Firstly I should mention that this demo appears to be alpha code of the game, is running on six separate PlayStation 4 demonstration units. The demo is locked down to a small area of Seattle starting you at a military style checkpoint, I know because I tried to leave the area. This sets up a new game mechanic as you’re required to use the Touchpad on the DualShock4 to access the area as it simulates moving your finger over a Conduit Detection System.
Obviously as Delsin is a “Conduit” all hell breaks loose, as alarms sounds and guards with guns turn up. If like myself you’re familiar with the inFAMOUS controls it’s basically the same. If not here’s a run down for you. The power Delsin starts with in the demo is smoke which you can aim with L2 and fire with R2. If you hold R2 it releases a more powerful but close range area blast. L1 is used to launching Grenades which explode after a delayed period. You also have melee functions which can be executed with Square and Triangle buttons allowing Delsin to swing a chain and beat the enemies combined with Circle allows for beautifully animated counter throws.
The enemies you encounter a S.W.A.T. style security in yellow and black body armour that shoot but also appear to have “Conduit” style special abilities not dissimilar to Delsin. If you tap or hold Circle you do a dash move / dodge that has you turning into a cloud of smoke. You can also do it next to vents on the walls of certain building and get spewed out on to roof tops. X is the jump button or holding it allows you to glide. X is also used it to free climb up the sides of objects and buildings, something the previous inFAMOUS were well known for. You can also aim and shoot whilst hanging too. If you leap from the top of somewhere high and press Square you cause a wide area explosion upon landing. I played through the demo working my way to a more heavily guarded area where you then had to destroy an armoured communication vehicle by shooting off panels and then jumping to the top to use a combination of Touchpad and R2 to bash the glowing orange interior. A short cut scene and a mini-gun totting heavy appears that you take him down with an impressive air launch by pressing Down on Digital Pad and slam that wipes him and his buddies out ending the demo.
At this point I had a chat with the very amiable Matt the region’s PlayStation rep. I asking about the game and how well he felt the limited number of inFAMOUS Second Son Game lock-in events had gone. He was pleased with the turnout of over thirty people at Hull’s Game Superstore to play. He explained that he hadn’t yet played final code, and was gutted he wasn’t able to attend the Live Streamed Preview event in London on 7th March.
As we chatted he had to reboot a couple of the demo units running the 6 month old code as they crashed at the opening Touchpad sequence. I watched someone else play whilst people queued to get there first play and noticed that the demo had a second special ability.
When it came to have another go I tried it out by holding the Touchpad Button down it allows you to drain smoke from burning cars, but if you hold it down near glowing neon signs you gain a different Neon ability. The DualShock4 makes an interesting sucking noises as you drain, which is a lovely touch. This Neon ability only allows for electric style projectile attacks but pressing Circle causes a blurry sprint move which is lovely tracing neon animation. Matt explained that there are likely to be other moves to the Neon power but they weren’t on display in the demo. Instead of heading straight to the end battle I explored and discovered a couple of the Good Karma / Bad Karma mini-games. You can release potential Conduits from captivity and a Blue graffiti logo pops up, you can also kill annoying buskers for a Red Graffiti pop up. I also notice that at certain points the yellow guards surrender but wasn’t able to retrain them in the demo. I also spotted something that looked like a potential Blast Shard collectible encased in an unfinished looking metal cage.
Visually this games looks incredible, with no slow down but feels like it’s missing a lots visual glitz, such as dynamic lighting and shadows. Add to the fact you couldn’t die, no HUD on display for Life-Bar or Power-Gauage, only a Mini-Map in the bottom right corner. You do need to bear in mind this is Alpha gameplay from over 6 months ago.
Matt was really surprised when I did something he had never seen done in the demo. When I got to the boss battle instead of using the demo ending Super move, I wore down the heavy with gunfire until he was encased in black ash, walked round the back and pressed Triange. Delsin appeared to drain the heavy. Demo ends.
To sum up:
If you’ve played the previous inFAMOUS games you really should invest in a PlayStation4 as it looks lovely, and plays like the previous games. It was lacking in any real tutorial notifications, which for new players may have been a challenge. The new abilities hinted in the demo are really nice and can’t wait for the official release on 21st March, to see what else is hidden within. I’m expecting the cut scenes and story to be better than the previous games given the level of Motion Capture that has been done. I can’t give any opinions on the games soundtrack or effects as it was store was too loud to be able to hear it.
I did pre-order my copy whilst in the store, but they couldn’t confirm a midnight launch for it. I received a Mars Bar on entering the store and limited edition poster for attending, as well as a beta code for Bungie’s Destiny for pre-ordering. Game also supplied refreshments in the form of Pizza and cans of Pepsi.
I did consume a can of Pepsi, all travel costs were paid for by myself.
Images are copyright of Game Hull Superstore and / or Sony Computer Entertainment Europe.