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Forums - Sony Discussion - Hands-on with Infamous: Second Son

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The premise of the game is that a subset of Earth’s population, called Conduits, can utilize superpowers by pulling in energy from the environment around them. Sucker Punch’s demo and hands-on centered around two separate missions after protagonist Delsin Rowe acquires a new superpower allowing him to manipulate neon light. Depending on whether you chose the path of good or evil, the mission will take place with different locations, objectives and play styles.

With a little more than a month left before it ships, the version of the game we played was mostly complete, but the in-game interface had yet to be finalized and Delsin’s superpower energy was set to unlimited.

Based on our hands-on time, the game looks fabulous. The environment offers a gritty re-creation of Seattle with plenty of opportunities to explore and interact.

The Neon power is more projectile based, while Smoke is designed for more close combat. Sucker Punch admitted it has been tightlipped about how many other powers Delsin will acquire over the course of the game, but the developer did say that we have plenty to look forward to.

While the Infamous series is known for the role that moral decisions play in affect the outcome of the game, Sucker Punch has tightly integrated those decisions into the combat aspect of Second Son. For instance, you’ll have a choice whether to kill hostiles by shooting them in the head or simply incapacitating them by shooting them in the kneecap. When enemies surrender, you’ll get to choose whether to execute or subdue them.

Sucker Punch has shown off how awesome it is to blast away with superpowers in Second Son, but I’ve been curious how the game balance will work. Since the hands-on demo was set to easy, I asked Second Son Director Nate Fox about what the studio did to make the game challenging.

“Everyone thinks the most fun thing in the world would be to fly and disintegrate people with a glance, but God Mode is only fun for 30 seconds,” he said. “Delsin’s powers come from the environment. He harvests them from the city itself, but he runs out. It puts you in jams. You’ll need to go reload.”

Sucker Punch relied on the city as inspiration for creating truly new superpowers.

“We wanted to make sure when we picked the powers for Delsin that there were two things: that they were something that you saw in the city around you…and we wanted to make something that people hadn’t seen before,” Fox added.

While you see plenty of comic book, movie and game heroes with fire-related powers, smoke isn’t as common. That gave the team an opportunity to implement new gameplay experiences for gamers like jumping through air vents and shooting out through a smokestack.

Since Delsin can absorb the powers of other Conduits, Second Son’s designers had a blank slate to come up with new powers for him.

“People come to the Infamous franchise to be able to play with superpowers. Letting Delsin absorb the powers of the people that he comes across just means that he gets a wider set of toys.”

The chance to discover and wield new superpowers is exactly the kind of experience that drew us to gaming in the first place. From the looks of it, Infamous Second Son is set to deliver the first truly next-gen experience for the PS4 when it arrives next month.


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In video games, action and story are often conflicting forces that, for one reason or another, never seem to peak together. But in the time I spent recently with Infamous: Second Son, I was impressed both by the fluidity of its action and the authenticity of its storytelling – a rare mix in the sandbox action genre. And whether I was speeding from rooftop to rooftop amidst the flickering particles of Delsin's new neon powers or watching him have a moment with his brother Reggie, the added oomph of the PS4 kept my eyeballs tingling.

Before I'd fired off my first smoke shot, or subdued a single enemy, Second Son impressed me with its cinematic chops. My demo kicked off with a quick trailer introducing me to Abigail “Fetch” Walker, a vigilante conduit wreaking havoc on Seattle's drug dealers. Delsin and his brother Reggie manage to apprehend her, but it was left to me to decide her fate. Sure, that choice was still a disappointingly simple matter of naughty or nice, but regardless of what direction I went with, the ensuing exchange between the brothers was charged with nuance and tension. Troy Baker's predictably great voice work breathes real life into the anti-hero, imbuing him with a believable potential for either malice or morality. This duality helps bubble the many complexities of the brothers' relationship to the surface. Reggie loves his brother, but he truly doesn't know if Delsin is capable of discerning right from wrong. I already feel invested in how their story unfolds.

Depending on what I decided to do, my next mission was completely different. One had me going on an Anakin-esque tear, killing unarmed anti-conduit protestors by the dozens, and in the other, I was searching houseboats for drugs to destroy and hostages to rescue. Both missions were nicely paced and ended with an impressive climax that, sadly, I'm not allowed to discuss. But what was even more noteworthy was how it felt to control Delsin. Infamous 1 and 2 handled great, but the refined, direct nature of how our new hero responds to inputs is on another level. His animations transition so smoothly as he changes direction, and despite how quickly he moves, he feels entirely rooted to the Seattle streets he stalks.

Except of course when he's got his neon powers activated, at which point even gravity has little sway over him. In this mode, I could streak straight up the side of a building's exterior without any parkour at all. Using L2 to aim, I could even slow time and highlight the weak spots of any enemy around me to strike for maximum effectiveness. Regular attacks might not do as much damage as when using smoke powers, but the extra maneuverability and precision more than made up for it. Regardless of which power set you're using, though, you're practically guaranteed to look good while wreaking havoc.

There's an incredible amount of detail packed into every frame of Second Son, but the lighting and particle effects stand above all of them. Environmental reflections flicker off puddles of water in the street, neon projectiles pulse with an incandescent glow as they hurtle towards enemies, and all without so much as a hitch in performance. Especially in a large, fairly destructible open-world environment, that's a pretty impressive feat, and a good reason to be thankful for next-gen hardware.

Infamous is easily my favorite open-world action franchise, and Second Son looks as if it will elevate the series in almost every way. It's a little disappointing that the morality system doesn't seem to have matured as much as the rest of the story and presentational elements, but perhaps some of the other choices in the full game will be a bit more difficult to make. Regardless, Infamous: Second Son looks and plays like a dream, and I'm itching to spend more time with it.


Looks amazing and game is getting a lot of praise in previews, gonna be a break through for sucker punch.

FlamingWeazel said:
Looks amazing and game is getting a lot of praise in previews, gonna be a break through for sucker punch.

i really hope so.   i'd be estatic if this could jump up to about the 5M sales range.  sucker punch would really be able to build themselves up on those kind of sales, maybe create another team, add a co-op mode to the next infamous.

I think we should put all the Infamous Second Son threads into one! I have the perfect title "Infamous Second Son Hype Train! Choo Choo!".

"I've Underestimated the Horse Power from Mario Kart 8, I'll Never Doubt the WiiU's Engine Again"

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Anfebious said:
I think we should put all the Infamous Second Son threads into one! I have the perfect title "Infamous Second Son Hype Train! Choo Choo!".

hate "official" threads.  no one updates them, no one checks them. blowout today so don't worry, the threads will be minimized by tomorrow.   but for today...