The PlayStation 3 exclusive lineup for 2009 is downright amazing, and one of the key titles on that list will be Sucker Punch’s Infamous. We still don’t have an estimated release date (just “TBA 2009” for all territories), but after our research, we’ve come to the undeniable conclusion that this game will make a very big splash. In many ways, this is similar to a comic book or a graphic novel, and you will gain control of a man named Cole, who has plenty of superhuman abilities. He’s gonna need them, too, considering the world is essentially in absolute chaos, and you’ll need every ounce of extra strength and skill to survive. Sucker Punch will tell the story with 2D art panels that may remind you of Max Payne, but the world will most certainly be 3D and loaded with immensely impressive and formidable visuals. As for Cole, how would you feel if you woke up from a 2-week coma to find the city you once knew was now in total upheaval? It’s like Judgment Day, except many of the citizens have been transformed into monsters, and all you have is your strange yet powerful inherent abilities and a few friends.
IGN was lucky enough to go hands-on with this bad boy, and after checking several other sources, the story and gameplay are rapidly becoming clearer. For example, while Cole is the primary character, his best friend Zeke and his nurse girlfriend Trish will be along for the frightening ride as well. Trish helped heal Cole but lost her sister in a massive explosion during the city’s fall, and Zeke will often accompany Cole in his adventure. Thankfully, Zeke should be pretty damn useful; he can handle firearms and if things get really dicey…well, there’s a damn good reason why Cole glows blue: his body in inundated with electricity and he can use it to his advantage. All you need to do is put something in your crosshairs – the game features a now-expected over-the-shoulder third-person viewpoint for combat – and press R1; a bolt of electricity will fly towards the target. You hold L1 to aim, so the combination of the shoulder buttons should be easy to grasp, and the rest of Cole’s movements seem straightforward. You move with the left analog, look with the right, assign his myriad of abilities to the face buttons, and leap around what Sucker Punch describes as a “jungle gym” of a city.
But of course, there are obvious twists to the aforementioned gameplay mechanic. For instance, Cole can’t die from an exceedingly long fall, and in fact, you can inflict insane damage if you’re coming down from a great height. This is because that when falling, Cole can charge up his Meteor Drop, and the longer it charges, the bigger the devastating crater when he lands. Not surprisingly, any enemies in the vicinity will suffer the immediate effects of this highly effective attack. Now, you may be asking why Zeke has to tag along. Some gamers really worry when we learn we’ll have a partner to accompany us through the majority of the quest, primarily because developers rarely get the AI right. However, a recent example of an excellent AI-controlled companion can be found in Prince of Persia, so if Zeke is as effective as Elika, we’ll be satisfied with the final result. Besides, Zeke really is super important: he’s the only one who can carry firearms; Cole can’t use them because the electricity in his body will cause the ammunition to go off immediately in his hands. But remember, that electricity is Cole’s weapon, so don’t be too discouraged.
On top of which, Cole will have some secondary abilities at his disposal, and this will include Telekinesis (yep, just think of the possibilities), so the key to success will center firmly on your dedication to keeping Cole charged up. See, you don’t have an endless supply of electricity in your body; you can only hold so much, so you’ll have to find spots around Empire City that will allow you to recharge. In this particular case, it’s best to use logic and common sense. For instance, if you needed electricity in a city, wouldn’t you seek out things like telephone poles? For your assistance, these refill stations will be marked conveniently with blue lightning bolts on the map, so if you find yourself weakening, find the nearest blue bolt and reenergize. Obviously, we sense some strategy involved, as the player will have to keep an eye on Cole’s energy level while attempting to progress through each area. When things aren’t so out-of-control and Zeke can handle himself with whatever firearm he’s toting, it’ll probably make sense to conserve Cole’s electricity. We doubt he’ll be completely helpless if he’s entirely drained, but it’s probably not a good tactical position, you know?
In addition to the battle abilities, there should be plenty of platforming elements involved. We mentioned that “jungle gym” approach to the city, and you can take advantage of downed beams, girders and pieces of rubble to launch yourself to new heights and traverse the ruined environment. Based on what we’ve heard, we really like the idea of a super-fluid and amazingly fun platforming experience; because Cole can fall any distance and can grab just about anything as he dashes along, everything should come together seamlessly. These days, action titles tend to vary on how much platforming is included in the adventure, and it appears it will play a very prominent role in Sucker Punch’s hotly anticipated title. That makes sense, due to the developer’s history with the Sly Cooper franchise, right? If the game wants to reach that elite level, the designer will have to blend a dynamic and engaging combat system with a solidly controlled and entertaining platforming mechanic. If Sucker Punch pulls it off, the gamer will most certainly benefit, because this project is shaping up very nicely. A 2009 Game of the Year contender…? Possibly.
We’re anxiously anticipating a release date for Infamous, which will be very high on our radar next year. As far as we’re concerned, it’s just yet another PS3 exclusive that could blow us all away…
12/23/2008 Ben Dutka