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InFamous Vs. Crackdown

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We’ll have more impressions on InFamous later this week, when it’s shown at E3 (I’m not there, but two members of Play are). For now, though, I think it’s worth comparing it to the excellent 360-exclusive game Crackdown, which became notorious last year for its bundling with the Halo 3 beta, rather than the quality of the game itself. With RealTime Worlds developing free-roaming MMO APB for the 360, I’m turning to Sucker Punch’s InFamous for my superheroic kicks. Given that Spider-Man: Web Of Shadows seems to be going in the horrid direction of Spider-Man 3, InFamous is poised to be a standout superhero release on the PS3.

Sucker Punch developed the Sly Cooper games, so they defintely have pedigree. How then, do InFamous and Crackdown compare, at this point?

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Premise

In Crackdown, you play as an agent of the Peacekeepers, and the aim is to clear the city of criminal activity. Each island of the city is controlled by a specific gang. In InFamous, you play an everyman type named Dylan, who is granted mighty powers by a catastrophic, six-block explosion. You can choose the path between hero and villain.

Verdict: InFamous sounds a little more high stakes than Crackdown, which begins in a rather subdued way. The value of what you’re doing in Crackdown doesn’t become apparent until you’ve leveled up each superpower, but InFamous promises something instantaneous, and comic book-like.

Powers

Many of Crackdown’s abilities are dependent on firearms and collectables, while InFamous appears to focus on sci-fi-oriented powers. Apparently, Dylan’s powers are electric-based, which enables the use of shields, energy balls and basic shots of electricity from his hands.

Verdict: Crackdown’s superpowers expand slowly and with some depth, whereas InFamous sounds a little more basic. Sadly, you can’t level-up Dylan’s jumping and climbing abilities in InFamous, which was actually Crackdown’s strongest facet.

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Setting

Crackdown’s setting was fairly realistic, ignoring the impression given by the cel-shaded graphics. Despite being under mob rule, the actual geography of Pacific City was never altered to reflect this. InFamous, similar to Vivendi’s Prototype, has a city in a permanent state of unrest, and the concept art of Empire City suggests that the landscape will undergo some alterations.

Verdict: There was something therapeutic about the easy-going streets of Pacific City, but Empire City’s frantic circumstances should instigate a more uneasy, survivalist aspect to the game. Very little of Crackdown’s setting is derivative, or wasted; here’s hoping Sucker Punch can achieve the same thing.