Crispy Gamer

The Five: Infamous

The 10-cent tour: Sucker Punch -- the studio behind the hit Sly Cooper PlayStation 2 franchise -- steps onto the PlayStation 3 stage with a new character and a more mature tone. An all-new superhero saga debuts in this console exclusive as urban explorer Cole McGrath suddenly finds himself able to manipulate electricity.

1. The catastrophe that grants Cole his powers leaves his fictional hometown of Empire City teetering on the brink of total collapse and ordinary citizens don't know whom to trust. Cole can use his powers to heal or kill and Empire's denizens will react accordingly as you play through the game. Whether Cole winds up being a hero or villain will be decided by the way you play, and the studio reps teased that NPC reactions could even influence the way your powers grow.

2. As you unlock the city's neighborhoods a bit at a time, you'll encounter lots of ne'er-do-wells trying to take advantage of the societal breakdown. In the game's Neon District, Cole went up against a gang called the Reapers that's been abducting people for unknown purposes. As Cole took them out, his lightning strikes arced from car to lamppost to multiple bad guys.

3. Cole won't be the only super-powered person on the streets of Empire City, either. He'll have to face down other meta-humans in his quest to redeem or control the beleaguered metropolis. One such baddie appeared to have geo-morphing powers, attacking Cole with shockwaves that rippled through the asphalt.

4. Infamous' stylized comic-book presentation gives players the sensation of flying through animated comic-book panels. Of course, every superhero's gotta have a telltale weakness, and the folks from Sucker Punch hinted that players controlling Cole may want to take care to stay away from water.

5. Being an urban explorer means that Cole roamed through the city's forgotten areas, both aboveground and below the streets. Cole may be grittier than the studio's roguish raccoon, but you should still expect a lot of acrobatic movement in addition to all the high-voltage zapping.

The Crispy Forecast: Outlook is sunny. We're thrilled to see a new intellectual property that could correct a lot of the flaws that plague licensed superhero games. The build we watched moved smoothly, with almost no chugging or clipping. Though it looked a tad underpopulated, Empire City seemed rife with grimy details and broken environments waiting to be discovered. Hopefully, more people will be walking the city's streets as development continues.

This preview is based on a publisher-driven demo that took place behind closed doors at E3 2008. This game is expected to be released in the spring of 2009.