Infamous: Second Son Might Not Be A Next Gen Game. But It Is A Very Cool Game.

The Next Infamous Wants To See Just How Evil You'll Get

Infamous: Second Son has timing on its side.

Think about it. If you’re anything like me, your PS4 is gathering dust. My Xbox One isn’t even plugged into my television. Next generation consoles are in our homes, they are in our lives but – in a sense – we’re still waiting for next gen to start.

Some will argue that next gen starts with Infamous: Second Son. I’d argue it starts in March with Infamous: Second Son and Titanfall. But Infamous: Second Son has something over and above Respawn’s reinvention of the twitch shooter. It’s a pure, unadulterated next generation game. There are no compromises. No PS3 version, no PC version. It’s a video game designed from the ground up for one platform and one platform only. In that sense Infamous: Second Son is a next gen game. Legit.

But what does it mean to be a next generation game? Does that question even make sense?

The Next Infamous Wants To See Just How Evil You'll Get

Probably not. Video games themselves aren’t really changing; the parameters around them are simply expanding. We share our experiences now. We connect with them in different ways, on second screens, on Twitter, on Facebook. The games are smoother, higher resolution but – for now – we’re not really doing anything differently.

It makes sense. Technology doesn’t always drive innovation in video games. It doesn’t. Technology drives sales, it drives marketing, it drives hype. It doesn’t always generate the new experiences we expect and crave on consoles. That comes with time, or in a flash of genius.

Infamous: Second Son doesn’t feel like a flash of genius. It feels familiar and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Unsurprisingly it is a game that is very similar to its predecessors. The controls retain that floaty, light sensation. Again, not a bad thing. That’s one of the hallmarks of the Infamous experience. There is a focus on feeling overwhelmingly powerful. Again, another hallmark of the Infamous experience. This is, after all, an Infamous game.

Infamous: Second Son is a game that makes progress in increments. The lighting is phenomenal, transitions between combat and traversal feel fluid and – more importantly – engaging to interact with.

Shooting is almost precisely the same, and has the same problems. Line of sight seems completely out of whack. Sucker Punch still seems to believe that launching waves upon waves of enemies, all firing from multiple different directions at the same exact time, is a good way of making the player feel ‘powerful’, like a one-man-army. The reality is it’s actually frustrating as all hell trying to take out enemies when you have no god-forsaken idea where they’re shooting from. It was a problem in previous games, it’s a problem in Infamous: Second Son.

The ability to dash across the city in a neon flash, like a lightning quick beam of light, is by far the most exciting addition to the Infamous repertoire and – ironically – it’s a feature that makes the player feel far more powerful that shooting oodles upon oodles of faceless goons. It’s the goal of Infamous to make players feel like a super hero and when you’re rapidly traversing the rooftops in seamless bursts of neon light by god do you feel powerful. There’s an incredible sense of flow that I’ve rarely felt in a game of this type. It feels sort of [shudder] next gen.

That bloody word. Next gen. It’s a cumbersome word. It’s literally weighty and cumbersome. What does it mean to be a next generation game? We have to redefine the answer to that question, if the question is to matter at all. I’d argue that next-gen is actually a harbinger of slow-burning improvement, not the grand leap we always seem to demand or, worse, expect.

Within the confines of that definition, Infamous: Second Son is about as next gen as it gets.


Comments

    Well isn't it current gen? Or are we still using the term next gen till the majority of people are on ps4, xbone & wiiU.

    Either way this game is the reason I am an early adopter of the ps4. The feel of the infamous games have always been the best part. Its just satisfying running around and open world with super hero powers.

      It took a while for last gen to stop being next gen too. The consoles were released in 05/06, but I was still seeing next gen occasionally at least until 08.

    Uuuh nope, I play my X1 almost every day, and havent touched my 360 since November 23rd 2013

      In an objective manner, perhaps that could in part be sheeted home to Microsoft's tendency to completely abandon their previous gen in terms of support within months of launching their next?

      By contrast, I have a long list of games being released over the next 18 months for my PS3.

        I guess it depends what you want, MS could release a 100 games on 360 and I wouldnt play any of them, I have no interest in lastgen anymore, I dont find any shortage of games on next(current)gen either, I have owned and finished DR3, Ryse, BF4, Tomb Raider, Assassins Creed 4 and I'm still working through Fifa14 and Forza5 since buying the console on Launch.

        Do they have that tendency? They did it wth the original Xbox when the 360 launched, sure. but they support old versions of Windows for years after new versions are out. There's not really a pattern there yet. If they drop the 360 now that the XBone is out, you could make that argument, but there's plenty of 360 releases ahead and Microsoft have specifically planned for us to be able to use our Xbone and 360 side-by-side.

      I haven't touch my X1 console in a while, so much so I was thinking of selling it. I still enjoy playing "last gen" games like GTA 5, The new grand turismo and The Last of Us. And so far both new consoles haven't really released a must have game.

      Well in my opinion anyway

    'line of site'?!? Really? That got past editing...

    I'm gonna have to be that guy - 'next-gen' consoles are purely so they can output at 1080p and finally have a chance to catch up to the advances of PC.

    Seriously, that video? Wow, you have dynamic lighting from a sun! And rain/water effects! Moar particles!

    Next-gen doesn't have the grunt to bring up the lackluster visuals/AI/engines to the standard status quo AND push some boundaries that haven't been previously experienced.

