Preview: inFAMOUS 2

inFAMOUS 2 previews has been ‘electrifyingly’ positive since the game was revealed earlier this year. While it’s been hands-off since then, I got the chance to get my hands on a playable build of the game yesterday during a pre-NYCC preview event in the city.

Before I gripped the controller, I was first shown a hands-off build of the game that took a quick dive into two of New Marais’ newly added neighborhoods. The team’s objective in showing these two areas was to give us a sense of diversity in the city’s environments. The two areas, the slums and a graveyard (both yet to be named), gave off a completely different aura than what we’ve already seen so far. The slums are run down – ghetto-style homes, cheap, small buildings and not a tower in sight; a different face to the glamorous side of the city. The graveyard, on the other hand, is moody and dark, only harboring the dead and those who’ve come to mourn them. They actually mourn, too! While I was being shown the dead-inhabited area, I witnessed a man drop his body in front of a grave, mourning his dearly beloved, whose now passed.

Then a tornado hit him in the face! The other highlights of this hands-off demo were two of Cole’s new abilities – one allowing him to use the electricity charge from a car to give himself a boost into the sky (high jump, basically) and the other being an electrifying tornado, only this time not as cinematic as we’ve last seen it. In this demo, they were being thrown out like it was nothing. And boy did the guy at Sucker Punch like throwing them. That poor man… he was merely trying to pay his respects to the dead. What a jerk!

After being teased with the hands-off demo, I was moved to a downgraded hands-on demo, which didn’t allow me to check out the new areas or use any of the aforementioned abilities. Oh well. I did get to try out one different ability, though – the Kinetic Pulse. You’ve seen it before; this gameplay was originally released during PAX 2010 — the only difference here is that I was playing so it didn’t look as glossy and sexy as it did then. Kinetic Pulse is pretty great; it’s sort of like Cole’s version of super-strength. It allows him to use his electricity powers to pick up a car and chuck it at an enemy. It comes in handy when you have an enemy shooting at you from a wooden watch tower –- simply toss the car at the tower and watch it collapse (precisely what I did).

The melee is a great deal better in inFAMOUS 2 than it was in the first game. The team wanted to take the descriptively okay melee combat of the first inFAMOUS and make it awesome with the second game, but had to give Cole a weapon to do so. The lightning-stick you’ve seen him use in past videos is the weapon I’m talking about and it feels amazing to use. There was a point in the demo where I took down a tower, proceeded ahead, and found a turret shooting at me; I ran along around the turret, jumped and came down slashing lightning, knocked him dead and tingled a bit on the inside. It’s truly a large improvement over the first game.

The demo was very short. By the end, I got to face a boss called the Ravager, who’s one of the game’s first special elites. He’ll adapt to the type of attacks you send at him, so if you’re sticking to long range attacks, he’ll send missiles out at you and if you’re sticking close range, he’ll have something for that, too. He’s a fun fight — truly adrenaline-rushing — I found myself addicted to Kinetic Pulse, tossing vehicles at him. I noticed that for every major stomp he took, he put out some big cracks in the street; one thing I always find cool: environmental destruction.

inFAMOUS 2 is scheduled to launch exclusively for PlayStation 3 in 2011.

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