Tokyo Game Show 2008

Tokyo Game Show 2008
TGS 2008: Preview: Infamous

Susan Arendt | 9 Oct 2008 14:30
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Every time I cover a show, I hope to stumble upon a game that I'd somehow previously missed or ignored, a game that activates my gimme-gimme gland and inspires me to circle dates on the calendar in eager anticipation of release day. That game for Tokyo Game Show is Infamous for the PS3.

Sony calls it a "modern day superhero action/adventure game in an open environment,"which, while accurate, doesn't sound neary as bitchin' as the game looks like it's going to be. You play as Cole, the sole survivor of a catastrophic blast that laid waste to a huge chunk of the city. The city begins falling into ruin, plagued by a huge upsurge in crime and gang activity, and eventually the authorities wall it all off to keep the violence from spreading. You're stuck in there with the psychos, but fortunately, you've developed electricity-based superpowers that you can use to bring down the gangs and restore the peace.

If you're worried that means you'll simply be frying bad guys with lighting bolts for 20 hours, relax. The way Sucker Punch and Sony see it, "if you're going to make a superhero game, you have to make the superpowers better than having the gun in Call of Duty 4. In other words, if all you're doing is trading lightning bolts for bullets, the game isn't all that special or compelling, and folks will figure that out pretty quickly.

But Cole can do more than just zap from afar. He can also hurl little electrical hand grenades, suck power from enemies to refill his power supply, call down enormous lightning strikes that can be moved through the environment with the Sixaxis, perform a powerful TK blast, and even tap into the electrical impulses in someone's brain to see echos of their thoughts and memories. Powers develop and change depending on how you progress through the game and the choices you make, so the powers that you have when you start the game aren't the powers you have when you finish.

You'll have to be wise about how and when you use your powers, though; every time you use one, you expend electrical energy that will have to be replaced. You can draw volts (or is it amps? I can never remember which one kills you) from anything with a power source, like a car battery, light pole, or power station. The more energy you amass, the more devastating moves you can use, but the more energy you expend, too. So deciding whether to bank your power for a really big move or to simply use lots of smaller ones may depend on how ready a source of electricity you have nearby.

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