InFamous: Second Son Impresses, Innovates With Paper Trail

InFamous: Second Son on the Playstation 4 is a blast to play, and is seen by some as the first true new-gen experience on Sony’s system. It’s the game that many — myself included — have had circled since the PS4 was announced, and I’ve been patiently waiting for March 21 to come.

And it has been awesome. The two main touted powers, smoke and neon, see protagonist Delsin Rowe zip through Seattle with ease and grace, while raining down mayhem on the city. Those two powers play incredibly differently, and also can play into your decision on whether to play as a “good” or “bad” character. With smoke, Delsin can wantonly blow things up without regard for human life; with neon, a sniping ability allows Delsin to tactically take down his foes without killing them. Inquisitr has you covered on the different karmic choices here.

I’m only a short way through the story so far — having recently been introduced to the neon power — but I’ve also already stumbled upon what may be the coolest part of InFamous: Second Son. It’s called Paper Trail, and involves finding clues in the game, investigating them online and returning to the game to further the investigation. If you’ve got the game, or are planning to, head to infamouspapertrail.com to sign up and get started.

Once you sign up on the website and complete a few tests, you will see an icon shaped like an origami butterfly pop up on the in-game InFamous map. You will be sent to the scene of a crime, where you’ll take a few pictures and collect evidence. Depending on whether you’re playing the nice or evil route, you may also have to corral a few police officers to get off your tail.

Once collected, you’ll drop your items off at a mailbox, where they’re sent immediately to your Paper Trail account for you to analyze. It is a super cool way to bring the game into another medium. The story will unfold in weekly episodic missions during the first six weeks InFamous is out. Kotaku has some more (spoiler-filled) observations about Paper Trail.

Paper Trail may well be the best story in Second Son, but the overall gameplay and graphics have received raves from critics. The gameplay cycle is similar to previous InFamous games: You take control of portions of the city through various side missions that help you get more powerful, while attacking main missions to progress the story.

Second Son follows that formula, but it is just prettier, more fluid, has a new protagonist (the cocky, brash Delsin Rowe vs. the tortured Cole McGrath) and a real location in Seattle. The San Jose Mercury News wrote that Second Son can feel like a retread of earlier InFamous games, up to a certain point:

The saving grace comes from the character design. The team imagined powers that feel distinct as players battle the Department of Unified Protection and travel across the Emerald City. Smoke is good, but the power based on neon allows the protagonist to scale walls and shoot from afar. Later, an ability sourced in video signals lets Delsin play stealth and fly through the air.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette agrees that InFamous: Second Son is a visual stunner, but ultimately lacks in adding anything new.

Second Son has all the appearances of a next-gen game, but its gameplay and stunted karma system appear dated. Delsin is a more sympathetic character than Cole, but the simple choices he’s faced with fail to develop his character. This game has a gorgeous exterior, but that shimmer fades when digging deeper.

The great thing about InFamous is that it’s out now, and you can make up your own mind about it. Ultimately, InFamous: Second Son is drop-dead gorgeous, is a ton of fun, has unique powers and makes you feel like a powerful superhero. The karmic choices that are presented strictly as black-and-white can hold back some of the “free choice” aspect, but also remains true to the series.

Second Son has also been a massive hit for Sony, causing UK PS4 sales to double (IGN), while the game also knocked the Xbox One’s massive hit in Titanfall out of first place. (Metro)

InFamous: Second Son is a must-have for PS4 owners. What do you think about the game?

If you missed the first two InFamous games, check out the below video, which gives the story in 5 minutes:

(Photo credit: Sucker Punch)