TGS 2008: Infamous Updated Impressions

When the studio that brought the world Sly Cooper showed off the latest version of its upcoming take on the superhero genre, we couldn't resist swooping in.

TOKYO--Having caught a glimpse of Infamous at E3 and having instantly nominated it as one of the top action adventure games on show, we jumped at the chance to see a little more of this open-world superpowered endeavour from Sony. To recap: You play as a character called Cole, who was the lone survivor of a mysterious explosion that vaporised everyone in a six-block radius and who now finds himself with electrical superpowers. In response to the strange goings-on in Empire City, the government has apparently imposed a quarantine order and fenced off the entire place.

Empire City just got a whole lot more dangerous.

The story plays out in a graphic-novel-inspired world with very stylised cutscenes that move the story along. The idea of these is to tell the story in as efficient and interesting a way as possible to avoid "just mashing X" when you get back to the game itself, according to the the game's director.

This stylised look isn't limited to the cutscenes, either--the whole game has a slightly edgy, stylised feel to it. This doesn't make it feel cartoony but rather lends it something of a Frank Miller air of grit and edginess.

So, you are Cole, trying to make your way through Empire City, with the entire city as your playground. While there are story-led missions, the world is yours to explore as you will in a way that we've really not seen before. The game's developers assure us that anything that looks climbable is, and the world appears to be filled with all manner of items ripe for destruction and repurpousing, as well as a populace defenceless against both you and the reapers, the game's main antagonists--at least initially.

The mission shown at TGS is called Blood Trail. The main part of it kicks off when you find the corpse of the wife of the man you were sent to find. This triggers one of your newfound abilities, which we are assured will play a significant part in the game as a whole--that of postcognition. This lets you, by means of interacting with the residual electromagnetic impulses in the brain, tap into a person's final moments and the happenings around that time. In this instance you get a brief flashback to the woman's death, in which you see her husband flee the scene after they are set upon by the aforementioned reapers. Dropping out of the flashback sequence you see a trace of the husband fleeing along the route seen in the flashback. You're instructed to pursue, and a few fights ensue.

Combat looks very interesting indeed. Normal weapons are out of the question due to the lack of control that Cole has over some of his newfound abilities, but they are replaced by an array of different EM-themed attacks. An electrical grenade, for example, is a ball of energy that sticks to enemies and blows up as you might expect. Then there are more traditional electrification attacks, which can be used to idly torture passersby (if you're inclined that way, but more on that later), and the TK pulse, which sends a massive shock wave through the air that can toss obstacles out of the way. We're not just talking bits of garbage, either. A properly placed pulse tosses cars up into the air and can be a very valuable weapon in your arsenal if you get in a tight spot.

The environment can help you in other ways, too. Cole can climb seemingly anything, from walls to lampposts, but the enemies' climbing skills are rather more limited. So he can, for example, scramble up a pole and fling lightning at approaching enemies to thin them out before engaging them on the ground, or he can just rearrange the street furniture from on high to reset the battlefield to his advantage.

"Because it is there."

This type of cunning came into play later on in our demo as the enemies got tougher and we came across an elite reaper--one of the bad guys, who have been imbued with superpowers. The brief, full-on fight between Cole and this elite reaper was probably the highlight of the demo, showcasing the versatility of the combat and the superficial destructibility of the environment. Even more-excessive battles are promised, in the form of fights against the leaders of the various reaper factions, who reputedly have a combination of all the superpowers of the reapers under their command.

One thing that looks set to define Infamous is the level of freedom you have. It's possible to be reckless, cruel, and downright manic (we are assured that given suitable sadism, the people of the city will flee at the sight of you) and take the city that way, while taking your powers down a dark and destructive route. It's also possible to go down a friendlier route, using your powers to take out only the bad guys and taking time out to heal innocent bystanders who happen to get caught in the crossfire. If you go down this path, not only will your powers develop differently, but the police will start to come out of the woodwork and fight alongside you. The people of the city will adore you, and the look of the city will even improve as people begin to feel more hopeful for the future.

While we didn't get to see the deep morality system this time, or indeed the evolution of powers with it, we were assured those features would be on display soon, as would some new powers that make traversal of Empire City even easier. We'll keep you posted, so watch this space.

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Discussion

60 comments
maverick_76
maverick_76

Man this can be really good, but the gameplay and story must be top-notch of course.

Pwnd56
Pwnd56

I'll buy a Ps3 for this!!

mcshorty73
mcshorty73

when are we ever going to hear more about this game. I can't wait and all i do is research the game i can't wait for it!!!!!!!!!

funsohng
funsohng

wow this actually looks great

higheclipse
higheclipse

super freedom, superpowers, good or bad choices...can't wait

HiroNakamaru
HiroNakamaru

ahhh cant wait fot this game looks mad!!!!!

