Infamous: Second Son preview: mayhem in Seattle

Infamous: Second Son wouldn't be an Infamous game if there weren't moral choices to make. Shacknews goes hands-on with Sucker Punch's upcoming PS4-exclusive and goes down both roads, while playing with Delsin Rowe's Smoke and Neon power set.


Delsin Rowe has quite the legacy to live up to in Infamous: Second Son. His predecessor, Cole MacGrath, left a lasting impression on PS3 owners over the course of multiple games. The new frontman of the Infamous franchise does have a lot going for him, though. Developer Sucker Punch has given him a vast sandbox to explore, a new anti-Conduit threat to deal with, and a brand new slew of powers to master.

Of course, it wouldn't be an Infamous game if there wasn't a morality scale in place. Just like Cole before him, Delsin will have his own choices to make that will either shape him into a Conduit savior or an unrepentant killer. Shacknews was given the opportunity to briefly step into both roles at a special PlayStation event earlier this week.

The demo begins with Second Son's other major character, the Neon-powered Fetch, who was taken down after murdering groups of drug dealers. Delsin immediately has to make a choice: either work with Fetch and try to redeem her to show what a positive force Conduits can be or decide to corrupt her and mold her into more of a psychotic killer. Each decision influences which way the story goes and will determine Delsin's next set of missions, as well as how his powers will shape up.

The Evil path steers Delsin towards groups of anti-Conduit activists. The idea is to put an end to the protests with extreme prejudice. This is where Delsin is allowed to cut loose with his Smoke powers, as he wipes out activists with area of effect ground pounds and kills Department of Unified Protection (DUP) soldiers indiscriminately. Soldiers will sometimes react to the carnage and offer to surrender, which gives Delsin the choice to either subdue him peacefully with Neon cuffs or murder him in cold blood by sizzling his flesh with Smoke powers. The choice made here steers Delsin further towards a good or evil direction.

The Evil path definitely feels more like Delsin is allowed to cause as much mayhem as possible. Citizens will often get caught in the crossfire, which serves to offer even more Evil bonuses. Delsin's melee attacks are also set to kill without restraint when going Evil.

The Good path feels more mission-oriented. Choosing to take Fetch under your wing tasks Delsin with taking down bands of drug dealers that have set up shop around Seattle. The idea is to go from point-to-point and tag each facility, so that Fetch can destroy it from the rooftops. Along the way, Delsin must taken down drug dealers, with melee attacks noticeably utilizing Delsin's Neon power set and naturally subduing enemies after successful combos. There were some instances where I accidentally whacked some citizens that got in the way, but for the most part, I was able to keep my actions on the 'Good' side. As in the other story path, drug dealers that noticed Delsin's rampage were eager to surrender, at which point I hit the button prompt to subdue them peacefully.

The Good path later tasked me with following a truck across Seattle without being spotted, which allowed me to get acquainted with Delsin's Neon sprint that allowed me to dash straight up the sides of buildings. I was also able to use Smoke powers as a makeshift jet pack, similar to how I traveled with Cole back in Infamous 2.

In fact, a lot of this Second Son demo brought back memories of Infamous 2, in a good way. Melee combat and combos are mostly unchanged, traveling across Seattle felt similar, and power sources were plentiful. The major differences are that Sucker Punch took a huge step forward visually with Seattle, as I immediately noticed with the beautiful weather effects. Much of Seattle is captured beautifully, right down to the docks that the drug dealers base themselves in. Unfortunately, the downside is that with plenty of water means plenty of opportunity to have your momentum halted, since Delsin can't swim. He can take out dozens of drug dealers and DUP grunts effortlessly, but Seattle's new hero sadly can't overcome simple bodies of water.

There's a lot to look forward to in Infamous: Second Son, with a narrative that embodies the spirit of the series, Sucker Punch's intuitive combat system, and an amazing re-creation of one of America's nicest cities. It's one of the finer-looking PS4 titles I've seen since the console's launch and one that may very well live up to Cole MacGrath's vaunted legacy.

Infamous: Second Son arrives on PlayStation 4 on March 21.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 12, 2014 7:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Infamous: Second Son preview: mayhem in Seattle.

    Infamous: Second Son wouldn't be an Infamous game if there weren't moral choices to make. Shacknews goes hands-on with Sucker Punch's upcoming PS4-exclusive and goes down both roads, while playing with Delsin Rowe's Smoke and Neon power set.

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      February 12, 2014 8:22 AM

      Hey Ozzie, I am envious you got to play the demo(is it coming out to the public btw?), sounds really good.

      LOL on the water, I know that is annoying, but I guess it will short you out, that must be their thinking. Is the new one still sapping electricity like the other games sounds like it?

      What is the progression and upgrades like, would you say there are more upgrades or the same amount as the last games.

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        February 12, 2014 9:56 AM

        My time was limited, so it's too early for me to say whether there are more or less upgrades. But it does look to be structured similar to the last few games, in the sense that whatever you decide to do with Fetch (redeem her or corrupt her) will influence what power set you wind up developing.

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      February 12, 2014 9:12 AM

      What the hell, so Delsin can't swim? meaning soon as he lands in some water he instantly dies? I hope not! It's going to be the dark ages of sandbox games all over again where water means instant death, taking all the immersion away.

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        February 12, 2014 9:54 AM

        He doesn't instantly die. You're prompted to press the touch pad to warp him back to land. It's not death, but it does kinda disrupt the flow a bit.

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          February 12, 2014 10:09 AM

          Thanks for clearing that up for me, that is a shame. How is the civilian AI in this game, is it more or less like Infamous 2 or is it closer along the lines of GTA 4 or 5. To me, the previous infamous games had some pretty generic lifeless civilians. GTA games quickly became a golden standard for many things I understand but it would be nice to be immersed in this nice detailed world that sucker punch has crafted.

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            February 12, 2014 10:17 AM

            They were pretty generic in my time with them, though Sucker Punch noted that they'll react to you more and more (one way or another) as the game goes on. Too early for me to say for sure whether that actually ends up being the case.

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      February 12, 2014 1:39 PM

      Kurt Cobain just rolled over in his grave

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      February 12, 2014 1:42 PM


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        February 12, 2014 1:56 PM

        Yeah, it feels very much like an Infamous game. I'm ok with that, because I love the Infamous series, but from what I saw, it doesn't look like the formula is going to make any major leaps forward.

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      February 12, 2014 3:04 PM


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      February 13, 2014 8:05 AM

      This game looks so damn good! Really hope I can afford a PS4 sooner rather than later.

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      February 13, 2014 3:13 PM

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