inFamous 2

Fully charged?

Every now and then, Hollywood has a spasm and churns out pairs of movies about the same thing. Giant space rocks provided the drama for both Deep Impact and Armageddon. Lava threatened famous faces in Dante's Peak and Volcano. Magicians got all huffy in The Illusionist and The Prestige.

Gaming experienced its own version of this phenomenon in 2009, when both Sony's inFamous and Activision's Prototype posed the important question: what would happen if an obnoxious wanker got superpowers? With Prototype 2 still conspicuous by its absence, only inFamous star Cole McGrath may be around to answer that question a second time.

Picking up almost directly after the first game, inFamous 2 opens with Cole tackling The Beast, the mythical destructive monster teased throughout the original adventure. Cole promptly gets his butt kicked. He retreats to the city of New Marais to recharge his electrical superpowers and prepare for round two.

It's a change in location that benefits inFamous 2, as is obvious as soon as we're seated in front of it at Sony's PlayStation Experience. While the urban cityscapes of the first game were an easy fit with the superhero genre, they were also fairly generic and hardly inspiring.

New Marais, based heavily on New Orleans, is a much more interesting place to explore, with unique architecture and an old world charm that makes the lightning-bolt mayhem stand out all the more.

3

Looks like somebody has a serious case of the Palpatines.

But we're not here to explore the scenery - we're here to see how Sucker Punch has revamped the karma system from the previous game. The stated aim is to present the player with conflicting characters, each representing a different approach to a mission. To illustrate the idea, we get to play through an early mission both ways.

At the start, we're on a rooftop with two support characters. Our task is to free Special Agent Kuo from captivity, as she is apparently able to help evolve Cole's powers to Beast-defeating levels. Our companions have a difference of opinion over how best to proceed, though.

Zeke, our old pal from the first game, favours a more inclusive approach. The city's cops have been rounded up by the local crimelord and are being transported across the city in an armoured convoy. Free the cops, suggests Zeke, and they'll help you to storm the stockade where Kuo is being held.

Nix wants no such soft-touch nonsense. Her recommendation is to hijack a tram car, load it with explosives, supercharge it with your electrical powers and smash it through the front gates. Messy, but direct. Your choice made, it's off to the relevant mission marker to get the job done.

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