inFamous 2 Karma System First Look Preview -- The Duality of a Supercharged ManBy Adam Rosenberg - Posted Apr 01, 2011
Sucker Punch did the unthinkable in inFamous, something that Marvel Comics has never been able to do: it made powers over electricity cool. Unlike comic book villains like Electro and Shocker, the open-world action game's protagonist -- or anti-protagonist, depending on how you played -- Cole MacGrath is tough, no-nonsense, and knows how to get the job done.
In inFamous 2, the job in question picks up the story thread we left behind at the end of the first game. "The heartbeat of inFamous 2 is, The Beast is coming," Sucker Punch's Ken Schramm told us at a Sony preview event in New York City earlier this week.
The last time you saw the June 7-releasing sequel covered here, you got a glimpse of what to expect from the game's built-in user-generated content features. This latest preview focuses instead on a concept that should be familiar to fans of the first game: karma. Cole's moral inclinations are once again a deciding factor in how the game's story plays out, only this time they also dictate how his powers evolve over time.
The polar extremes of Cole's moral compass are represented in two companion characters, Kuo and Nix. Kuo is a former NSA agent who has been gifted with power over ice; she stands for order. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Nix, a badass chica with napalm-infused powers. She stands for chaos.
At different points in the game, Cole will find himself fighting alongside one or both of the superpowered ladies. This particular demo focused on a mission that occurs roughly a third of the way into the game, called "Storm the Fort." Cole and his two pals pick apart enemy forces and disable a series of turrets with the help of some local militia soldiers. The ultimate goal is to switch the power back on in the immediate area, an act accomplished by accessing power stations and turning Cole into a "Tesla Missile," at which point he transforms into a flying blob of lightning that must be directed at a nearby, inactive power station.
Kuo and Nix both join our hero at different points during the mission. They fight on their own and do plenty of damage, but the AI also occasionally puts their powers to work in helping Cole. At one point, Nix wades into a large group of enemies and immobilizes them all in the air, leaving them defenseless against Cole's lightning bursts.
Fallen enemies will also occasionally emit a steady stream of purple lightning after they've been brought down. This is how players access Cole's bigger powers, such as the lightning storm received toward the end of the first game or the all-new ionic vortex, which sends an electricity-spiked whirlwind spinning away in a single direction, decimating anything in its path.
The purple lightning on fallen enemies also gives Cole access to secondary powers that he inherits from his two companions. This is where the game's morality elements come in. At certain points, Cole is faced with a decision in which he must side with one of his two companions. It won't always be Kuo vs. Nix, but they are the two superbeings his additional powers will come from. Depending on who Cole sides with when one of the game's "blast cores" is located, a power based on the sided with character's abilities is transferred to his arsenal.
It's hard to get a sense of how deep the game's morality-based elements go after one mission extracted from the middle of the game. The big takeaway from the preview, other than the firsthand glimpse of how the good vs. evil elements play out, is that this is more of the same great formula that made inFamous one of the best PS3 games out there. The powers are bigger, the action spreads out over a wider area, and the new superpowered companions add some welcome color to the proceedings.