Infamous by name or Infamous by nature?

May 24, 2009

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Exclusives are not something the PS3 is blessed with so when one is announced most gamers sit up and take notice. The fact that Infamous is developed by Sucker Punch, the creators of the wonderful Sly Raccoon series, is even more of a reason for gamers to be excited.

Infamous is the story of Cole, a bike messenger who is sent to deliver a package which is actually a bomb. Needless to say the bomb blows up and the city plummits into turmoil. The government quarantines the entire,  gangs take over (the main one being the Reapers) and the police are too scared to do anything. During all this though, Cole somehow survives the blast but awakens to find out he has gained electricity based special powers. The story is all told through some brilliant comic book style cutscenes (which can be seen in the video below) and really add a layer of slickness to the games presentation.

At first glance Infamous looks like a sandbox game in the mould of the likes of Crackdown and Grand Theft Auto IV but a delve a little deeper and you will realise that the game in actually quite linear. Sure the game has elements of the sandbox genre, there is the open city for you to roam around in and a choice of missions (main story and side) but thats where the links to that genre end. This is not nessecarily a bad thing though as it means that Infamous focuses on its story driven gameplay and wonderfully executed electricity based special powers.

Some people might bemoan the fact that Cole only has electrical powers at his disposal and dismiss them as “boring”, well those people would be wrong. Yes, Cole doesn’t have the outrageous abilities the protaganist of Crackdown had but the truth is he doesn’t need them. The player can hover in the air, shoot at enemies, throw grenades at enemies and glide on rails, all by using these fantastic powers. In the demo pretty much all the powers were upgraded but as you would expect in the full game you will have to upgrade your powers through progression in the game. What sort of powers/abilities you will have at your disposal will all be determined by how you play the game. If you are an angel throughout the game you will gain hero status which is indicated by the blue coloured electricity coming out of Cole. However if you are naughty you will become Infamous and this will be indicated by the red coloured electricity that comes out of Cole.

The city in Infamous is very well designed too, it definitely looks and feels like a place that has been ravaged. Buildings look worn down, there are broken down cars are on the streets and some citizens actually look stressed out! One thing I forgot to mention before is that Cole also has the ability to scale/climb buildings and the city is designed in such a way that when he does so everything just feels natural. There are occasions where you can grab onto ledges or poles when you don’t want to but most of the time this mechanic works really well, almost nearing the fluidity of something like Assassin’s Creed.

In the demo which was released you get to play four pretty lengthy missions which give you a great indicator of what to expect from the full game. The opening mission is the standout one though, it sees Cole powering up a broken down train full of trapped innocents and getting them to safety. The demo is highly enjoyable and certainly whets the appetite for the full game. Well enough of my thoughts, have a gander at the footage. Enjoy!

The demo is available to download from the PlayStation Store now and weighs in at 1183MB.

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When will this rain stop?!

May 23, 2009

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Furthermore to my previous post regarding Heavy Rain here is a video which includes some in-game footage and a very insightful interview with the games director, David Cage. Enjoy.


It never rains but it pours

May 22, 2009

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For once I am happy there is rain, Heavy Rain infact. Yes folks, we have some new screenshots and game information to drool over.

The game is based around four characters called Ethan Mars, Scott Shelby, Madison Paige and finally, the guy you see in the screenshots, Norman Jayden. The story revolves around a killer known as the Origami Killer and each characters attempt to find out exactly who he/she is. Even though the basic story for all the characters is the same their paths will be very much different and unique to themselves.

The details released today are based on one sole character called Norman Jayden. He is an 29 year old FBI Profiler, specializing in psychological profiling of criminals and holds a degree in psychology and forensic medicine. He is able to apply emotional intelligence to get into the heads of the murderers, is a highly professional, committed, organized, methodical and brilliantly intelligent. He has become obsessed with finding this killer.

He is sent to the West Coast to back up the police in the investigation of the Origami Killer. Norman believes they may have had the killer in custody but failed to interrogate and released them back onto the streets, this is a point of tension between Norman and the Police of not getting anywhere fast which will be shown throughout the game.

As shown in one of the screenshots below, Norman has a device prototype created by the pentagon called A.R.I (Alternate Reality Interface) Glasses and a wireless Glove, these allow you to take a closer look at the crime scenes and can detect Fingerprints, Blood, DNA fragments, pheromones and more invisible to the naked eye. The glove can absorb crime scene information via touch, come into touch with blood and it can identify victim and cross check against other information.

If that wasn’t interesting, each character will have specific strengths and weaknesses. Norman is a drug addict, addicted to triptocaine which he has become dependant on. If time passes without you taking these drugs decisions become harder to make and less clear, you will suffer from tremors, dizziness, and instability. Not only that but Norman is hiding this addiction from the rest of the world, the player will have to make decisions based on this, keep it secret whilst looking for the killer.

Thing is though, all decisions made in the game rotate around the characters body, depending on their state of mind it can be calm and slow or fast and impulsive, so if you are drugged you may not even be able to read what the decision is!

As you might have read already, there is no game over in Heavy Rain if your main character dies you simply loose their point of view on the events, you switch to another character but without the influence of the character that has died meaning the story can change. It is even possible for all four characters to die in which case the player will be given a conclusion, albeit probably not a satisfying one.

Could this game sound any cooler?! I was a huge fan of Fahrenheit (aka Indigo Prophecy) and if the people at Quantic Dreams can perfect the flaws of that game (stupid sci-fi ending) then this could be something special. I know the main gameplay mechanic is based around QTE’s but Fahrenheit showed that you don’t need to have a huge arsenal at your disposal for a game to be immersive. The game is due to be released November 2009, I can’t wait.