E3 2013: Infamous: Second Son Preview

June 15, 2013

Sucker Punch Studios is making the leap into-next gen with the third iteration of the Infamous series, Second Son. As the name implies, Second Son will feature a new protagonist in Delsin Rowe, a 24 year-old Native American who, like Cole McGrath, is a conduit with his own set of unique superpowers.

Second Son takes place seven years after Cole’s efforts again The Beast, meaning that one of the two endings from Infamous 2 is now canonical within the Infamous universe. In addition to a new hero, Second Son takes place within the new setting of Seattle. This is the first time Sucker Punch will opt for a setting based on a real life city, in contrast to the fictional Empire City and New Marais from previous entries.

So far, what we know of the game’s plot has a distinctive X-Men vibe to it. A government authority known as the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) has been installed to hunt down conduits like Delsin who are now perceived as bio-terrorists. Delsin will seek to undermine the DUP, whose ruthless nature has become a burden on society. With Seattle’s citizens constantly monitored and oppressed, Delsin’s role will be to restore freedom within the city, even as its regular inhabitants have been instructed to fear and hate conduits like himself.

Delsin will team up with his brother Reggie, whose calm and calculated demeanour works in contrast to Delsin’s reckless and blasé attitude. Delsin is obviously delighted with his powers, and it will be interesting to see whether his confidence gets the better of him. We can expect that Delsin and Reggie’s partnership will likely be similar to that of Cole and Zeke, at least from the outset, with Reggie acting as a story-driven NPC who provides the player with missions as the plot progresses.

After a chance encounter where Delsin saves a group of people from a burning bus-wreck, he discovers he has gained unique powers from one of the passengers, presumably a conduit. Unlike Cole, Delsin’s abilities are smoke and fire-based, although his main ability allows him to absorb the powers of others. Whether this will give Delsin a wide range of different elemental powers, or simply expand upon his initial skillset, remains to be seen. From our coverage of E3, we saw an extensive use of Delsin’s smoke-based powers during a five minute in-game demo.

The demo begins with Delsin encroaching upon the Space Needle, which serves as the DUP headquarters. Delsin bypasses a chain-link fence by dematerialising in a fiery-haze of smoke and reappearing on the other side. He uses this ability again to quickly traverse the distance between himself and two guards, uses stealthy melee attacks imbued with fire to take them out.

Delsin continues to take out guards by launching a flurry of small fireballs from his palms, all the while proving too evasive with his ability to dart around the battlefield in bursts of smoke; in this form, bullets pass harmlessly through him. Charging up a fireball for increased damage, Delsin then takes out a small bridge which crumbles to the ground, highlighting that many DUP environments will be destructible and will allow the player to wreak increased havoc.

Ascending an overpass, Delsin employs a fiery hover move similar to Cole’s electric propulsion and, combining this with quick darts in smoke-form, he quickly covers the distance between two buildings with a minimal loss of attitude, showing that traversal in Second Son will be quicker and easier than ever before. Delsin lets loose on a few stray guards with a melee chain wrapped around his wrist, much like Cole’s amp weapon from Infamous 2. Delsin continues to climb, parkour and dart around the sealed-off DUP zone, taking out guards and surveillance cameras with ease, before destroying a generator with a series of fiery palm-strikes.

The demo then ends with Delsin taking to the air as enemy numbers swell; dematerialising through a vent at the base of a building, Delsin shoots out at the top in an instant, landing amid the final group of guards. Delsin charges up what appears to be a high-tier, upgrading ability, launching into the air a second time in the form of three fiery columns. Delsin hangs for a moment at the ability’s apex in human-form, then drops from a great height like a phoenix, eliminating DUP soldiers and armoured vehicles alike in a fiery, slow-motion, sound-warping explosion.

From what we’ve seen so far, the game looks both gorgeous and havoc-causing addictive. Sucker Punch is making good use of the Playstation 4’s capabilities with sharper visuals, more fluid gameplay and dynamic lighting that look a cut above the studios’ previous entries. Additionally, Second Son looks set on continuing the engaging everyman-turned-superhero theme which has made Infamous so engaging in the past, but with the added compliment of a new protagonist, powers and setting to explore.

Infamous: Second Son will release exclusively on the Playstation 4 sometime in 2014. See below for the official trailer.

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