Molezzi
Molezzi

I agree, Assassins creed was very repetitve. this games looks SWEET!!! Cant wait for another video to come out!

slyfan_08
slyfan_08

cant wait to get it! and the problem w/assassins creed was it was too repetitive, or at least thats what i think. And hardnips... what was wrong w/sly? i love sly... its my fav. platformer series.

rebekah101
rebekah101

I love how this game is only going to be on PS3. =)

perrito59
perrito59

This one looks very promising. On a game like this though you how it will turn out until it is in stores

GIF
GIF

I cannot wait for this game. I hope its well made and at least as fun to play in as Crackdown, Saints Row and Grand Theft Auto 4. Bring on the sandbox games I say!

GameFreakJason
GameFreakJason

I wasn't too interested in this game, and I am not a big fan of superhero games, but since this isn't based off a movie in the hopes of a cheap cash-in, and since the developers are trustworthy and hardworking people, I am expecting this game to be very good. Sony really needs the 1st party support and this game looks like its their to help the PS3.

Solid_Azeus
Solid_Azeus

it's ps3 exclusive. excited. however i sense doom on this one. wonder if it gonna be like assassins creed cole=altair with electric powers?

GodsPoison
GodsPoison

Been watching this one for quite some time now, just a little bit longer and we'll see if the patience i as well as many others have exumed will pay off.

tiamat555
tiamat555

If Cole climbs, leaps and clings like Sly I am already sold. It is interesting that he is not just another idiot with a gun like in Crackdown or a life sucking parasite like the guy in Prototype is. Instead he is an innocent guy who was given a bum wrap and has to find has own way. His power reminds me of Magneto's power where he can manipulate it in many different ways. Imagine leaping up to a sweet vantage point and unleashing a storm of lightning that sends everything and everyone flying. Sends shivers down my spine. I trust Sucker Punch because they gave me one of the best stealth-action game ever that didn't star some disgruntled guy doing work for the government.

nsmnpc5000
nsmnpc5000

I don't understand how people wouldn't be in the least bit excited for this game. I understand that it just may not be everybody's proverbial cup of tea, but to write this game off because of the inherent abilities of the protagonist's and for superpowers is ridiculous.

Yes, Crackdown featured a character who basically evolved into the Incredible Hulk and Prototype will also feature a character with the potential for superpowerdom, albeit through a very different means than the Infamous protagonist. The fact that these games either already do or will eventually exist should in no way preclude one from seeing the immense potential for fun that lay within Infamous. There is room for more than one superhero/villain game on our favorite systems, as long as they do enough to differentiate themselves, and Infamous seems to be doing fairly well at separating itself from the crowd.

Search_for_Vali
Search_for_Vali

Infamous is really on my Most Wanted List. I hope it turns out ok. Nevertheless I`ll give it a try.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

I'm excited for this. I have to give props to Sucker Punch. They could have easily made another Sly Cooper installment and I would have been fine with that. Instead, they decided to create a new IP that is coming along really well. I wish other development studios would do that.

Sokol4ever
Sokol4ever

Interesting, something to keep a watch on.

kobebryantyanic
kobebryantyanic

Nice to see, some change in style in games. Hope this comes out right after resident evil 5, this should be an entertaining game.

Crusader-Z
Crusader-Z

hope you could also customize this dude....open-world w/ powers....sounds like Prototype,too....Oh man,Sony should get back on their toes because MS is owning them w/ exclusives...

Red_Dawn345
Red_Dawn345

Cool,I hope it turns out to have a good open world system

gamerkiduri
gamerkiduri

this game is gonna rule but i still want a new sly game!

R1ncew1nd16
R1ncew1nd16

Looks good so far. @ tevic, you can't drive a car in this but with all the super powers it hopefully won't matter.

HaRdNiPs
HaRdNiPs

this game is going to be awesome and thank god sucker punch didn't stick with sly and this game will raise the ps3 statis.

axelviiii
axelviiii

Sucker Punch has yet to fail me and it's looking like that record will not be tainted anytime soon (or whenever this comes out).

auron_16
auron_16

i want to ride the lightning too.

auron_16
auron_16

i want to ride the lightning too.

Pirple
Pirple

im going to get it

Pirple
Pirple

im going to get it

ocdog45
ocdog45

that game is going to be tight.

Supericano2
Supericano2

@ Nike_Air damn you said it before I could

Nike_Air
Nike_Air

I want to ride the lightning

king_bobo
king_bobo

Wow. This is going to be great, but I still want to know about the internally-developed Sony games. Is it true that there's no Sony press conference?