Infamous 2 First Impressions - Got a bad case of UGC

Infamous 1 is the game that in my eyes justified my purchase of a PS3. It did so many things well and blended them into a really unique game. It was a strange mash up of Sly Cooper-esque platforming, crazy super powers, a comic book style story and brilliantly realised city.

And now, Infamous 2 is out. It came out today (yesterday technically) and of course I picked it up.

For various reasons I've only really sunk about an hour into the game so far but I have to say, it seems like the core mechanics are the same, but the design of everything around them is so much better. The city feels even more realistic, with a more natural colour pallet (the first game suffered from lots of near greyscale areas) and the power system has been expanded. Like I said, I'm only about an hour in so I haven't even unlocked any new powers yet.

But honestly, I didn't make this post to talk about the gameplay. The game plays like the first but with a MUCH better framerate, and other improvements everywhere. But that's not what has impressed me most so far. The thing that has? UGC.

UGC stands for User Generated Content, not really something that is expected from a large open world action-platformer. It shouldn't work, it doesn't sound like it would work...But somehow it just does.

Infamous 2's UGC doesn't allow you to say, create a city, but it does let you use any area of New Marais to create your own missions, similar to the ones in the game. The tools seem relatively simple but also very clearly allow for a TON of depth as shown from some of the example levels created by Suckerpunch, and the full levels people have started to upload. These missions are integrated incredibly smartly into the world, simply using mission markers like any of the story missions, but green instead of Yellow or White, which missions appear on your map is dictated by a filter that you can set up in a menu that makes it really easy to surf through different types of levels.

For example, I set the filter to Featured to start with and went to the closest mission, a Suckerpunch example level that involved a giant disco ball murdering people, and Cole needing to throw propane canisters at it at appropriate times to take it down. Despite the appearance of a random giant murderous disco ball, this missions played pretty much like something from the game, or even the first game. But that's still really impressive. If more people keep making high quality levels like it then this UGC feature will be fantastic. At the moment, a lot of them don't seem to be there. Even this Suckerpunch one had a mission-breaking bug in it that caused me to restart the mission, but UNTIL that point, the quality was similar to that of a story mission, with multiple stages to the progression of it. But over time as people get used to the tools I expect the quality of the missions will increase, and I look forward to it.

That said, I don't come to Mods (which is essentially what this is) to play missions that feel like they could have been in the game. I come for the fucked up insane shit and in my short exploration of UGC, it delivered. The mission I found was simply "New Level" assumably the default name for missions, I spotted this excitingly named level and traveled to it to find out what it was. I mean why not? It turned out to be a platforming level that spawned various rails for you to run along to follow giant yellow arrows. These rails ended up leading to a grind cable (something that isn't placeable by the editor) which then lead to giant tankers of gas floating in the air, some of them spinning. The result being a really fun and challenging platformer level that I can just tell is what this feature will be used for. People are going to make insane, nearly broken, super difficult platforming sequences. 

And I totally dig that.

8 Comments
8 Comments
Posted by Protome

Infamous 1 is the game that in my eyes justified my purchase of a PS3. It did so many things well and blended them into a really unique game. It was a strange mash up of Sly Cooper-esque platforming, crazy super powers, a comic book style story and brilliantly realised city.

And now, Infamous 2 is out. It came out today (yesterday technically) and of course I picked it up.

For various reasons I've only really sunk about an hour into the game so far but I have to say, it seems like the core mechanics are the same, but the design of everything around them is so much better. The city feels even more realistic, with a more natural colour pallet (the first game suffered from lots of near greyscale areas) and the power system has been expanded. Like I said, I'm only about an hour in so I haven't even unlocked any new powers yet.

But honestly, I didn't make this post to talk about the gameplay. The game plays like the first but with a MUCH better framerate, and other improvements everywhere. But that's not what has impressed me most so far. The thing that has? UGC.

UGC stands for User Generated Content, not really something that is expected from a large open world action-platformer. It shouldn't work, it doesn't sound like it would work...But somehow it just does.

