Thursday, June 9, 2011

Infamous 2: This is one of those rare times where appending "Electric Boogaloo" to the title would actually sort of make sense, but I'll restrain myself

I had intended to write something about the demo for Sucker Punch Productions' Infamous 2 over the weekend, but was thwarted when my entire neighborhood lost electrical power (because of a thunderstorm, ironically) on Saturday and subsequently became caught up in other business. Some would argue that writing about the demo is sort of pointless when the actual game is now out, but at Pointless Side Quest we strive to make everything we present here timeless, with a relevance that will endure long after some arbitrary date on a calendar. This post fails at that, but it's not as if that's ever stopped me before. Some thoughts:

The demo's most striking, immediately noticeable change from the original game is how fast protagonist Cole is in this game, both on foot and when's he's gliding- when I take to the rooftops I have a much stronger feeling of momentum. It also helps that you get a small boost upwards when you first activate your glide power- a lot of building -to-building leaps that would have previously required me to glide towards the target building, fall slightly short of the roof, grab hold of the side, and pull myself up are now one smooth motion. It makes a difference, especially when you're trying to go from roof to roof to roof at high speed.

I was sort of thrown off by Cole's new voice actor at first, but was fine with him once I had time to get used to him. I enjoyed Cole's voice in the original, but I like the fact that he sounds less gruff and overtly bad-ass in the new one- he seems more like a regular guy who was unexpectedly thrust into the role of superhero and less like a grizzled off-duty space marine who's been smoking two packs of unfiltered Pall Malls a day since the age of 8.

I like the little events that pop up as icons on your map, which you can then intervene in- stopping muggings, rescuing people being marched off as prisoners by the bad guys (I'm assuming; maybe New Marais just has really stern tour guides), and so forth. It's convenient when you're looking for some action outside of a mission, and it made the city feel more alive to me-there's stuff going on around you whether or not you choose to involve yourself with it.

I just hope we don't have anything like some of the asinine recurring missions that have appeared in some previous open world superhero games, like that damned army of kids in Spider-Man 2 whining at you to get their balloon back for them. I don't want to see that here. “What's that, kid? Well, I was about to head out to save an innocent person from being shivved in an alleyway by a band of muggers, rescue a group of people being dragooned to God only knows where by heavily armed paramilitary thugs, stop the massive rival gang shootout that just erupted downtown before they tear half the city apart, and subdue the rampaging horde of grotesque mutant  hellbeasts emerging from the swamps and killing everything in its path...  but sure, I'll put that off so that I can recharge your talking Optimus Prime action figure. What could it hurt?”

Early concept art for Cole's appearance at maximum negative karma in Infamous 2, later rejected by the game's designers for looking "too healthy."
This item is actually more of a question than a comment. I always played as a good guy in the original and so don't have much experience with evil version of the character. In one of the three missions in the demo you play as evil negative karma red-lightning Cole, so I was wondering: was evil Cole that pale and corpse-like in the original, too? He looks like what would happen if the lost love-child of Conan O'Brien and Wednesday Adams was raised underground in absolute darkness by Morlocks for the first 25 years of his life and then immediately contracted tuberculosis and joined a Norwegian black metal band upon reaching the surface. The guy from Nosferatu looks positively ruddy by comparison.

Zeke is back, and he looks even more like a 70's-era Elvis impersonator than he did in the original. Which is awesome. At this rate of transformation, he'll be guzzling down barbiturates like trail mix and wearing a jacket with enough rhinestones to outshine the sun by the time Infamous IV arrives. Sucker Punch, make this happen.

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