. Better still, you're not stuck powering the ambulance (as you would have been in some of the original game's missions), so you have some leeway to run around and do your thing. However, you do need to keep an eye on the ambulance's health, so you can't run completely wild. There's an optional battle with a massive armored creature that takes some work to defeat--and it's definitely a satisfying victory--but you can also avoid this fight altogether if you're quick enough. Unfortunately, getting the ambulance doesn't immediately guarantee cooperation from LaRoche's people. Your safe arrival with the ambulance actually leads to a fight, since the rebels aren't happy to see Cole and Kuo. So, the two must dish out a little tough love to "persuade" the rebels to accept the gift. Once the brawl is over, everyone simmers down and decides to work together, which segues into the next part of the game--the assault on the militia base we've covered previously.

After trying both mission paths, we were impressed by how differently they played out. According to representatives from Sucker Punch, it appears that there will be entire sets of missions you won't see once you commit to a karma path. We're actually very happy to see the system work this way, because it guarantees new content for a second playthrough in addition to a different set of powers.

Our final run of new content was a look at an early part of the second island, named Flood Town. As you'd guess from the name, the town has seen better days. While we couldn't go very far in and check out any missions or user-generated content in the new locale, we were still able to walk around and get a sense of the area. We saw characters being terrorized by random thugs and many collectible shards lying around in random places. The first island's urban environments are definitely cool, but we were more excited to explore this new area. The landscape of Flood Town's first area is radically different from that of the first island. There are submerged houses connected by assorted power lines along which Cole can slide; more small islands to explore; and a jungle gym's worth of random things to hop on. The flatter landscape also lets you use some of Cole's other powers, such as the ice jump and phoenix dash, which offer alternate modes of locomotion that are key for navigating the unfriendly pools of water everywhere.

The world has been devastated, and it's up to Cole to help rebuild it…or to burn the rest of it to the ground.

In terms of visuals, Infamous 2 is a night-and-day upgrade over its predecessor. The sequel's graphics engine offers a face-lift to Cole's world that is nothing less than stunning. Despite the game's unfinished state, it looks fantastic. The increase in detail, both great and small, to the environment is impressive, and the introduction of cinematic camera angles helps showcase the improved visuals. But at the moment, what has caught our eye the most is the game's enhanced color palette and effects. There's a richness to the color and effects in Infamous 2 that is a huge improvement over the original game.

And so ends our tour through this latest work-in-progress version of Infamous 2. We have to say we're excited to get our hands on the final game. The game makes a good impression and is shaping up to be a vast improvement over its predecessor. The significant improvements to gameplay, graphics, and sound are impressive indeed. Infamous 2 is slated to ship this June for the PlayStation 3. Look for more on the game next week when we take a deeper look at Cole's expanded powers.

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186 comments
Latarax
Latarax

@AmongShadows u probably only got one thumbs up cuz fake accounts r allowed

acoolerfellow
acoolerfellow

i have a ps3 and xbox and a wii i love all the system and am lucky to have them id say it's just about who prefers what game. But im so pumped for cole and his new ice powers i just can't wait

opmeteor419
opmeteor419

anybody who things the 360 has better exclusives is either extremely misinformed or just has terrible taste in video games. all they have is like halo which really isnt that good at all and gears of war which is pretty sweet but killzone is way better. we infamous, uncharted, mgs, modnation, lbp, killzone, dc universe, gran turismo, and this list goes on.

ShadowofSonic
ShadowofSonic

'''It's like Christmas in June!!!''' Hellz yes.

Bastian2670
Bastian2670

June is going to be so awesome with Duke nukem, Infamous 2, ocarina of time 3d, Red faction, My wallet wont make it.

Nergil
Nergil

It's like Christmas in June!!!

eliebaz
eliebaz

Well another PS3 exclusive and i sure as hell am happy to be a PS3 owner. the game looks great and i can't wait also has a beta for uncharted 3 its going to be an amazing year for the PS3, sony will come out of the PSN outage strong and ready to produce yet again great systems and games sony systems for life :P

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@FamousCalibur I want to know what happened to Sony's secret game.. it was supposed to be announced at the TGS in 2008 for release in 2009 and a BBC reporter was apparently shown something that he said was 'revolutionary' and yet he was sworn to secrecy. The years have passed and there's still no word on this.. It was rumoured to be Heavy Rain but he denied it.. What bugs me is the fact we still don't know whether this game even came out, or more to the point whether it was just a marketing ploy. Either way though, if they're only using 60% of the PS3's power for infamous2, that still leaves a whole lotta potential. The PSN may be down, but the console itself is stronger than ever :D Woop!

SesameSeeds
SesameSeeds

havent played the first one cant wait to play it.just one question is he going to meet someone that has the same powers as him?

ownU4eva
ownU4eva

Infamous is a well produced game. The standard has gone even higher. Sony's AAA's are the benchmark at the moment and thats sad considering we need the competition so that better games are made.

