It soon becomes clear that the different approaches don't really manifest as different gameplay experiences. It's possible to cause just as much mayhem while freeing the cops, and both routes boil down to a lot of climbing on top of moving vehicles and blasting hordes of enemies.
That's certainly satisfying, but negotiating the tangle of New Marais streets and getting on top of your targets isn't as smooth as it could be. Cole's movements feel distractingly stiff, especially when the game decides to glue him to precarious perches.
I repeatedly found myself surfing on overhead wires whenever I tried to jump on top of the tram car, while rooftop parkour feels bogged down by this stickiness. There's no doubt that, were the wires where I wanted to be, I'd be glad of the assist in staying balanced. Since they weren't, I couldn't help making mental comparisons to the effortless navigation of Assassin's Creed.
Once inside the enemy compound, by either method, there's more mild disappointment when it becomes clear that which ever character you side with, the game plays out exactly the same once you've breached the gates. Enemies spawn in the same locations, gameplay events trigger at the same time – the only difference seems to be the character running around nearby.
This is balanced out by the fairly radical overhaul dished out to the game's melee combat. Never the strongest part of the first game, it's one of the most polished and enjoyable aspects of what's on display for inFamous 2.
Combos are simple but satisfying, and it's much easier to mix and match old fashioned punches and kicks with your crackling electrical powers. Softening up a thug with a flurry of punches then booting him into the air with a fizz of static is instantly gratifying, all the moreso as chains of successful attacks fill your power bar and allow you to let fly with a very impressive lightning-fuelled tornado which whips through the scenery, dragging friend and foe alike into the sky.
Of course, it's always hard to make assumptions about the shape of an entire game from a ten minute sequence, but on this admittedly slim evidence the much-vaunted karma system is hardly looking revolutionary.
The good news is that the moment-to-moment combat has been beefed up and, if Sucker Punch can smooth out the movement control a little, inFamous 2 is shaping up as another solid open-world action experience.