Video game stories can be broken down into two categories: heroes and heroines with supernatural abilities, and those planted in the firm grasp of reality. It’s a thin line between the two as even your proclaimed average Joes such as Nathan Drake will plow his way through hundreds of bodies and still make it to the end of the game without breaking much of a sweat. That can be described as a character who’s beyond the realm of probability. On the other side of the barrier, we have games like Infamous where it’s all about superhuman powers and how the lead hero uses them. This is just how Second Son is structured and Sucker Punch isn’t looking to break away from the formula anytime soon.
Infamous: Second Son takes place in Seattle (so expect rainy weather conditions) roughly seven years after the events of the second game and follows the “good” moral conclusion. Taking the place of Cole MacGrath is Delsin Rowe, a 24-year old Native American who only recently found out about his conduit abilities by absorbing another’s power. This sets him on the road to fight a department of the government that hunts down conduits, or as they refer to them as, bio-terrorists. The story itself is one of the more intriguing aspects to the game as Delsin’s motives aren’t properly given, but it also makes you wonder what the world would be like if the “bad” ending was the more popular choice.
The objective in the demonstration we were given was to find a truck, use its core, and set off a chain of explosions, leveling the opposing faction’s facility. It’s no simple objective as the enemies are well armed and ready to take you down in an instant. Delsin has typical melee attacks with his trusty rebellious chain but his conduit abilities allow for things to heat up (literally), adding more variety than your traditional character action title. Some of the attacks are stripped from past games, such as the rapid bolts of fire Delsin is able to propel from his hand, but there are other abilities, such as smoke jumping/teleporting up a building, that offers a speedy way to move around the environment.
The ability to stealth kill enemies is given, but from what we saw, there wasn’t much reason to do so. Right when the bullets and explosives start flying, it becomes an exciting adventure, offering firefights of cataclysmic proportions. At the end of the demonstration, Delsin charges up a special move in which he propels himself into the sky, winks at the camera and comes hurling down to the ground, delivering a massive area of effect blast that levels everything around him. Infamous: Second Son is a breathtaking adventure that’s no stranger to cinematic action.
Moving away from gameplay for a second, it’s also important to point out that Second Son is the sheer definition of the next-generation. While Killzone, DriveClub and many other games look great, Sucker Punch somehow out does them all with a fantastic art direction complimented with technically phenomenal visuals. Along with fluid animation, the environments seem to be completely dynamic and destructible. Climbing a giant platform and fighting various enemies on it, it quickly crumbled beneath Delsin within an instant. This was no insignificant area either; it was something that would have been entirely static had the game been developed on current generation hardware. From shooting fireballs out of your hands to launching 100-feet in the air to see the world around you, Second Son is a game that will make you realize the next-generation leap is significant and developers are only scratching the surface of the system.
Infamous: Second Son does superpowers like no one has ever done before. Sucker Punch has created a riveting and groundbreaking title that looks to surpass any and all action titles. From stealth kills to insanely high teleport jumps, Delsin and his sarcastic personality are bringing a fantastic open world adventure to the next generation. While it’s disappointing that people around the world won’t be able to get their hands on the game until early next year, it certainly helps consolidate the Playstation 4 as one impressive piece of hardware.