Pandora_Explora
Pandora_Explora

ooooh god please just one more month no delays im so excited die fanboys.....whew....lol just kidding

Chet_Won
Chet_Won

I cant wait i loved the first one cant wait for the 2nd hope the psn is up by then so i can try the user created levels

MAG--256
MAG--256

they said when the development started they wanted the same affect uncharted 2 had over uncharted 1 polish/gameplay and story wise and seeing this i am a believer GOTY is coming out in june. infamous 2 has improved everything and than added new bells and whistles

CaliG123
CaliG123

Wow ,this looks really fun, gunna b sweeeeeeeeet

FamousCalibur
FamousCalibur

@warhawk-geeby i've read that they're only using 60% of the ps3's power, how insane is that! :D

Dominicobaggio
Dominicobaggio

Cant wait. loved the first one, just a question, who does the girl look like in the background picture as the video plays, she looks just like someone and i cant think who it is. Even down to the exact same haircut!

steveel2380
steveel2380

this is why i dont mind the PSN outage because of exclusive games like this...And besides battlefield 3 isn't out for awhile anyways.

SnonnieSnean
SnonnieSnean

dang i hoppe they fix the fricken flying thing were you can fly right past something and he wont grab it drove me crazy!

ImaPirate0202
ImaPirate0202

This game looks insane. Those behemoths are awesome.

Animal-Mother
Animal-Mother

man this game is gonna rock so hard. Infamous was a surprise hit and hopefully this takes it above and beyond.

aramsley
aramsley

People say this would be great on the XBOX but it just wouldn't. For one thing, I don't mean offense by this( I have an Xbox and I love it :D) but the graphics would be degraded a tad and the controls would not fit the remote. The triggers don't work well with a game like infamous. Sorry I guess you will just have to buy a ps3.

fabz_95
fabz_95

I'm on my second play-through in inFamous as a villain so I plan on treating inFamous 2 the same and playing it twice, the first time as a Hero.

Confessed4Life
Confessed4Life

This game looks awesome, can't wait till it comes out! :)

PS3fan4
PS3fan4

Can't wait for this game.

EmperorSupreme
EmperorSupreme

Can't wait for summer to start. Gameplay for Infamous2 is sounding really good.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@sleepnsurf Get out boy. I swear all you do is hate!!

samus_my_life
samus_my_life

hellz ( yeah ) guys nothing better than destroying cars and kills people yeaaah that what they call it (( dark side )), evil , bad , hell yeaaaah this game rule in storyline and bad character yeah :):):)

sleepnsurf
sleepnsurf

Good, Bad...they need to make it exciting unlike the first.

basbasa
basbasa

Can't wait for Prototype 2.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

Yeah the graphics was rusty and seem some what out dated in the first one so agreed that they need a praise..

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

This game looks quality, it's like a lot of games coming out now.. the more I see the more I want it. I liked the first one, it was good fun - however I did often feel it needed the graphics polishing a tad. This sequel looks like they've considered that option and multiplied it by 10, it looks beautiful. I know graphics ain't everything, but I think they need praise!

J-007
J-007

This should be more fun than 1st Prototype and the 1st Infamous, I am keen to get this 1, lets hope this will be a no failure for a high score. Duke Nukem forever will make these both a great combo on the similar schedule release date. Hail to the kings baby!

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

@drakkengoth I agree, it probably would do well.. but then that's the whole point of an exclusive.

Bashers79
Bashers79

@tes4eva Calm it down. Yes full metal is out of order, but saying he has gay intercourse with his Dad is a bit to much. May be you should take some of your own advice: I quote tes4eva "gain a little maturity before you comment with your stupidity".

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

I'm not here to start any beef but i really think this game would do well on xbox too, like masseffect, more people would get to enjoy it because i dont want to wait til 2012 for prototype2

itchyflop
itchyflop

@Tayar totally agree looks loads better

tes4eva
tes4eva

@discusthrower i agree with you, all games should be on one console, but alas, there not. alas, lol. anyway ps3 and xbox need to merge or ps3 and nintendo. but i garantee sony will be top dog. but only after pc.

tes4eva
tes4eva

@_full_metal_ wow you are so cool. not really. why not wait until your balls actually drop and you gain a little maturity before you comment with your stupidity. nobody cares about your stupid comments so yea. i get console fanboyism but your stupidity pushes it too far. why not get a job,earn some money for once in your pathetic life, and buy both or all three consoles. then instead of posting dumb comments you can actually possibly not be quite so stupid and quit relying on mommy and daddy. but not likely because your ignorant and love it in your rear. you take it from your dad and love it. whenever he busts you guzzel all of if and enjoy every last squirt of his warm ji22m.

joel_c17
joel_c17

Infamous 1 was awesome. this looks even better... GOTY confirmed :P

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

still need to play the first.... I always thought the good n evil stuff felt forced in this game but I'll have to see

Berkut666
Berkut666

I played the first one through 3 times. I have never done that before with any game. Cant wait.

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SIDEFX1
SIDEFX1

This really does look like fun. enjoyed the first game to the max and was great fun and this 2nd round over hyper intensifies it already from what i can see. I am looking forward to some lazy hourly nights sinking my time into playing this game, has a kinda retro feel to it too but playing infamous feels like a real game compared to other games being made these days.

Tayar
Tayar

Looks even more intense than the first one.....It's a must buy.

Kiri90
Kiri90

Need to play the first! Got it new for $10, but have not been able to get to it thanks to college. Regardless, I'll get Infamous 2 next month. It looks like it's shaping up to be a great game!

rustynailrdm
rustynailrdm

full metal is probably some chump that cant afford the ps3 hence why hes hating on it LOL poor kid....