      We're only a few months into the generation. Compare and contrast a launch game on say the Xbox 360 vs the quality of the visuals in Halo 4. Or compare something like Resistance on PS3 to The Last of Us.

      If they're still underwhelming you in a couple of years, then you can complain.

    So far I've been doing almost all my 'next-gen' gaming on the Wii U or XBOX One, it'll be good to have Second Son forcing me to give my PS4 some attention.

      Same. If it wasn't for Second Son coming out I would have sold my PS4. Killzone and Knack were complete crap and I'm not into indie games.

        Why did you buy a PS4 then? Its not like the release schedule was a complete mystery until the launch day?

          It's not the reason I brought one, but it's fair to say there was pressure to buy one before the line up was set in stone. I mean putting down a pre-order on a PS4 early enough to secure one of the first or second shipments was a bit of a leap of faith. At that point it was fair, if maybe naive, to assume there would be a bit more on the way.
          Plus he may have brought it for those two games that he ended up not enjoying. They were presented as system sellers afterall.

          Personally I'm happy with my PS4 and XBOX One, but I'm still a little let down by the line up. Right or wrong I was expecting a bit more overlap between generations. I'm spending way more time on my 360 than I thought I would. That said I'm spending time on the 360 because the games for it are good, so I can't really complain about that. =P

          I thought Knack and Killzone would be good. Plus, like DogMan pointed out, there was pressure to pre-order early otherwise you ran the risk of missing out for months.

          I don't mind waiting for more games though because there's Thief, DKCTF, Titanfall, South Park and Dark Souls 2 which alone would take like a month to complete. Hopefully we get The Order 1886 soon and Sony knocks everyone's socks off at E3.

            I pre-ordered The ps4 early on, and since i live on the west coast right next to china, i got the 545 Ps4 made even though i ordered after summer. Pre-ordered for Infamous and BF4, but i returned BF4 because it was just crap technically.

    Second Son I'm very excited about. PS4 got hammered over Xmas break with AC4. I'm currently enjoying a lazy Tomb Raider def edition playthrough (and wow it's pretty), but the PC and PS3 are still getting plenty of lurve.

    Sucker Punch still seems to believe that launching waves upon waves of enemies, all firing from multiple different directions at the same exact time, is a good way of making the player feel ‘powerful’Have they actually said that? Because I always interpreted that the opposite way, I took the large amounts of goons with guns flanking you and able to kill you pretty quickly as a harsh reality check to show you that while you're powerful as all hell you're still bloody vulnerable if you're not careful. It may be a representation of my general play style but once I started treating Cole like he was a glass cannon rather than superman it felt a hell of a lot more like the way the game was supposed to be played. Cover, shoot, move, cover shoot move, get flanked and nearly killed by a guy you didn't notice, run like crazy while swearing vehemently, come back a different way and repeat till everyone else is dead.

    Maybe next-gen is increasingly becoming a loaded term since the rise of indie gaming. Sure it's fun playing a game with the best graphics etc, but personally I found games like Paper's Please, FTL far more fun and compelling then any of the newer shiny games.

    Maybe it's best to redefine what next gen means? Not just look at graphics, but also look at the experiance it provides or how it plays with narrative and convention. Look at games lik Gone Home and the Stanley Parable.

      That's totally what I was sort of saying in the article actually. I agree with this.

        Yeah I know. I was just agreeing and adding to the discussion.

        You can draw parallels with the film industry. Take 3D movies for example. Film companies need to justify the costs of shooting in 3D or adding it in post-production by adding unnessary scenes or 10min establishing. So we have these bloated 3 hours films that don't necessarily have better character development, etc.

      I think things like Gone Home and (to a slightly lesser extent) The Stanley Parable are starting to create a new sub-genre though. Along with Dear Esther, the not-quite-a-game games :P
      That said I enjoyed Stanley Parable a lot more then probably any Triple-A game I played last year, maybe not The Last of Us... It's hard to choose.

    Liked the article Mark, been waiting for Infamous before getting a PS4 - that and there aren't really any PS4's to buy in Australia anyway.

    I just had to point out though:
    There are no compromises. No PS3 version, no PC version. It’s a video game designed from the ground up for one platform and one platform only. In that sense Infamous: Second Son is a next gen game.
    Really? A PC version is a compromise that would somehow stop a game being considered 'next-gen?' High-end (even mid-range) PC's are already more powerful then PS4's/Xbox Ones.

    The 'slow burning improvement' is spot on by the author. I think developers realized that yes, the PS4/XBone was easier to code, but the depth & overall content had to increase significantly which added to lengthy delays. We expect more because we know the technology driving it.

    My PS4 was also gathering dust....so I've packed it away for the time being. The games I'm waiting on seem like a haze in the distance. Slowly approaching....but I cant see them yet. I've logged 300+ hours into 'Rust' on PC. I guess a lot of us jumped early lured by the constant teases by SOE of titles like Watch Dogs/Destiny/Drive Club.

    I was able to lock in a good trade on my PS3 early on. It make sense at the time. Now I'm watching others play some great DLC from Last of Us/Borderlands 3/GTAV. I have to admit now, it was the worst possible move on my behalf. I thought I had clear vision over marketing/spin/hype. Clearly I was wrong....SOE....u got me good. All power to you.

    The slow burn continues.....

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