inFamous Demo Hands-On Preview

By BlueZeroBlueZero


The big question this Summer is: which game will be the better superhero/supervillain game? On PS3, it is superhero combat between inFamous and Prototype. To me, they both seem like they are the same game with my opinions quickly shifting preference between the two. I decided to download the inFamous demo and here is what I have to say:

My first impressions:
The electricity grenade, like all grenades in all games throughout history, is too powerful. If it goes off next to your main character, it’s going to kill you instantly. If it goes up a little further from you, it is still going to kill you. When you are “inFamous” aka the Dark Side, you are still able to be killed by electricity grenades but it is harder since you get 5 mini ones instead of one that kills instantly. Spamming the grenade is the great way to win the game as long as enemies aren’t shooting you from the tops of buildings.


That tiny white sphere you threw near the enemy body will kill you as it did below


If you are a superhero in the same vein as Static Shock, it doesn’t make sense that your own electricity, or even any electricity should kill you. The main character can suck out a bajillion Watts (my name for the crazy amount of electricity he absorbs) from the city to recharge his energy but his own grenade, his own mini electricity spawn, is far too much for him. To put this in perspective, the electricity grenades are the main character’s undoing. Cole, the main character, can create something more powerful then himself to vanquish his enemies but can’t come in contact with it. This is exactly the reason to show some restraint in close combat but it seems too unrealistic for this game setting. Yet, I’ve had times where I stick a grenade on another superhero enemy guy and he teleports next to me killing me instantly. C'est la vie I guess.

Also, if you are going to make a superhero with electricity, you got to follow the precursors in superhero lore. This means making homage to the relatively useless Static Shock (who was the token black hero for cartoons. I mean how could he even save Superman from Kryptonite in that tag team episode, he can’t even save himself from a cold). So Cole at least has the ability to hover Iron Man style for a stylish descent. Yes, this is a good step but where is the flight? I like the ability to grind on electricity rails and hover, but this game needs a little flight to take it to the next level, which won’t happen. You know they could explain flight in the same way that Static Shock flew on his manhole cover. Cole should just jump on some electricity source that is portable (maybe a casino slot machine or random car, anything with a little juice) and then be able to fly as long as he has energy or the object has energy. This would prevent his flight from being too overpowered. I really want flight to speed up moving around the map.

Electricity is the ability to make electronic things move faster, yet the game seems to shy away from this. Yes, you have to stand on the train to get it going with your body electricity but there is a problem. I want the ability to make cars, trains, anything that moves “overload” with electricity which makes it go really really fast. I think this should be a special ability to “overload” objects and your abilities. Maybe I want to overload my hover ability to temporarily fly or my one grenade to wipe out a large block. I would have a special meter that builds over time from accomplishing objectives like dispatching enemy gangs or healing people.

inFamous Mission 1:


The first mission is very boring with the demo telling you to control a train and get it out of the area since people are aboard. So you do the awesome thing of moving the train with your body only to discover that tiny switches below the train track are not on so the train won’t move. I don’t like this plot device. I don’t want the train to stop.


Plot device, how I hate thee

inFamous Mission 2:


Cole is a real live-wire

You are now “inFamous” so your powers are much cooler. You have to dispatch gangs who are polluting the water supply towers with tar. I don’t understand why this makes any sense. You can grind the power lines for some good speed but it’s not necessary.

More inFamous Missions:

You get to be Heroic again and have a lightning super move by pushing d-pad up. Lightning comes from the sky and moves away in a line. It can kill people on roofs. It is awesome. Now this is what I am talking about using electricity correctly. This mission asks you to stop/destroy a truck that is getting away. At the start of the mission, the super lightning move almost destroys the truck and one more finishes it quickly. This is where the demo ended and the trailer of “real ingame footage” began. I just played the demo, so why do I need to know the trailer footage is ingame?

Minor Gripes:

  • Enemy shotguns are too powerful, Cole’s recoil makes it hard to recover with any move. The game fails to tell you the edges of the mission, so there is no way to know other than intuition..

I just took a wrong turn, I'm still good for the mission…

  • “Abandoning mission…” Screen fades to black and you restart the mission if you leave the developer's unmarked mission boundaries.
  • Train use is not good in demo. I do like the ability to grab on moving trains. I hope they have good missions involving trains that don’t force you to stop
  • “Karmatic Shift” is where Cole switches polarities between Good and Evil. He switched in the demo to show off the different moves but I guess it could happen normally in the game. I’ve read that you can’t remain neutral so you will be forced to make a choice throughout the game. In the demo, it seemed impossible to change polarities by beating up the populace or by killing bad gang people.
  • The difficulty is kinda hard on “easy”.
  • Physics are also decent but environment (like fences) not destructible.
  • Cole hates water!



Cole's body makes the shiny train go zoom

  • inFamous electricity and effect sounds are great.
  • Graphics are decent for PS3.
  • Explosions are great with no slowdown.
  • Particle effects are good.

For me, inFamous is a rental game because I don’t see longevity. I did have fun with the demo though as it kept me entertained for about an hour Longevity for me is destructible buildings (Mercenaries 2) or some amazing online pay for this game. It builds on the great Crackdown building climbing mechanics for orbs (here shards?), adds the powers from the Force Unleased, but doesn’t add things like building destruction or over the top stylish uses of your powers. Maybe I want to use a radio tower as a lightning rod to amplify my powers and destroy a building. Or maybe I want to do a little Static Shock flying to get some altitude before I comet back to earth with an earth-shattering impact. Yeah, I don’t think that will happen in this game. I’m glad the demo was robust and lengthy to allow a more detailed hands-on preview. I think the game will do well, but it’s not going to be my game of choice this Summer/Holiday.

As always, I welcome comments loving or blowing my criticism out of the water.

* Pictures taken on my TV tuner 480i. Tuner doesn't support HD except for over the air digital.

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