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A Day That Will Live In InFamy...
Cole MacGrath was just your average guy working as a delivery boy trying to pay the rent while also aiming to keep his girlfriend appeased, but one afternoon he became a changed man. He didn't know it at the time, of course. This was mostly due to the coma he was in after being in the center of an explosion that wiped out several city blocks. When he came back to his senses Cole was in pain, but aware that he was a host of special powers dealing with electricity. I am willing to detail Cole's journey up to that point as to avoid spoiling anything from the first InFamous, but what's new in the sequel? What is Sucker Punch Productions planning for InFamous 2?
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Without giving too much away, after Cole makes his way though Empire City's Neon District, he assembles new powers as he strengthens over time. Certain boss battles occur, but the largest impact the developers wish the players to focus on during InFamous 2, is the warning Cole heard about battling "The Beast." If Cole did not properly prepare for it before it arrived, he would be powerless to stop it. Because of that warning, Cole is aware of The Beast's existence, but is not strong enough to do battle with it right off the bat. (So much for the weight behind that statement and the cryptic presentation from the first game. Or how it affected the course of the game's entirety.) This is where InFamous 2 kicks off. Cole attempts to fight this Beast, is beaten, then retreats to the southern town of New Marais to find a way to get stronger and train to be able to come out ahead the next time The Beast makes its presence known.
This city is in stark contrast to the setting of the original as it is filled with lights and commotion instead of being deserted or in the process of rebuilding, depending on which Karma path you chose in the former. And since nothing is easy in InFamous 2, the town just so happens to be run by an overbearing zealot that has forced the town to be militarized by his own soldiers in mind to keep it clean of any Corrupted mutants in the area or Mr. MacGrath.
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Combat is much more fluid in InFamous 2 than its predecessor. Rolls merge with punches and swings of a new weapon Cole is in possession of, something resembling a two pronged bat made of metal. Take a tuning fork, blend it together with a club, and add more than a dash of lightning and you have Cole's weapon of choice. Sucker Punch is attempting to allow the player the freedom to peruse more melee-focused playstyles in InFamous 2, something which was in the original, but over shadowed once enemies had large health pools.
Not only is Cole sporting a new weapon, but he is also honing his skills and from what was released so far, he will now be able to summon an Ionic Vortex, a short-lived tornado and lightning swarm, and even chunks of ice. If Ice is going to be added, Fire is a likely counter as a Evil Karma option, or at least making Cole's Ice attacks the opposite of The Beast's pyrokinesis. All attacks, melee or psionic based, look fantastic and the graphics appear to be far more crisp and attuned than the former game.
Finally, Cole can move around the city much faster thanks to an arsenal of new moves. Cole can now rocket up pipes instead of ploddingly climbing them, he can 'surf' sideways instead of shimmying across metal bars, even his gliding ability has gone through a revamp and now allows him to soar at quite a hefty forward velocity. These additions might have to be unlocked via missions much like in the original, but once these are available travel across the city will be far less a chore as it felt in the first game. In the least, routes will no longer require constantly hopping from one electrical rail to the next to feel as if you are getting anywhere quickly.
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InFamous 2's Evolving Hero
Cole MacGrath has been aboard quite a roller-coaster since E3. Originally his character design was wildly different from the first game, having sprouted brown wavy locks, sporting new hipster attire, and possessing a more comical demeanor voiced by a brand new voice actor. The animation and direction of the game, combined with Cole's new look, presented an astounding resemblance and feel of Nathan Drake, a la Drake's Fortune. Fan's outcry lead to Cole's current appearance, a blend of the original and new looks, which helps the feel of the gameplay immensely. While Nathan Drake is an amazing character, he does not belong in InFamous.
Look forward to InFamous 2 in the PS3 console some time in 2011.