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Denny Markovic
12 May, 2009

inFamous Preview

PS3 Preview | Does it pack the volts? We go hands on.
If you were given immense powers beyond imagination, what would you do with them? Would you help others when in need, or only help yourself? It’s a question that is based all around morals, which the PlayStation 3’s latest upcoming exclusive, InFamous has in spades. We recently got some extensive hands on time with the game, and we came out pretty electrified.

To put a story behind the game, you play as Cole, a young man who was the only person to have survived a recent blast that levelled three city blocks in the setting of Empire City. Upon waking, you realise you’ve been gifted with an incredible power: the power to control electricity. As days go by you learn to control this power and see the city fall apart. The blast has released a virus in the city that is spreading like wildfire, forcing the government to quarantine and lock down the entire city. Thugs and criminals now dominate the streets and you’re the only person powerful enough to stop them. How you stop them though is entirely up to you.

InFamous is a free-roam game, much like Grand Theft Auto, but with the added twist that you have super powers. The city is immense in size, with three distinct areas to explore and to grab missions from. Exploration is very easy, with Cole having some previous experience in parkour, that is now taken to a new level now that he can also bend gravity a little with his newfound powers. Climbing buildings and hopping around like Altair of Assassin’s Creed fame is an utter breeze. There are the extra perks too, with you being able to use power lines as a form of transport by skating along them, and even train tracks too. It’s quick, efficient and very enjoyable. As floaty as Cole feels, it doesn’t break the game's action packed and quick pacing, which is the star of the show.

The action in InFamous is absolutely relentless when it picks up. Taking on hordes of Reapers (the main enemy of the game) can get crazy really fast, but your powers can easily slow down the hordes. From quick shocks of electrical energy to entire thunder storms, Cole has a huge array of abilities to use against opponents, which all work well if used in the right situation. As an example, in a mission we played, there was a group of about seven Reapers charging towards us through an alleyway. Instead of picking them off one by one with the basic shock attack, we threw a shockwave directly at them, blowing them into the air, as well as all the garbage cans, dumpsters and junk in the way too. Electrical energy conducts and arks through all the metal and continually zaps them, while junk and garbage cans collide into them as they hit the ground, practically annihilating the entire group with one shot. It’s not just your abilities that can be used strategically, it’s the environment too. Electricity will tear people apart if shot while they are in water, metal will conduct and blow people away if they’re hiding behind it. It works how electricity should work, and it’s just a small example of the power Cole really has. You can even attack while you’re hanging off the side of a building or grinding across a power line, so it feels almost like an on-rails shooter at points. But with immense power comes a weakness, and Cole has a few major ones.

Will you be their hero...

Will you be their hero...
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Though your powers are great, eventually after using so many advanced attacks, your energy runs out, which not only disallows the use of special attacks, but makes you much more vulnerable to enemy attacks. This is alleviated by finding a source of power and siphoning energy from it with the L2 button. This not only heals you, but recharges your powers until you’re good to go again. There are sections in the city that have no power whatsoever, so energy conservation and siphoning snippets of electricity from cars and such is necessary. Deeper water also means instant death for Cole, so it’s imperative you avoid it. It adds an extra level of depth to the already flexible combat, which we welcome openly.

How you use your abilities and how you approach missions and such also affect how the world and story unfolds. If you play selfishly, thinking only for yourself and no others, Cole’s appearance changes and his abilities become far more lethal and chaotic. Dark red pulses of electricity will surge through Cole and his electrical powers will have higher and more lethal levels of damage. They will also become uncontrollable and chaotic, with splash damage causing large amounts of collateral damage to the world. Civilians will flip you off or run in fear as you slowly become infamous, as the title of the game suggests.

