Infamous: Second Son Feels Familiar But Looks Enticing

Superheroes, Seattle style.

by

Sucker Punch knows Seattle. It's the studio's home city, and it's also the setting for their latest game, Infamous: Second Son. My colleague Shaun McInnis and I got to play a short section of the game at a Sony event this week, and it wasn't the gameplay that made the strongest impression on us, but Second Son's take on the Emerald City.

It's not that the gameplay was weak; it's just that it was familiar. Although the hero of Second Son, Delsin Rowe, harnesses the elements of neon and smoke rather than electricity to traverse the city and to either incapacitate or flat-out obliterate his enemies, I felt like I'd stepped back into the stylish messenger gear of previous series protagonist Cole Macgrath as I hovered through the air and zapped bad guys with my powers. My Delsin wasn't fully committed to either a path of good or evil; I sometimes lobbed non-lethal smoke bombs at groups of enemies, and at other times, I zoomed in and pinpointed a bad guy's head as the target of a long-range neon blast.

The Seattle of Second Son may not be an accurate reflection of the real city, but it has a strong sense of identity.

Moral choice in both story sequences and in how you opt to approach combat has always been an element of Infamous, and that remains the case in Second Son. The demo began with a branching choice: having cornered another conduit (that's Infamous lingo for someone with superhuman abilities) named Abigail Walker, you must either persuade her to use her powers for good and enlist her to help you put a dent in the dealings of a drug cartel, or seduce her to the dark side and take her with you as you attack anti-conduit protesters. This left me wondering if Abigail, who goes by the moniker of Fetch, has any personality of her own. Is she so weak-willed that, with a few words, Delsin can mold her into whatever he wants her to be?

Second Son's superpowered combat feels a lot like the superpowered combat of the earlier Infamous games.

The demo didn't dwell on character development, so that question will have to wait to be answered. I walked the path of redemption, and Fetch and I found ourselves at a marina, where I ran around investigating houseboats until I found those being used by drug dealers and tagged them for Fetch to destroy. It was a violent business, but the picturesque waterfront surroundings made it a beautiful business, too. After taking care of this (and fighting dozens of gun-toting criminals in the process), Fetch and I kept to the rooftops as we pursued a truck belonging to the cartel, Fetch leaving a beautiful stream of laser light in her wake to guide me across the city. When the truck came to a stop, there were more criminals to be dealt with, but that was where my demo came to an abrupt end.

Shaun, on the other hand, corrupted Fetch and had her tag along with him as he assaulted people whose only crime was hating conduits and holding up signs making their hatred known. His actions soon attracted the attention of the DUP, a heavily armed anti-conduit agency. He had to fight his way through a tunnel crowded with innocent bystanders and ultimately found himself seemingly cornered by the authorities, though the way Delsin confidently approached his captors made it clear that he had a trick up his sleeve he was just waiting for the right moment to use.

Our missions took us to two separate sections of Seattle, but for both of us, the city seemed a vibrant and inviting place. The neon signs everywhere aren't just a tantalizing source of energy you can drain to fuel your powers; they're also a terrific visual detail, lending the city color and personality, and their pristine brightness serves as a welcome contrast to the smokestacks dotting the city's rooftops that are the other source of your energy. Of course, it wouldn't be Seattle without rain, and I was struck by the way the puddles in the streets so clearly reflected the lights above. And standing on the rooftops, gazing into the distance, I almost wanted to walk away from my mission objectives altogether and just explore, discovering what the different districts of the city looked like. The gameplay may have felt familiar, but in my brief time in Second Son's version of Seattle, the city felt fresh and distinctive among video game open worlds, and it's the pull of the city that's making me want to return to the game when it comes out next month.

Discussion

193 comments
darkspineslayer
darkspineslayer

Yes Caro. Why would I as the player want to feel like I can have an impact on a situation. Much more important to make sure this female NPC thinks for herself. Or, you know, does consider he actions of the main character and make a decision, like people tend to do.

Grishrak
Grishrak

Why is she doing a review of a game from a demo? 


The demo didn't dwell on character development, so that question will have to wait to be answered.

