As Uncle Ben said in Spider-Man, "With great power comes great responsibility," a statement that seems to fit perfectly with the super-hero theme in this Sucker Punch game.
Although it's not an exclusive headliner from Sony, Infamous secured a place in the collective hearts of PlayStation 3 players with two quality titles. This third game, however, has a bigger weight on its shoulders. After the launch title duo of Killzone: Shadow Fall and Knack, Infamous: Second Son lands as the first great PS4 exclusive for 2014, and it has a responsibility to show off exactly what the console is capable of.
Gamereactor had the opportunity to visit Sony's office to try out Infamous: Second Son, a game which marks a new step for the series. Besides the transition to the PS4, there are other notable changes. For the first time Cole MacGrath is not the protagonist, handing centre stage over to rookie Delsin Rowe, a character who isn't limited to electrical powers. As for the setting, Sucker Punch decided to leave the previous fictional cities and instead focus on a faithful recreation of Seattle, the city where the studio's located.
Infamous: Second Son is set (roughly) seven years after the events of Infamous 2. [Spoiler alert]: as there were two possible endings to that game, Sucker Punch opted to choose the "good" ending as cannon, where Cole MacGrath activated the device that destroyed all Conduits, including himself, in order to stop the 'Beast'. But apparently the radius of the explosion wasn't enough to destroy all of the Conduits, and many managed to survive the incident. [Spoiler end]
After experiencing the devastating power of the Beast, which resulted in the destruction of Empire City, the U.S. government formed the DUP (Department of Unified Protection). Most of the country's major cities are now fiercely guarded so as to identify the activities of, and imprison, any conduits, now classified as 'bio-terrorists'. This leads us to Seattle and Delsin Rowe.
Unlike Cole, whose powers were focused on electricity, Delsin has a different trick; he can copy the powers of other conduits, which opens a much greater range of possibilities. Delsin is, in many ways, the opposite of Cole. While the previous hero condemned the fact that he was a Conduit, Delsin loves having these powers and does not hesitate to show it. But this is the general trait of his irreverent personality, since players can, as usual in this series, choose between good and bad.
In the section that we had access to, we could choose between two options. The sequence occurs immediately after the meeting between Delsin and Fetch (you can see more in the trailer above). Reggie Rowe, Delsin's brother, intends to deliver Fetch to the DUP, an idea Delsin rejects immediately. Here you can choose how you handle the situation.
Delsin can convince his brother with a more measured approach, or he can simply use force, imposing on Reggie with his powers. Regardless of the choice, Delsin will secure the release of Fetch and gain her friendship, but the subsequent missions then play out in a way that's influenced by that decision.
If you choose the 'good' option, Fetch will help identify boats that carry drugs and then destroy them. If you choose the 'bad' decision, she will fight against the DUP and anti-bio-terrorist protesters. Both missions take place at night, which seemed the perfect opportunity to showcase the game's impressive graphics.
Infamous: Second Son is probably the best-looking title on PlayStation 4 we 've seen so far. The highly detailed models, the lighting effects, high-resolution textures, the amount of particles on the screen... Infamous: Second Son is an undisputed visual treat. What is even more impressive, considering that this is an open world game, is that there's a fluidity to the action that seems very high. We do not know if it's running at 60 frames per second, but it seems to be well over 30.
As for the game itself, it seemed like a classic Infamous experience. The controls handle wonderfully, both in the movement of the character and in the combat sequences. As always, the game offers tremendous verticality and Delsin climb buildings and environmental objects with the same ease as Cole. Incidentally, Delsin has even more options to choose from. With the smoke powers, Delsin can transport himself through vents, rapidly reaching the rooftops. With the powers of neon, he can be transformed into light, sliding up and down the sides of buildings with the same ease as he runs on the ground.
As for the action, it behaves similarly to other Infamous titles. The combat still works as a shooter in disguise. You point and shoot, firing either projectiles made of fire or light (neon). If you want you can also use physical attacks, because now you can get close to your enemies with greater ease.
At this point of the game, Delsin did not have many powers at his disposal, but there's already some noticeable differences between the smoke and neon powers on display. The first seemed slightly more destructive and furious, while neon is best for navigating the environment, as well as offering greater accuracy (aiming with neon will even slow down the action for a few seconds). We also noticed that the powers changed slightly regarding the choice we made (good or bad), but the demo was too limited to really see how this would really impact them.
The exploration area in Seattle was also limited, but it showed us that it'll look similar to the previous Infamous structure, with areas controlled by the DUP that the player needs to wrestle from their influence. There are even small temporary prisons/cages where prisoners held by the DUP can be freed.
Infamous: Second Son will offer an experience very faithful to the previous two games, with all the good and bad that comes with it. We noticed, for example, that the AI continues to be somewhat disappointing, being more of a challenge thanks to the sheer number of enemies rather than due to planned and intelligent behavior. Anyway, in this demo Delsin was invincible, so it is hard to feel out the difficulty of the game.
This experience with Infamous: Second Son showed us just a small amount of the final product, and doesn't allow us to draw any conclusions about the overall quality we can expect, but it was an appetising taster.
In technical terms it's fantastic, so we can already guarantee that it's going to look the part. If you want a game that demonstrates the graphical capabilities of the PlayStation 4, Infamous: Second Son is the perfect example. For the rest, we will have to wait and see, but judging by the demo, Second Son has all the ingredients to appeal to fans of the series.