inFamous: Second Son Preview
inFamous is one of the best new IPs of the current generation, in my honest opinion. The combination of fast-paced superhero-esque action and open-world exploration is highly enjoyable; running around the city with such awesome power just never gets old. In the upcoming sequel, which will launch on the PlayStation 4 in February, we’ll visit the city of Seattle and you know, I get this feeling that the Space Needle could be in imminent danger. New protagonist Delsin Rowe exists in a much more destructible environment, after all…
Speaking of Delsin, it’s interesting to note that his new power is derived from smoke, not electricity. In the first two entries, Cole MacGrath used electricity to fuel his lightning-driven attacks, and he’d drain the requisite electricity from street lights, rooftop fans, etc. Delsin tosses fireballs and to do so, he needs smoke. But the new effort doesn’t merely offer this cosmetic shift; the gameplay seems deeper and more versatile. We’ll get multiple powers this time around (they’re not just limited to fire), and Delsin will even be able to go stealthy when necessary. And he appears to have a bit more of an established personality as compared to Cole.
Another aspect of the new production will be choice. We’ve had to make a few choices in past inFamous adventures, but although some were critical, these opportunities didn’t come around often. The way Sucker Punch is describing Second Son, it seems we’ll have more chances to make significant choices with Delsin. This doesn’t mean it’ll adopt a wide array of branching storylines one might find in role-playing games, but I’m hoping to be faced with several tough decisions. And hopefully, those decisions will have a direct impact on the storyline. That being said, the focus should remain squarely on the gameplay.
And speaking of gameplay, the footage we’ve seen thus far does indeed highlight a much more destructible environment. Delsin can cause all sorts of property damage, which will undoubtedly prove helpful when caught in the midst of huge battles. His ability to speed forward or rocket into the air at a moment’s notice should also be pretty darn useful. By the way, one of the reasons this wonderfully detailed backdrop is so realistic is because Sucker Punch HQ is in Seattle. So, it was just a matter of heading out the door and doing the requisite research, which sounds like tons o’ fun. More than cars will go boom in the new inFamous!
For the most part, we should know what to expect when it comes to the gameplay. It will likely control very much like past installments, and I’m betting we’ll see a similar skill tree as well. As for the decision to go the good or evil route, that should return as well. However, one should remember that Sucker Punch is attempting to tell a slightly more serious story this time around. The developer has said that the protagonist essentially represents freedom, and the question at the core of the experience is: “What would happen if, with Big Brother watching everything and clamping down, a few humans suddenly developed superpowers?”
Me, I want to experiment with this concept of grabbing other super-humans – and there should be quite a few in the game, besides Delsin – and somehow absorbing their abilities. Will we have to hunt them down and take those skills? Or is it like a trade? Either way, it makes character progression feel more dynamic. And in the end, when you’re dashing about, leveling entire buildings and laying waste to anything in your path, you’ll probably have a smile on your face. inFamous excels at that— making you grin. And when Second Son drops early next year, I’ve no doubt it’ll be a must-play for all new PS4 owners. Well, I'm about 94.2% sure.
9/10/2013 Ben Dutka