On the other hand, playing through missions selflessly, and healing downed civilians makes you more popular with the masses, with some civilians even stopping to take photos and making comments only a movie star would get. Your powers glow with a light blue aura and are more controlled, with attacks being more precise in aim and some even constricting enemies to be taken away by police later. This all affects how the story unfolds with certain characters in the game, and also affects how the environment looks, with bad karma making the world seem more bleak and empty, and good karma brighter and more vibrant. Your moral choices play a powerful role in InFamous and could add a whole lot of replayability to the full game.

...or their destruction?

...or their destruction?
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Visually, InFamous is shaping up pretty well. Load times on our hands on were very short and the environment was quite well detailed, with high res buildings and character models sprawling throughout the city. Electrical energy looks fantastic and the physics are great, but unfortunately there were a decent amount of jaggies to be seen also. Hopefully upon the games’ release these jaggies will be gone, but it’s our only gripe with the level of visual detail that InFamous displays.

On the audio side, voice-overs really hit the nail on the head, giving each character a good level of depth and sounding authentic. Sound effects are pretty great too, with explosions blowing through the subwoofer loudly and sounding mighty crisp. The build we played didn’t have much music to listen to, but we were told there’ll be plenty of background music to be heard in the full release.

The city is your playground.

The city is your playground.
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InFamous seems to be taking concepts from many other games and combining them to create an ambitious project. The freedom of movement will remind you of Assassins Creed, while the free-roaming and combat will bring back memories of Grand Theft Auto IV and Uncharted, with a pinch of super-powers added in for good measure. It’s a concept that, so far, seems to be shaping up extremely well, and with a rather huge amount of replayability. Your choices as you progress through the story will actively affect how your powers evolve, which invites the question of what you really want out of Cole’s powers. With our fingers crossed, hopefully there’ll be more explosive action in the full game to experience, because with such a great concept, an outstanding game could emerge. Check back for our review later this month.
Overall:
With ambition under its belt, and with a few more coats of paint, InFamous is a potentially electrifying piece of entertainment.

Related inFamous Content

inFamous sequel rumoured for this year
13 Feb, 2010 inConclusive.
inFamous Review
05 Jun, 2009 It's a shocker.
inFamous releasing May 26
14 Apr, 2009 Out in the US in just over a month.
11 Comments
4 years ago
first, wait palgn doesn't do that, anyway game looks sweet, shame i don't have a ps3
4 years ago
This game looks really cool, kind bummed I don't own a PS3 for it.
4 years ago
Fantastic preview Frozen, it's whipped me into a static-charged frenzy. Utterly cannot wait now for the release here, hopefully it comes a bit earlier than the proposed June 2 date, because it's going to prove a hefty distraction in the face of mid-June exams.
4 years ago
"decent amount of jaggies". - when you say this do you mean like screen tearing in drakes. it was noticable, but by no means a deterrant from the visual quality. if there is anything that pi*sses me off with games these days its poor presentation.
4 years ago
I'm hoping this game ends up being as good as most previews are making it out to be. Sounds like a good reason to dust off my PS3, especially with my 360 getting E74 last week..
4 years ago
^Nah there's no screen tearing, actually smoother than Uncharted was. Just some noticeable lack of anti-aliasing so some jagged edges around the city. I was recently updated with a newer build just yesterday though and they seem to be fixing that issue.

I wouldn't worry about presentation - the game oozes it, particularly with the comic-based cutscenes. Very slick.
4 years ago
So base an entire game around the thing that kept me playing The Force Unleashed to the very end? Genius!

I hope it's good!
4 years ago
This is definitely gonna have some good replay value with the whole good and bad side thing. Can't Wait. Hope a whiff of multiplayer mayhem gets included at some point.
4 years ago
updated Crackdown with Electricity powers for the PS3 ...
4 years ago
Denny damn you your confusing my brain even more!! Do I get this or Prototype... who would have thought two very similar games decide to come out in the middle of the gaming drought icon_wink.gif
4 years ago
Get both?
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  4/06/2009 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $109.95 AU
Publisher:
  Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre:
  Action
Year Made:
  2008
Players:
  1

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