by Samuel Curd
previewed on PS3
It’s time once again to step into Cole MacGrath’s highly charged shoes. Yet, with a plethora of new powers and an entirely new city to wreck/save, the question on everyone’s mind is “will he have hair?” Sucker Punch Productions assured us that inFAMOUS 2 would build on its predecessor in many ways with a deeper story, a richer city and more moral choices than you could shake a stick at. In early screenshots and concept art, Cole was spotted sporting a fancy new hairdo to go along with his new adventure. With all the changes made to the series, it was this that players had the most trouble accepting. In an inspiring decision to listen to the fans, Sucker Punch gave Cole a buzz cut and quickly pasted his new shaven head all over their website and latest gameplay footage. A boycott was averted and developers everywhere learned a lesson: change is good but people don’t want another Nathan Drake.
inFAMOUS was a good game with plenty of buildings to scale and bad guys to fling cars at, but it wasn’t without its teething problems. Cole took after so many GTA protagonists and joined the society of adults who can’t swim. Combat was repetitive and the moral choices you could make boiled down to sickeningly sweet or complete bastard. Taking all these problems in its stride, Sucker Punch has taken some rather sizable steps towards delivering everything we expected from inFAMOUS back in 2009. While no word has arisen yet on the possibility of Cole taking swimming lessons, he now sports a melee weapon called “The Amp” which will replace fist fighting and looks like a set of bicycle forks.
Oddly, pre-release footage shows Cole with the new ability to create ice at will. How that sprang from his electrical powers is beyond me and looks to set him down the slippery slope towards fire powers in inFAMOUS 3. Also new is the Ionic Vortex, a power which when combined with a smoother game engine that uses more of the Cell Processor’s awesome power creates some jaw dropping effects onscreen, as cars and enemies are flung through the air in an electrical tornado that would have Nikola Tesla needing a cup of tea and a lie down.
Battle with the Beast
On the subject of moral choices, Sucker Punch has aimed at delivering some “more believable” decisions the player can make, hoping for a less binary good or bad choice. What with having super powers, any sense of subtlety seems to have been thrown out of the window early on, so when we were treated to a glimpse of one scenario I was left wondering where the “believable” aspect was. In this snippet, when Cole needs to get into an enemy compound the choices are to either recruit some nearby policemen to lend a helping hand or break down the walls with a streetcar.
As with the previous title, there is no neutral option for players who want to remain enigmatic, and while the choices are believable, they are only believable for a man with superhuman powers. There is no option, for example, to apply in writing to join the bad guys and hope they let you in if you ask nicely. Or to make a complaint to the authorities that the raucous parties held in the compound are keeping you awake at night, and to sneak in when the police knock on the doors to give the hooligans a firm talking to.