Be Good, Be Evil In inFamous

We played inFamous at Sony's GDC PlayStation Lounge today, giving us our first hands-on with the PlayStation 3 exclusive from Sucker Punch and our first look at the game's newly revealed karma system.

It's pretty straightforward and not exactly a trailblazing concept—similar mechanisms have been fully explored in popular games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Fable—but the option to be a good guy or a plain old meanie adds replayability to the open world superhero (or super-anti-hero) game.

It also gives players a chance to shoot red lightning. And that's cool.

inFamous' karma system relies on a series of moments and decisions that will determine whether protagonist Cole is well regarded as a "Hero" or feared as an "Infamous" super-powered force. These include things as straightforward as inflicting damage on civilians or less obvious, like choosing a representative propaganda poster that conveys either heroism or intimidation.

Cole's good-standing with the inFamous populace is ever present in the game's HUD, showing how heroic or infamous he is.

It will also be present in his electric powers, giving off an electric blue or eerie red glow. As Cole's powers progress, in either good or bad flavors, they'll be influenced by the choices you make. Cole's lightning grenade power, for example, appears to be far more deadly when red and evil. Similarly, his shockwave power exerts more force and sweeps through a larger area when approaching the blue heroic levels.

There's more to the karma system than how the game's powers evolve, including how Cole's status affects the city as a whole. When good, the city has a brighter, more lively appearance, teeming with life. When being bad, its citizens are more obviously despondent, with a darker tone and visual style.

We'll have more impressions from our extended playtime with inFamous later this week.