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Infamous 3 Wishlist

by Joe Juba on Jun 30, 2011 at 07:48 AM

Sucker Punch has made strides toward making Infamous one of the PlayStation 3’s defining franchises. With two games complete, we can only assume the studio has already started planning the third installment. We don’t know what’s in store for the electrified hero in the future, but we looked at Infamous 1 and 2 to see what worked, what didn’t, and what needs tuning to come up with this spoiler-free wishlist for Infamous 3.

Stick With Cole
The early redesign of Cole was an interesting attempt to redefine the character for Infamous 2, but fan outcry caused the team to go back to a more classic look. That should say something about how attached gamers are to Cole as the hero. In Infamous 3, Sucker Punch has an opportunity to continue with Cole or pursue a new protagonist. Cole has been the face of Infamous up until now, and we’d like him to stick it out for one more game. You know, at least see the trilogy through.

Evolved Powers
When Infamous 2 was revealed, the team at Sucker Punch explained that it was about Cole building on his powers and becoming a “super-superhero.” Once the game released, however, we got a practically unexplained version of a tried-and-true video game crutch: “Oops, You Lost Your Powers.” Cole then slowly regained them as the game progressed. For Infamous 3, we’d like to see Cole’s existing powers expand, not just be re-acquired in a slightly different form. A power’s evolution could involve various forms and applications, or have multiple branching paths that you can invest in. Cole should feel like he is getting more powerful with each installment…and waiting until the game is three-quarters done before earning back the ability to shoot rockets doesn’t accomplish that.

Exploit Enemy Weaknesses
The freedom to take down enemies however you want is part of the fun in Infamous. Even so, blasting through the same groups of soldiers with the same bag of tricks gets a little old (especially when you don’t have your full array of powers – see point above). The team at Sucker Punch could spice up the routine by adding more enemies that require special tactics, due to either specific weaknesses or invulnerabilities. Infamous 2 has a few of these, but adding more into regular encounters could help keep players on their toes. This isn’t a question of making battles harder; it’s more about adding variety to how you approach fights and avoiding situations where you just plug away at enemies with 15 lightning bolts before they eventually go down.

Keep The Stunts
Getting extra experience for hitting multiple enemies with a grenade or zapping a flying enemy is gratifying, and it gives players a fun reward for experimentation. These kinds of stunts were expanded for Infamous 2, and we’d like to see that trend continue for the next installment. We’d also like to see them removed from the core power progression (why does performing precision headshots unlock cluster grenades?), but other in-game rewards would be fun to work toward.

Next up: karma, villains, and sidekicks...

Demagnetize Surfaces
When you’re scaling various buildings, lampposts, and electrical cables, landing where you want can be tricky. In Infamous, Sucker Punch attempts to make travel easier by making many objects “magnetic,” meaning that the game senses your intent and automatically draws Cole closer to where it thinks he’s trying to go. A little bit of this assistance is barely noticeable, but Infamous uses it extensively. This heavy snap-to effect and inconsistent navigation often make it difficult to get where you want to go because the game is “helping” you go someplace else. For Infamous 3, turn this down, please.

A Cool Villain
The most popular superheroes usually have a definitive nemesis. Just look at Batman vs. The Joker, Professor X vs. Magneto, or Superman vs. Lex Luthor. This is something that Infamous still hasn’t nailed. From the end of the first Infamous, it seemed like the Beast was going to occupy the position of archvillain. That didn’t pan out, and Bertrand certainly wasn’t cool enough to pick up the torch. So far Kessler has been the best of the bunch, but any fan of the series knows that there are…complications….to introducing him as a persistent villain. One of the core aspects of the superhero myth that Infamous is missing is the recurring opponent who is an even match for the hero.

Karma Overhaul
Yeah, we get it. Infamous is about being the hero you want to be, good or evil. While that may sound cool, the integration of morality in the series has been uneven at best. Occasionally choosing between good or evil side missions doesn’t do enough to drive home the impact of your choices, especially when many story missions give you no choice in how you handle the situation. In Infamous 3, the karma system should be broken down and rebuilt. Choices should be a key element in every mission, not just isolated occurrences. Infamous 2 was too concerned about letting players change their minds with regards to karma. If you decide to play a game as a good guy, do you ever change your mind mid-game and decide to be evil? Most gamers have made that decision before they even start playing.

Fighting alongside Nix and Kuo in Infamous 2 was fun, but they only showed up for certain missions, and only sporadically. That means players never got a sense of how they fight or how they can work together with Cole. In Infamous 3, we’d like to see the sidekick concept fleshed out more, having them more present in the missions and with a clear set of capabilities. Maybe they could even be upgraded or trained like the Brotherhood from Assassin’s Creed. Cole could take some young conduits under his wing, or maybe they just want to impress him. Whatever the story reason, more allies would add a cool extra dimension to combat.

Melee Refinement
Tweaking the melee combat was an excellent move for Infamous 2, but the system still has room to grow. As it stands, melee is best as a last resort used only when enemies get too close, because nearly everyone else has guns and will pepper you with bullets as you swing your weapon. But what if melee were a viable upgrade path? Cole could learn different combos, and augment his strikes with different powers. Don’t transform the game to a Devil May Cry clone, but maybe Sucker Punch could learn something from that genre about how to balance ranged and melee combat.

We’re not saying we want to see two Coles tromping around the city simultaneously. However, games like Crackdown have demonstrated how fun super-powered city exploration can be with a friend, and Infamous 3 could easily tap into that well. Even if it’s separate from the main story, a pair of conduits using their powers and completing missions side-by-side would be a great way to delve into the other possible powers of the Infamous universe without being tethered to Cole’s electrical affinity.

What do you want to see in Infamous 3? Share your thoughts in the comments below.