InFAMOUD’s E3 2013 coverage by David Nieves.
Today behind closed doors, Sony owned, game developer Sucker Punch demoed their next-gen pioneering title Infamous: Second Son. Many gamers have bombarded the Internet, since its first showing in February, with concerns about this game simply being more of the same we saw in the PS3 era. Fear not, it’s safe to say Sucker Punch isn’t just putting out a follow up to the Infamous franchise; they’re giving gamers an evolutionary leap in the series.
Second Son blazes a trail in to next-gen hardware while still keeping the precedents that made the first two Infamous 1&2, PlayStation 3 classics. The game still puts choice at the core of the experience. As the player, your decisions in the game will affect the evolution of your character in terms of what powers he will acquire and strengthen. Because it’s an Infamous title, gamers can expect a massive open world to explore and practice parkour in.
No longer will gamers control previous protagonist Cole MacGrath. The game takes place seven years after Cole’s path of destruction in New Marias from Infamous 2. Instead, players will get an all-new punk rock protagonist Delsin Rowe. This new character feels different from MacGrath in every way. Where Cole was brooding and in need of a hug, Delsin is cocky and proud. Everything about this character lends to his persona including his X-men like mutant pride in his new powers.
Infamous: SS also sports the franchise’s first real world setting. The story takes place in a martial law run, Seattle. Acting as big brother, the Department of United Protection or DUP oppresses the people of the city while capturing conduits now known as bioterrorist. The freedom-fighting plot gives the game a perfect excuse to show off huge amounts of player-initiated destruction all over the mega city. It almost feels like a scale model of the entire city set in the most gorgeous lighting, not even seen in the real life Seattle. The lighting effects are all in real time; blurring the line between cut scene and in game action. The investment of motion capture, from Sony, helps to illustrate Delsin’s personality quirks in game. You can actually see the smirk on his face grow while pounding his enemies. These expressions make event transitions in the game so smooth and help to illustrate the arrogant nature of Delsin’s personality.
This is the first game to show what a “next-gen” blockbuster should look like. The colors are so different from previous games. Here Infamous: SS sports a more warm vividness and the textures of the city are so sharp, you can almost feel what they’re like in your other senses. Cutscenes in game make Metal Gear Solid 4 look like a children’s coloring book, fans will want them in their eyeballs now.
Gameplay uses similar elements to previous games, but they turn the dial up to 11 with each of them. Delsin’s new smoke powers allow him to travel all over Seattle much like Cole did in the first Infamous. However, instead of riding electrical poles to the top of buildings, Delsin sling shots up vents to the sky and glides through the air. Much like the AMP weapon in the second game, Delsin sports a, Ghost Rider like, chain around his forearm. Not only is this a melee weapon for him, but it also acts as a cipher for each of his powers. Where Cole’s previous weapon only worked with electrical powers, Delsin’s chain will also work in different ways with alternate powers he acquires. For an anarchist punk character, it truly is the perfect weapon.
Combat is streamlined and simplified to a more Arkham style of easy button combinations. The game also makes use of the new DualShock 4 controller by replacing mutton mash sequences with finger movements on the touchpad. In one instance Delsin is disabling a communication array and where current gen games would require you to rapidly press the triangle button, here the player swipes the touchpad with a lifting motion. It’s a small but effective way to get games to start incorporating the more interactive technology Sony is pushing on hardcore gamers.
Most intriguing aspect to this PS4 exclusive is the commitment to creating the most non-linear experience in story-based gaming. This game will have more emphasis on progression, players will want to explore and acquire new (unannounced) powers, not just activate the next story point. Every set of powers will lead to different combinations and different ways of playing through the game.
Infamous: Second Son should be on every hardcore gamer’s radar. It’s poised to help Sony capture everyone’s wallet as the PlayStation 4’s first exclusive killer app. The game is set to release in the PS4’s launch window sometime in early 2014.