Delsin clearly doesn’t have a particularly easy time of it, even though he’s got super powers and abilities coming out of his ears. Sitting down to play through a fairly short demo, one which has admittedly been doing the rounds for a while, it was great to see just how everything really comes together, even as just a sneak peak of what it will ultimately entail.
It all goes wrong when Delsin tries to pass through a DUP checkpoint, using the touchpad to get you to provide a finger print scan that sets the alarm bells ringing and starts the carnage, as your brother disappears off on a separate mission.
The close up of Delsin’s face during the cinematic is just one moment that shows off the remarkable graphics that are coming out of the PS4. Not just being able to capture the minutiae of Troy Baker’s quirky, roguish performance, but render it with startling precision, in a version of Seattle which is packed full of stunning detail.
Civilians scatter and the DUP forces fall back to a more defensible position, as I chase after them. It’s quite a miserable day in Seattle, with fairly low hanging clouds and a light drizzle, but there’s also a lot of vibrant colours that pop out at you.
There’s a lot of neon lights, which we’ll come back to, while the DUP in particular are easily highlighted by the yellows of their armour, making them easy to pick out and target. Combat should feel fairly familiar to those who have played the first two inFamous games, but it’s greatly streamlined and faster paced.
You no longer need to hold down a button to aim before firing, with a crosshair always visible on screen, but Delsin’s powers afford him a lot more flexibility. Exploding into a dense cloud of smoke, ash and fire, he can leap forward very quickly, closing the gap to an enemy before slicing through the air with a glowing hot chain, or he can pass through vents on the ground floor, before shooting out of the top of a building and gliding across to come smashing down to the ground in a blast of ash.
Things get even more interesting when you add the neon-based powers into the mix. Don’t ask me how “neon” can be a super power, but it seems to work well for Delsin, replacing his smoke abilities until he next absorbs that element. This one point lays the foundations for some intriguing situations deeper into the game, where you are starved of the element that you really want, pushing you out of your comfort zone.
Of the neon abilities themselves, they differ from the smoke by not having a dedicated melee attack, with an emphasis on the ranged and what seems to be an increased level of mobility with longer dashes which allow you to perform slams more easily, leaving beautiful light trails behind you. Again, it points towards Sucker Punch playing around with giving you different skill sets to play with and more variety.
However, regardless of the powers, it simply wouldn’t be a particularly challenging super powered game without enemies that could go toe to toe with you. Thankfully, though the DUP acronym screams ineptitude to me, they don’t go down without a fight.
One or two hits and they’re out for the count, granted, but they’re not enemies without a little nous, and bring their own powers to the table. It surprised me, but I found large flaming balls being hurled my way, and they were able to leap large distances, leaving columns of ash in their wake. Are the DUP turning a form of Delsin’s powers against him?
Either way, I got a look at what happens when you take too much damage, as the largely HUD-free screen drained of colour and I had to retreat and let my health recharge.
Their emplacements are dotted around the city, and mark some of the more destructible elements in the game, with towers that can be smashed to the floor, making further use of the game’s physics engine, as well as the ultimate objective of the demo: a mobile command centre to take down.
Breaking this, fighting through tons of DUP goons in the process before engaging in another moment of touchpad interaction to overheat the generator led to the end game moment. A minigun wielding soldier rocking up to the battle, to show that the DUP really mean business and aren’t exactly the most pleasant of government agencies, and letting me use that simply spectacular Karmic Power, rocketing up into the sky, before crashing back down to ground and unleashing hell upon everyone underneath.
From just a short demo, there was a lot to take in, whether it’s the utterly gorgeous setting and graphics, the way the powers contrast with one another and stay separate or the fleeting glimpses of what else to come. As a big fan of the first two, I can’t wait to see what else Sucker Punch have in store.