Neon Glows Bright in Infamous: Second Son

After two iterations from Sucker Punch Productions, the Infamous franchise will be receiving a new hero. The young and brash Delsin Rowe, accompanied by his older, more serious brother will be taking the lead in arguably the first significant title to grace the PlayStation 4. With the release coming up in less than a month, we sat down and took a look at what everyone can expect from this superhero / super villain game.

The story is set a couple years after the events of the “good” ending of Infamous 2 where Cole McGrath stopped Armageddon from consuming the planet and the human race. This unfortunately has led to anyone with conduit powers to be hunted down and branded as bioterrorists by a new government organization that goes by the Department of Unified Protection (DUP). This is where our unsuspecting hero comes into play as, unlike Cole, Delsin’s capabilities are a little more dynamic. After an incident with another conduit occurs, Delsin comes to realize that he has the ability to absorb the powers of anyone he comes in contact with.

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Setting up the plot, the first power Delsin receives is Smoke, allowing him to vanish into thin air, propel himself five stories high and even ignite oxygen to help fend off enemies. This is a nice change in formula as most stories, be it games or other forms of media, would normally go with the easier to explain “fire” element. To replenish this power, he must find different sources of smoke and energy in the world, such as chimneys or environmental flames. The second unusual power that has been shown off is Neon, which is borrowed from fellow rebellious bioterrorist Abigail Walker. Similar to the smoke ability, Neon allows Delsin to maneuver through the world at a much quicker pace, not to mention shoot light from his hands at a steady rate. As one would expect, neon signs are needed to refill the power, and it’s a good thing that Seattle is running rampant with them. The difference between the two abilities is relatively minimal, but there is enough variance to ensure that they aren’t just simple copies of each other.

If you played the first two Infamous titles, know that the gameplay mechanics seem to be similar in nature. Combat deals in both ranged and close quarters, but instead of electrifying an Amp stick, Delsin wields a chain in which he can inflame, Ghost Rider style, and shoots fire or neon light from his hands. Traversal has always been a big factor for the franchise and it’s no different in Second Son. Instead of grappling onto the sides of buildings and riding the train tracks, it’s now about hurling yourself into the air and running incredibly fast, even to a degree where sprinting up walls is possible. This is still very much a comic book style game, but instead of focusing on one elemental ability, you now have multiple move sets to get attuned to.

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Choices and consequences have made a return as well, as events will play out differently based on your alignment. For example, the first meeting with Abigail can go one of two ways: being aggressive against Delsin’s brother and taking on a mission to kill protesters, or being more reasonable and going after drug dealers and their stash. This karma system has not been completely laid out yet, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise it had similar visual aesthetics, modifying the stance, skin and glow of our hero. Regardless, this will undoubtedly affect how the story will play out, with multiple endings being a more than reasonable assumption.

From what we’ve seen of Infamous: Second Son and how it has grown over the past year, it has us brimming with excitement. March 21 will signify the first true test for the PlayStation 4, pushing the system to new levels of visual fidelity and creativity opportunities. The cocky new hero may take some time to get used to, but there’s one thing that’s for certain: Infamous: Second Son is the next generation experience we’ve all been waiting for.