Perhaps the most obvious reason for Infamous’ popularity was the gameplay. There’s something very solid about the way Infamous played. The game was well put together, Cole’s powers were various but easy to utilize and it never felt like any facet of the player’s abilities were being neglected. Compare this to the game’s main competitor Prototype, which was released just a couple weeks later. Prototype allowed players to do a lot more, hands down, but none of Alex Mercer’s powers were as fleshed out as Cole’s. Alex’s powers seemingly had no limits, from turning his arm into a sword to flying airplanes, but eventually it became obvious that one power stands above the rest and that’s what a player ended up spamming the rest of the game. Since the gameplay was so unbalanced, everything started to get too crazy and every enemy knocked Alex far away just so he could not use his best moves on them. By the end of the game Alex was so much like a ragdoll that the ending was near unplayable. Cole, on the other hand, was sturdy and his powers were balanced. Enemy encounters were never too easy or too hard, they required strategic thinking instead of “jump like crazy and hope not to get blown off the field.” Hopefully this aspect will not change in Infamous Second Son. The only difference the gameplay really needs is new powers as Cole’s lightning abilities can only go so far. Delsin looks like he will deliver with his smoke powers.
Also important to Infamous’ success was the characters. The most appealing aspect of Cole and Zeke was that they were just normal guys, personality wise. Cole experienced highs and lows like any other person, and he never spent the game acting overly cocky or in an eternal state of moping. He was likable and relatable, and his friend Zeke was one of those guys everybody has met at least once. Cole is also one of the few original video game superheroes, that is superhero in the traditional sense- going around the city stopping crimes with powers and all that. While there are plenty of games for Batman and Spider-Man floating around those are characters that are already well established and there is not much room for them to grow. Cole was a clean slate with no original material roots tying him down. All of his development took place in game and allowed him to change into a superhero every player could watch rise and fall. Now it is time for Cole to now gracefully bow out. His story is over and there is not really anything left to do with him.
Infamous Second Son allows the developers to repeat past success with a breath of fresh air. Since Cole is a great character there is a fear that Delsin will be nothing more than a clone, but from what has been revealed about the new hero so far there is a good chance this fear is ungrounded. Delsin is a street artist with a flair for anarchist expression battling an oppressive government trying to contain, control, and maybe even exterminate his kind. From his one line in the debut trailer two emotions are clearly visible: confidence and rage. Remember reading 1984 and wishing Winston would just pick up a machine gun and hand it to those bastards? Well Infamous Second Son will let players live out that fantasy- with superpowers.
New game engine, powers, story, setting, and a solid hero all make Infamous Second Son look like a great game to help kick off the PS4 and maybe give the console a new mascot.