Sucker Punch has earned their rep from the Playstation fanboys for their Sly Cooper series.
I first heard about their new PS3 title, Infamous, in January's EGM (issue #199, RIP 1up). In that article they talked about giving the hero unlimited powers that would fit in a videogame. If you made a character with blades, they should be able to cut through anything in the game. That idea seems impractical and not worth the effort. Giving a player electric powers sounds great, because you can electrocute (almost) anything. Link to interview: http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3171602&p=37
So this all sounds good on paper, but this gameplay footage from PAX 2008 shows what these ideas manifested into: http://www.gametrailers.com/player/43850.html
After reviewing the footage, I had some pretty negative impressions of the game. I began to wonder:
Will it be fun?
The combat looked pretty ridiculous. Cole traded blows with the hooded gangbangers getting himself shot over 20 times, tossed a few Terra-Watts of energy at them and while the hoodlums just clumsily fell down for second, got up and shot him again.
Let's Beatem' With A Stick!
This may be a nitpick of mine, but what happens to our hero when a streetsmart gangsta rolls up in a rubber suit with a solid wood Louisville slugger in hand? Will Shadow the Hedgehog have to come in saving him, guns-a-blazing? Will our hero be a talented martial artist as well? You might have to run like hell from a gang that actually wises up.
Who Runs Like That?
If you've watched the gameplay footage, you might have noticed Cole may have made an evolutionary step by controlling electricity, but he runs like a chimpanzee. Elbows out, legs wide apart, ready to deuce at the sight of a predator to increase his speed. They say people get the shit scared out of them as way of lightening their weight so they can run faster. Maybe our Infamous hero is just living in a nightmare.
No Light in Empire City.
A lesson Sucker Punch should have taken from Farcry 2 and other open-ended games like Assassin's Creed, GTAIV, etc. is that the cycle of day is actually a good way to show off your world. The footage only shows dark, street-lit environments. Dead Space's USG Ishimura had more uplifting lighting than this city.
The updated footage from CES 2009 has shown some improvement of the combat, but hasn't shown much of the environment or the character outside of combat. It looks like Infamous has been taking some notes from Farcry 2 and putting the character constantly in battle.
Why A PS3 Exclusive?
The game shows no promising use of the six-axis controller or PS3 hardware. Sucker Punch is probably just one of the few remaining puppets with Sony's hand in their ass. I guess it's for the best, the PS3 is hurting for exclusives and the Xbox 360 has plenty of titles to make up for this loss. One of them being:
Which looks much more fun. Radical Entertainment has already cut their teeth on this genre with Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. The only downside to this one is the Single-player only aspect.
With both Prototype and Infamous limiting the experience to single-player only and shooting for a mid-2009 release this sales would easily favor the title that features a Crackdown Co-op experience.
I think with the improvements from PAX 2008 to CES 2009, it may not be too late to save Empire City and it's infamous hero Cole from being beaten with a bat at launch.
That's our the Infamous hero Cole, relieving himself off the roof of a building.