TERMINATOR-SSD
TERMINATOR-SSD

I do hope tho you can change your characters appearance with different outfits, stupid i know but i don't like that outfit look lol


apart from that this game could be something special  

daviz88
daviz88

the more I see this the further away march 21 seems

VR_Verdugo
VR_Verdugo

The gameplay reminds me of Prototype.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

Morality was the weakest and stupidest part of infamous series, I really hope there are actual choicers, rather than a clear out hero and villain choice.

uchihasilver
uchihasilver

this game looks awesome really enjoyed the other two =P P.S microsoft i want more blinx the time detective >.< sony seems the only way to go these days micosofts exclusives are getting weak =( liking the look of spark though and was interested in quantum break until i found out its just going to be another gritty 3rd person shooter -_-

blackzio
blackzio

"Is she so weak-willed that, with a few words, Delsin can mold her into whatever he wants her to be?"

gotta love this, if your actions do make an impact on her she is weak willed, if they don't, your actions are meaningless.


I'd rather have a manipulated character than one that ends the same way anyway.

ABIBASS
ABIBASS

i can already imagine this will be worse than ryse... 

nycprocess
nycprocess

It's funny, FPS games get a lot of flack from certain gamers for being repetitive and not innovative, yet those are the impressions I keep getting from this game. But I guess any genre that's not FPS never becomes stale.

guvnafuzz
guvnafuzz

I wish she went deeper into the mechanics of the game. I've read articles talking how much more refined the mechanics are. I wanted to read more than the they are "familiar" cop out. 

Guest1001
Guest1001

"This left me wondering if Abigail, who goes by the moniker of Fetch, has any personality of her own. Is she so weak-willed that, with a few words, Delsin can mold her into whatever he wants her to be?"

You know, I didn't like the first Infamous game and didn't buy the second. But Carolyn's typical attempt to demonise Infamous: Second Son by crowbarring her irrelevant political position into it actually makes me want to buy the game.

ACWH
ACWH

For me this game can wait until it's on sale for something like £15. Not worth the headline price of £55.

Urizen316
Urizen316

And another PS-exclusive that does nothing to their existing gameplay. Same sh*t, prettier graphics, bigger environments. Just like Killzone before it, and Uncharted before them, and God of War before those. Played one, you've played them all. *yawn* Another 60 bucks for a 6 hour game. hurraaayyy

Dresden05
Dresden05

The Infamous games have always been a bit weird for me in character development. As you can quickly switch between good and evil. 

I know why they did it, but I do like the idea that if you've been evil half the game it shouldn't be possible to then be good. 

The choices you make should have weight and like in Fable where they effect the game environment. 

So if your evil more police or DUP that react to your presence and set up road blocks and if your good the civilians carry round health or set up areas for quicker navigation round the city

R3FURBISHED
R3FURBISHED

Loved the first, second was good but not as good as the first. Second Son looks very good, and I hope it turns out to be as good as it appears to be.

santinegrete
santinegrete

It may take some time before I finally get my hands on this game, but I hope is more familiar to the first one. The second game is good, but the faults the review of this site name are real, and they really bogged my pace. I didn't even care for a second playtrough.

adub424
adub424

I hope the gameplay is better than the first two I need a game to play on PS4.

WhiteStormy
WhiteStormy

I'm really hoping that Sony releases a PS4/Infamous Second Son bundle.

Razor10000
Razor10000

infamous games are awesome. this one looks amazing and the cutscenes are incredible.

fedetaco
fedetaco

I'm worried that Sony franchises may focus more on graphics and not story and game play :/

Grishrak
Grishrak

@ABIBASS  It won't be inFAMOUS is a great series. Ryse's highest score was a 7.5 even inFAMOUS 2's stand alone DLC was rated higher. But you have a good imagination to think this is going to be worse.

uchihasilver
uchihasilver

@ABIBASS  do you really have a need to justify your console purchase that badly

daviz88
daviz88

ENEMY OF PROGRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

blackzio
blackzio

@ABIBASS  thats the dream of any xbone fan, but yeaaa not going to happen. 

Areposo
Areposo

@nycprocess  lo,l perhaps cos there is 50 thousand fps a year, and when you get a game like this, ppl like me who are bored to hell of looking at some dude hand give a free pass to a lot of things

daviz88
daviz88

she's a hipster reviewer , what did you expect?

isildor81
isildor81

@Guest1001  i like the second a lot, for me at least, a game with superb grafics on ps3

ThePowerOfHAT
ThePowerOfHAT

@Guest1001 I think you're missing the point here.  I'm glad Carolyn brought up the issue - particularly when it comes to character development - because the writing was arguably the weakest aspect of the previous two games in the series.  Characters lacked much in terms of believable motivation, and the "choices" ultimately just boiled down to which powers you wanted to use the most rather than anything that actually asked the player to put some thought into their decisions.


