Infamous 2 First Look

Sparks fly as electric superhero Cole returns in Infamous 2, and we've got some early details about this anticipated PS3 exclusive.

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In most game sequels involving people with superpowers, the lead character goes through some devastating event at the start where his powers are scaled back or stripped, forcing you to build up skills and abilities all over again. Not in Infamous 2. While there is a major event that sets protagonist Cole MacGrath back at the beginning of the game, developers from Sucker Punch Studio say you won't have to start from scratch. If Infamous tracked Cole's journey to becoming a superhero, then the sequel will track his journey to becoming a super-superhero, and from what we've seen of the game at E3 2010, this significant increase in power is one that fans will welcome.

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Before we go further, here's a spoiler warning: We'll be talking a little about the story of Infamous in this paragraph, so you best skip to the next one if you haven't finished (or played) that game. At the start of the sequel, Cole finally goes head-to-head with the mysterious, world-ending entity known as the Beast, which the time-traveling Kessler had gone into the past to prepare Cole for. But the fight does not go well, with Cole being defeated and realizing that despite his powers, he was still no match for his foe. So our hero (or villain, depending on your play style) heads to the New Orleans-inspired city of New Marais, the place where the Ray Sphere (the device that gave him his powers) was built, to see if he can get stronger.

Life for a superpowered being isn't easy in New Marais, however, because the city has been overrun by the Militia, a group of militants who hate any deviant humans. The group--led by the elderly Bertrand--had been striking up anti-deviant fever in the city, and our demo began at a rally where Bertrand was addressing a large group of people while flanked by heavily armed guards. In the crowd is a familiar face from the first game--the impressively side-burned Zeke--who shakes his head at the bile Bertrand is spewing. He's soon joined by Cole, who looks quite unfamiliar thanks to a significant character redesign. Instead of a yellow courier jacket and close-cropped haircut, Cole looks more like Nathan Drake, wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt exposing some serious ink on his arms.

As Bertrand speaks, some strange, humanoid creatures attack the rally. These creatures sport what looks like sharp claw-like appendages for arms and legs, and have gaping, sideways-opening mouths with plenty of sharp teeth. Cole leaps into action, and we were shown a new melee weapon that he'll be able to use in Infamous 2. According to Sucker Punch, the move to a heavier focus on melee came from wanting players to get closer to the action, with many of Cole's powers from the first game deemed much more range-focused. This new weapon--which looked like a giant tuning fork with electricity coursing along its two arms--allowed Cole to make some flashy moves, including one where he jammed the weapon around an enemy's neck and swung it around to deliver a huge, slow-motion finishing blow.

With the mutant-looking enemies taken care of, Cole turned his attention to Bertrand, who had fled in a limousine. Cole quickly gave chase, showing off several powers he had in the first game, including the ability to "slide" along electricity lines and hover for extended periods of time. He could also quickly make his way across some horizontal pipes, adding another layer of speed to his ability to quickly cover open ground. Cole's attack powers looked quite beefed up--his basic electrical bolt and shock grenade attacks seemed to do serious damage to enemies, and his shock rockets exploded with enough force to pick up cars and smash them into buildings. In fact, this showcased another new aspect of Infamous 2--greater destructibility in environments. The streets of New Marais that Cole was chasing Bertrand though contained plenty of large balconies on buildings, and these collapsed with plenty of impressive effects when cars were thrown into them.

Cole eventually catches up with Bertrand, landing on his car and threatening the old man with a close-range bolt through his open sunroof. Bertrand is unconcerned, however, and with good reason. A low swooping attack helicopter appears and knocks Cole off the car, before throwing some rockets at the rolling superhero. Cole manages to avoid the explosions, but the helicopter is already in the process of turning around and retargeting. Cole chooses this point to unleash a massive new power: joining his hands together, Cole creates a massive, multistory tornado infused with bolts of lightning, which travels down a narrow street, picking up cars and balconies in its wake and eventually taking out the chopper. That isn't the end of it, however. A gigantic, shadowy figure begins to emerge from the dust, throwing out a large tentacle that grabs a nearby pedestrian before dragging him screaming into the large dust cloud. Cole sighs and says, "It's always something," at which point the demo ended.

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With the official gameplay sneak peek over, the developers at Sucker Punch took the opportunity to reiterate a few key points: first, that the game was still a year or so away from shipping and that plenty of decisions still had to be finalized, including the final look for Cole; and second, that while the first game's morality system will definitely be making a return, no final determination has yet been made on whether how you finished the last game will affect the new title (that is, whether being a bad Cole or a good one will affect Infamous 2). More information will be coming, so keep it tuned to GameSpot for more soon.

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