I, like many people, quite enjoyed inFamous. It was only slightly overshadowed by the release of Arkham Asylum in the same year, and when a sequel was announced last year I was pretty stoked. I got a good amount of hands-on time with Cole's electric second chapter at GDC, and thankfully the sequel doesn't seem to disappoint.
The first thing I noticed when picking up the inFamous 2 demo was the graphics. There is clearly a major overhaul in the visual fidelity. The world was much more lively and rich, featuring a lot more variety on screen at once. The art design, as well, was a big improvement for me, with New Marais having some style and intrigue that wasn't found in its predecessor. The streets themselves look far less like the simple grids that made up large portions of Empire City, and the new trollies allow some quick travel for Cole above the streets themselves. Cole still doesn't really look like the original Cole, but he's close enough that the fanboys probably won't complain. His voice, however, still seems a bit off.
I played through one mission in my demo, which was pretty much the same kind of mission you'd expect to find in the first game. I had to chase down a convoy of baddies which was escorting a group of imprisoned soldiers. I blasted away the badguys, hopped onto the truck with the good guys, and freed them. InFamous 2's minimap and mission structure seem pretty similar to the first, which is good as long as there's a little more variety in the sidequests than we saw in the original game.
Those who played inFamous will be instantly familiar with the basic controls, as most of them are unchnaged. L1 sitll enters aim mode, R1 still hovers, X jumps, Square melees, and L2 still drains energy from nearby supplies (while having the added benefit of now "pinging" for electrical sources like L3 used to do). In aim mode you'll find your standard assortment of powers, with lightning bolt, shock wave, megawatt hammer, and shock grenade all present. Most of these abilities seem to function the same as they did in inFamous, although the lightning bolt feels like it has a bit more kick behind it. Melee has especially seen a boost in strength, and the new slow-down effect is a nice addition to the style of the game. After doing a certain amount of damage and then taking down an enemy with a purple aura, Cole can do his incredibly destructive Vortex move with the down button on the D-Pad, and this is incredibly satisfying in both its ability to destroy enemies and the environment.
Movement is almost identical as well, although everything feels a little faster. Cole can still scale buildings with ease, hover, and grind along power lines and tram lines. The additional tram lines make it easier to find places where you can grind and travel quickly, which is appreciated. My one complaint is it, at times, felt like the camera was zoomed in a bit too close for both movement and combat, and I had trouble seeing around Cole and figuring out what was going on at times. The camera also moves very fast with even the most gentle of hands on the right analog stick.
Cole's newest adventure isn't likely to change what you loved (or hated) about the original inFamous, but it does seem to be delivering a more fluid and polished experience, which will hopefully offer more variety as well. At the very least it already has a much more vibrant and unique visual flare. You can look forward to inFamous 2 releasing on June 7th in North America.