Second Son looks to improve on the rather mediocre acting of the previous games in the series, but I'm still not convinced the Sucker Punch can make me actually care about the storyline.  They didn't accomplish that with either of the previous two entries, and based on both previews and the developers' own rather strict pick-a-path-and-stick-to-it-or-you'll-regret-it ideas regarding good/evil, I have a feeling that the writing will once again be the thing that really holds this series back from greatness.

daviz88
daviz88

so have played the game?

Grishrak
Grishrak

@Urizen316  So giving him different power then Cole adds nothing to the gameplay? REALLY?! We don't know a lot about his power so I would say that they DID add to the gameplay.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@Urizen316  I'm still waiting for you to name even one Xbox-exclusive that reinvents their gameplay.

Haloaddict5
Haloaddict5

@Urizen316  infamous lasts WAAAAAAAy more than 6 hours, heck unlocking the first 2-3 tiers of powers alone takes more than 6 hours 

daviz88
daviz88

most ignorant comment i have ever heard

gameroutlawzz
gameroutlawzz

@Urizen316  More like another 400 bucks for more of the same shitty overrated bland franchises that'd rather turn into fucking movies with some of the most generic,repetitive,shallow gameplay but ohhh the so important stories and fictional characters emotions is what matters so much in a fuckiing VIDEO GAME nowadays. Sheeps will flock all over this POS since its the only fucking game their overrated cash-grab scam-of-a-console will have for this year with some other overrated cinematic-focused streamlined shitty experience-of-games while the best game developpers like Nintendo are struggling to sell their masterpieces and other devs like From Soft who had all of true gamers respect are selling out to the fucking sheep/casual masses with their weapon packs DLC BULLSHIT.   This industry is truly at its worse state and its not looking better for the future.

DawnBlue
DawnBlue

@adub424  Don't get me wrong, I own a PS4 myself, but if you say you need a game to play on PS4... does that mean you have a console with nothing to play with?

mr_nee
mr_nee

@adub424  If you don't ignore sidemissions, all open world games seem to get repetative (GTA, Arkham, Mass Effect...). Don't expect this to be different.


Other than that, I loved Infamous2 and festival of blood. This is gonna be awsome

krayzie88
krayzie88

@WhiteStormy  Would be awesome if the console came with some unique infamous decals too!!

Grishrak
Grishrak

@fedetaco  This is Sony they always care more about story and gameplay first.

insloanwetrust
insloanwetrust

@fedetaco  It's infamous it will be the same gameplay as the other games only tweaked. That's great there is no need for an overhaul. Sony games have good story like Uncharted and TLOU. So you have a mixture of games that have good gameplay story and graphics in them three games alone never mind the rest. 


If you want pure gameplay resogun is that and it looks good.

ACWH
ACWH

@daviz88  No, my comments reflect Carolyn's article. I'm not interested in playing the game based on what she said.

Urizen316
Urizen316

@Grishrak@Urizen316 No, you ASSUME they did something to add to the gameplay. Seems to me like it's fancier particles and different colors.

swordoflorn
swordoflorn

@gameroutlawzz  I don't think Nintendo has made any new masterpieces recently... they just keep reinventing the wheel. How many Mario's are there??

uchihasilver
uchihasilver

@gameroutlawzz  LMAO why dont you Xbots fuck off and play halo yer =P cos that game is really innovative same with gears of war and forza eh? oh and yer lets say nintendo is innovative i love Zelda i grew up with it same with mario but any idiot that thinks nintendo is innovating is dillusional 

Urizen316
Urizen316

@gameroutlawzz A bit on the agressive side and could've been said a bit more subtle, but I whole-heartedly agree :P

nikon133
nikon133

@Urizen316 Reinvented? Popularized? That is not originality, that is improvement of something that already existed.

OK, let me try:

Uncharted reinvented and popularized 3rd person action-adventure genre, trend that was followed by Tomb Rider reboot.

God Of War reinvented and popularised hack & slash genre. It also has the largest number of deities killed in single game.

Gran Turismo popularised racing of historic small, everyday street cars - probably invented the concept, I cannot recall any other game where you could race likes of original Fiat 500, Subaru 360, Citroen 2CV.

How's that?

Forza claimed the best racing simulator... by who? Xbox gamers?

Halo has the most extensive multiplayer suite..? What does that even mean? There is around 25 Battlefield games and DLCs with new maps, vehicles and weapons. Are you saying that Halo is more extensive than Battlefield?

Urizen316
Urizen316

@uchihasilver@gameroutlawzz Gears of War reinvented Horde Mode and popularised cover based shooting. Forza claimed the title of best racing simulator. Halo has the most extensive multiplayer suite in gaming. Name one thing your top exclusive innovated? Exactly.