E3 2013: InFamous: Second Son scorches Seattle

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Secondson

It’s very difficult to sufficiently convey the leap in graphical fidelity between the current generation and the next. No Youtube video – no matter its resolution, or screenshot is capable of showing just how much nicer next-gen console games look than their current counterparts. And no game was more indicative of this than sucker Punch’s InFamous: Second Son.

When I first saw the trailer for the game at Sony’s press conference, I was not particularly impressed. It really just looked like more inFamous, with a fresh, anti-aliased coat of next-generation paint. When I got to see the game close-up the next morning, however, that perception changed dramatically. For an open-world game, it’s filled with such incredible detail and is so fluid that it very nearly beggars belief. and from what we’ve seen , it’ll have the character and gameplay to match.

Set seven years after Cole McGrath’s battle with the Beast from inFamous 2, the game’s is all still about the government trying to contain and supress the few remaining conduits; humans who’ve received extra-ordinary super-powers. What sets this one apart from most games of this ilk is that while there’s usually some sort of morality struggle or hero coming to terms with his powers, our new protagonist, Delsin Rowe, is an arrogant, cocky little rebellious punk – who’s only too happy to have these new gifts and revels in using them to whatever end. Much of his snark and attitude comes through in the incredible facial and motion capture – and it really adds a necessary it of charm and character to it all. More than that, it promises  a more emotionally engaging narrative as it explores the relationship between Delsin, the second son and his older, straight-and-narrow brother.

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He’s also gifted with different powers. Where Cole could shoot lightning bolts out of his fingertips, Delsin’s powers are based off of smoke and fire. By transforming his body into ethereal smoke he can move rapidly through the streets and across the rooftops -  but , and this struck me as particularly cool, he can move through vents, gates and fences as a wisp of smoke and ash. He’s also able, like Cole, to use his powers to fly and glide around the environment, while smoke bellows out from his fingertips, and he’s given firepower and damage deailing capabilities by being able to hurl smoking cinders at enemies, or a heat-imbued chain as a melee weapon.  Turns out, that isn’t the end of Delsin’s prowess; sucker punch says he’s an empath, and he’ll suck up the powers of other conduits – but hasn’t said nothing more on just what those powers could be.

Where it really impresses though is in the details. It’s a love-letter to Seattle, with the Space Needle being a prominent landmark and Nirvana on the soundtrack. Seattle’s notoriously rainy, and   the water – in puddles on the ground, environmental, climate-based effects that’ll affect gameplay seem to be a big feature. Joining that is some pretty incredible environmental destruction and physics that have me convinced that this will be one of the next-gen sandbox (and super-hero!) games to beat.

It’s still very recognisably InFamous (perhaps a little too much) but it’s bigger, better, more open, more fluid – and exactly what you’d want from an early next gen title.

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Last Updated: June 20, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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