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InFamous: Second Son: Hands-on
InFamous: Second Son - Hands-on from E3 2013Barring Killzone: Shadow Fall, Sony’s E3 2013 showing ran short of many of the franchises that helped define the PS3. There was no PS4 Uncharted, no PS4 Motorstorm, no PS4 LittleBigPlanet and no PS4 God of War. With Insomniac now a multi-platform developer, we didn’t even get a PS4 Resistance or Ratchet and Clank. However, one blockbuster series is making the move, Sucker Punch’s inFamous with a third game, Second Son.
Watch the Infamous: Second Son trailer from E3 2013
Read our in-depth Xbox One vs PS4 comparison
Despite opposition from Microsoft’s Crackdown and Activision’s Prototype, InFamous was the best of a wave of open world superhero games, and only improved with inFamous 2. Now InFamous: Second Son kicks in with a new protagonist and a new story, though one set in the same world where the explosion of a mysterious device has turned ordinary people into superhuman ‘conduits.’
Set in and around Seattle, seven years after the battle between Cole McGrath and the Beast in InFamous 2, it’s the story of Delsin Rowe and his ongoing fight against the oppressive Department of Unified Protection (DUP); a shadowy government force that does its best to suppress the remaining conduits.
Rowe differs from Cole McGrath in that his initial powers are based not on electricity, but on smoke. By transforming his body into smoke he can move rapidly through the streets and across the rooftops, but also shoot through vents and pass through grates and fences. He has smoke and fire-based range attacks, a rather nasty looking sneak attack that seems to take down enemies in a burst of heat, plus a chain melee weapon he can use up-close, enhanced with smoke and fire. Rowe is even comfortable flying and gliding around the environment, using his own burning arms for propulsion. It’s all about giving the player more freedom, more choice of strategy, and a lot more firepower.
And this turns out to be just the beginning. Sucker Punch won’t say much at the moment, but we understand that Rowe will be able to absorb other conduit’s powers, allowing a more complex set of skills to develop as the game progresses. Yet the developers also promise simplified controls this time around, making it easier to chain movements and attacks together in fluid chains. Where McGrath’s moves in infamous seem tied to environmental features and his attacks felt like variations of standard melee and ranged weapons, Rowe’s superpowers are designed to make him feel more obviously superhuman.
At this stage, Second Son is already one of the most visually impressive PS4 titles, with some superb facial animation when the characters are viewed up-close, and some of the most lavishly detailed environments we’ve seen in an early next-gen title. There’s a tangible sense of the regional climate, and of urban decay. What’s more, Second Son goes big on destructible environments. Watching Rowe assault a DUP facility, we could only marvel at the degree to which the scenery could be decimated, as watch towers were torn apart, bridges were smashed and a whole squad of DUP troops taken out in a single, spectacular attack.
Sucker Punch promises that, while not all of the city will be destructible, all the DUP facilities will be, and you’ll be able to use even the most destructive powers practically anywhere you want. Where his predecessor was slightly ambivalent about his powers, the more rebellious Rowe has a serious appetite for destruction. Not that it’s entirely gratuitous. Only by breaking apart the oppressive DUP can Rowe push them out of town, so that conduits and ordinary people will be free to live their lives in peace.
InFamous: Second Son: First ImpressionsInFamous: Second Son looks like everything you’d want from an early next-gen title. It’s a familiar franchise, but one that looks bigger, more epic and more exciting on the new PlayStation hardware. And while it’s still recognisably InFamous, the new character and his new superpowers look set to radically mix up the gameplay. Based on this early showing, InFamous: Second Son might set a high standard for other next-gen open world games to beat.
Next, read our WatchDogs hands-on from E3 2013
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