Infamous 2's UGC doesn't allow you to say, create a city, but it does let you use any area of New Marais to create your own missions, similar to the ones in the game. The tools seem relatively simple but also very clearly allow for a TON of depth as shown from some of the example levels created by Suckerpunch, and the full levels people have started to upload. These missions are integrated incredibly smartly into the world, simply using mission markers like any of the story missions, but green instead of Yellow or White, which missions appear on your map is dictated by a filter that you can set up in a menu that makes it really easy to surf through different types of levels.

For example, I set the filter to Featured to start with and went to the closest mission, a Suckerpunch example level that involved a giant disco ball murdering people, and Cole needing to throw propane canisters at it at appropriate times to take it down. Despite the appearance of a random giant murderous disco ball, this missions played pretty much like something from the game, or even the first game. But that's still really impressive. If more people keep making high quality levels like it then this UGC feature will be fantastic. At the moment, a lot of them don't seem to be there. Even this Suckerpunch one had a mission-breaking bug in it that caused me to restart the mission, but UNTIL that point, the quality was similar to that of a story mission, with multiple stages to the progression of it. But over time as people get used to the tools I expect the quality of the missions will increase, and I look forward to it.

That said, I don't come to Mods (which is essentially what this is) to play missions that feel like they could have been in the game. I come for the fucked up insane shit and in my short exploration of UGC, it delivered. The mission I found was simply "New Level" assumably the default name for missions, I spotted this excitingly named level and traveled to it to find out what it was. I mean why not? It turned out to be a platforming level that spawned various rails for you to run along to follow giant yellow arrows. These rails ended up leading to a grind cable (something that isn't placeable by the editor) which then lead to giant tankers of gas floating in the air, some of them spinning. The result being a really fun and challenging platformer level that I can just tell is what this feature will be used for. People are going to make insane, nearly broken, super difficult platforming sequences. 

And I totally dig that.

Posted by the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG

i was confused what UGC standed for...  i feel dumb now.  i have been excited for this game ever since i ended the first one (holy shit the ending was good) and i really cant wait until i get it.  im assuming this game isnt going to end as a conclusion to the series?

Posted by Dolphin_Butter

@the_OFFICIAL_jAPanese_teaBAG: User-Generated Content. :)

Posted by probablytuna

Yeah I got my copy a few days ago. Only played the introduction as well. I'm liking what I played so far, though there's just this one tiny criticism I have is that when I move the left stick around and it's near certain objects, Cole would automatically jump and balance himself on said object. It's supposed to make traversing easier but it feels very counter-intuitive for me. Also they should've made R2 the 'Drain electricity' button. That's just small nitpick though.

Posted by Branthog

I didn't get the point of UGC. I found it to be the worst looking parts of the game, the least fun, and after attempting two of them, never touched them again. They aren't needed to finish the game whatsoever and once you've finished the game, I don't see why I'd have any interest in going back to do them. Also, the ones I was presented with were probably cream of the crop, since they all were from SuckerPunch, themselves.

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai

@Branthog said:

I didn't get the point of UGC. I found it to be the worst looking parts of the game, the least fun, and after attempting two of them, never touched them again. They aren't needed to finish the game whatsoever and once you've finished the game, I don't see why I'd have any interest in going back to do them. Also, the ones I was presented with were probably cream of the crop, since they all were from SuckerPunch, themselves.

You should have tried more than two.

There have definitely been some pretty stupid ones. I don't particularly enjoy the ring races or the generic "protect this crowd of people" ones, but I have found 5 or so really fantastic ones that had intriguing concepts and totally crazy gameplay (out of the ten or so I've tried). One of my favourites, just for its sheer stupidity, was a memory game where you had to identify the bad guys on wooden pallets that you had been shown.

Posted by Meowshi

Your title lead me to believe this post would be negative.

Posted by SpanxMcFranks

I had the problem of wanting to do every mission that was on my map so I ended up turning off UGC. I did play a few of the Sucker Punch made missions though and it seemed like it could be fun.