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inFamous Second Son: Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

You are not in control.

Set to launch in early 2014, inFamous Second Son may be arriving late to the party but is definitely one to watch, already bearing the hallmarks of a next-gen flagship.

Let’s begin with what we already know. Developed by Sucker Punch, Second Son is somewhat of a new start for the series. Set eight years after the events of inFamous 2, the Sly studio have retired Cole McGrath and America’s East Coast in favour of a new character and setting.

Fire against fire: Despite cracking down on super-humans, the DUP has a few Conduits of its own.

Origin Story

  • Delsin is of Native American descent, rebellious and big on expressive street art. After saving passengers from a roadside accident he discovers that he can direct and manipulate smoke. He also has a brother, Reggie, a Seattle cop constantly getting him out of trouble.

This time around we’re playing as Delsin Rowe, a hot-headed, twenty-something brought up by his Native American family just out of Seattle. With a penchant for mischief and a distaste for control, he’s immediately separable from Cole McGrath and serves as the perfect gateway into Second Son’s futuristic, paranoid depiction of America.

When deciding where to take the series next, Sucker Punch opted for inFamous 2’s “Good” karmic ending as a springboard. Not only was it the most logical choice in terms of continuity; by analysing trophy data Sucker Punch found it reflected the decisions of most players during their initial playthroughs.

To recap, Cole sacrifices himself to destroy an apocalyptic entity known as The Beast. In doing so he stamps out a growing pandemic, killing hundreds of Conduits in the process – super-humans, many of whom were not even aware of their powers. Before the credits even started to roll, Sucker Punch had successfully tied up Cole’s saga whilst creating network of potential protagonists to pick up the torch after his departure.

Eight years later, Conduits are on the run. A government agency known as the DUP is looking to snare every would-be super hero or villain up and down the country. All of sudden America, this so-called land of the free, becomes a place of fear, paranoia and censorship. However, not everyone is prepared to surrender willingly and, after discovering powers of his own, Delsin takes the fight to the DUP in a bid to reclaim the city.

As touched on before, Delsin and Cole are both worlds apart. Where Cole was somewhat dubious and unsure of how to use his powers, Delsin embraces it as a blessing. Like previous games in the series, Second Son will feature a karma system though, by default, our new protagonist is already treading the fringes. He may be much more overt and reckless than Cole, yet Delsin stays true to his motives, whichever direction players decide to push him.

The section of gameplay we got to see was taken from a relatively early portion of Second Son, the same that was demoed during this year’s E3. As soon as the game loads we’re immediately dropped into Seattle with the iconic Space Needle in close proximity. Occupied by DUP forces, the landmark is one of many bases in Second Son which can be recaptured, similar to how factions and territory were handled in previous iterations.

To win back the area, Delsin can approach the Needle in a number of ways either by air, land, or a seamless combination of both. Though we didn’t get to play the game ourselves, we got an almost tangible sense of how the game plays and, more importantly, how it feels on the Dualshock 4. Still in third person, Second Son combines platforming, shooting and melee combat, spreading the action across huge, explorable environments.

Though navigation has seen a noticeable refinement, its the shooting gameplay that really shines through in Second Son. This time around, lightning bolts have been subbed for smoke projectiles. Not only that, the aiming reticle is always on-screen without needing to hold down L1, eradicating the clunky break in seamlessness that previously existed. This change was introduced after Sucker Punch brought in a specialist from Halo creators, Bungie, making firefights much more fluid and enjoyable to watch.

Voiced and acted by Troy Baker, Deslin Rowe is much more energetic and playful than previous lead, Cole.

Even when out of combat, Second Son is still a feast for the eyes. In creating a vast open world, Sucker Punch pushed themselves to give every inch of Seattle the same amount of detail and attention. From NPC animations to the dynamic reflections found on almost every surface, it’s gorgeous top-to-bottom, easily giving Killzone: Shadow Fall a run for its money.

As players progress, so too will Delsin’s super-human capabilities. Like Cole, he will be able to absorb other powers throughout the game, confirming the presence of other Conduits in Seattle. Though they could confirm that much, Sucker Punch weren’t ready to unveil any potential super-villains or sidekicks we may find in-game.

Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, inFamous Second Son looks like it could be an unforgettable open-world experience, leading Sony’s next-gen stable into 2014.

    Since: Feb 2013

    Ha, now I know how infamous 2 can end :-/ not a big issue, old game and reading an article on another game in the franchise was always gonna be risky.

    Spoiler aside, looking forward to this. 2014 is fine for me as yet to finish number 2. Visually stunning too. This and Watchdogs look to offer great experiences.

    Comment posted on 05/07/2013 at 22:32.
  2. Mr-Flame-Head
    Since: Mar 2009

    I have this on pre-order, even though I havnt completed the first, didn’t start the second yet and bought the stand alone game cos it was vampires. I will complete them at some point but sand box games are no longer my favourite game purely because theres simply too many now. I honestly fear that even though watch dogs looks amazing (as does this) that being an open world I might just get bored and stop playing about 1/3 of the way into the game

    Comment posted on 06/07/2013 at 10:27.
  3. rht992
    Since: Apr 2009

    The Infamous games have been among my favourites on the PS3. This looks to continue that feeling onto the PS4.

    Only thing I could ask is that the Karma system isn’t so obvious.

    Comment posted on 06/07/2013 at 10:54.
  4. plutoniumdragon
    Since: Dec 2008

    Infamous was my favourite game on the PS3, typically (for me!) there were aspects of 1 I preferred over 2 though and I really hope this instalment isn’t going down the Bioshock route of being the same game but not really.
    I have high hopes for it, but I somehow suspect it’s going to be a better game if you *haven’t* previously played the first two…

    Comment posted on 06/07/2013 at 11:50.
  5. LegendishThingy
    Since: Jun 2011

    Really looking forward to this. I loved the first two and the gameplay video shown at E3 really made it look like something special. The apparent huge change in character from Cole to Delsin is really exciting and this will definitely be a day one purchase on my part.

    Comment posted on 06/07/2013 at 13:52.
  6. Broonba
    Since: Mar 2009

    The sooner this comes out the better IMO. Really looking forward to getting this.

    Comment posted on 06/07/2013 at 21:41.
  7. The Von Braun
    Since: Oct 2012

    I liked the 1st Infamous-it clearly needed more time being polished, but then it was ‘rushed out’ so it did’nt clash release date wise with Prototype.

    Infamous 2 i really loved though, really built on the potential of the 1st game, looked better and recently played through to get the ‘Bad’ ending’ and felt like a git for taking the evil path.

    Festival Of Blood (the Infamous 2 DLC) was also superb, so i’m hyped to see what they do with the PS4 hardware.Game does’nt have to set a benchmark in PS4 visuals, just use the potential of the hardware to take the gameplay to new areas and you’ll have delivered.

    This rush for 1080P, 60 FPS,OMG visuals on a ‘Next Gen’ console will not end well, said it so many times, PS4/Xbox One cannot hope to compete again’st a decent PC now, let alone 2 years time.If you want the visuals to die for exp.your going to have to pay for it and that means a PC.

    Nature of the beast.

    Comment posted on 07/07/2013 at 12:41.
  8. Lieutenant Fatman
    Since: Jul 2013

    I really enjoyed the first two games, really good fun, but this one looks like it’s going to be absolutely amazing, I just have that feeling that it’s going to blow people away. Can’t wait to give it a go.

    Comment posted on 08/07/2013 at 10:20.

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