written by Justin Prince (prince_justin)
In a few days, we as gamers get to step into the shoes of another super powered Conduit in the next chapter of Sucker Punch’s inFamous series. Since the PS3 days, this series has pushed the limits of the hardware. From the initial screens and footage of the forthcoming inFamous: Second Son, this local game studio isn't slowing down. But with this third installment of the series, we get to play as a brand new character… Delsin Rowe. While this can be seen as a new beginning for the series on a shiny new piece of hardware, it’s good to know where you came from before you get to know where you’re going. So that’s what we’re here to do… get you caught up on inFamous and its tragic hero Cole McGrath. Oh, and it case it wasn't clearly evident, there WILL BE spoilers from both games.
A quick note though, while I know that the endings of both games can be dramatically different from each other depending on your choices (will you be good or evil) Sucker Punch has established that heroic Cole is canon for both games, this information comes from trophy data and what percentage played as a good or evil Cole during the first playthrough.
Cole McGrath was a bike courier who lived in Empire City (this world’s version of New York City). On a routine delivery Cole discovers the package he’s carrying is a lot more than it seems. Inside was an unfamiliar device, and when Cole touched it the device caused an explosion leveling 5 or 6 city blocks… killing thousands. Cole miraculously survives the blast, after being nursed back to health by his best friend Zeke and girlfriend Trish. Upon waking, he discovers that he can produce electricity from his fingertips. Turns out, device Cole was delivering was in a Ray Sphere, a device that unlocks latent abilities in meta-humans referred to as Conduits. The device isn’t without its drawbacks, in order to unlock this latent conduit gene, the life force of thousands of regular human beings has to be absorbed, thus explaining the explosion and the thousands of citizens who died. One such individual was Trish’s sister, causing her to hold Cole responsible for her death. After the blast, the government has quarantined Empire City after a mysterious plague surfaces after the explosion. Zeke and Cole decide to leave the city behind and attempt to break through a government barricade on Stampton Bridge. There Cole is greeted by DARPA agent Moya Jones. After showing Cole footage she has of Cole at ground zero of the explosion, she offers him a deal. Moya mentions a mysterious organization called the First Sons; her husband John White was undercover within this shadowy organization and the night before the explosion John disappeared. To make matters worse, Cole is told there’s another Ray Sphere out in Empire City. Convinced the First Sons are in some way connected to the explosion, Cole is offered the chance to clear his name in exchange for finding John White and the second Ray Sphere. This begins Cole’s quest for redemption.
The public brands Cole a villain and a terrorist. Contrary to the way he’s described in the media, Cole acts heroically helping those affected by his grave mistake. While under quarantine, Empire City is now controlled by three distinct factions… each one controlled by a super-powered Conduit. Sasha leads the Reapers, Alden Tate leads the Dust Men, and the mysterious Kessler leads the First Sons. After tackling the Reapers, Cole meets with John White who reveals that Moya has been lying to him the whole time. Moya’s only goal is to turn the Ray Sphere over to the government, John convinces Cole to destroy it and informs him Alden Tate has the second Ray Sphere. While Cole is distracted by Alden’s Dust Men, Zeke uses this chance to take the Ray Sphere, but instead of turning the device over to Cole he activates it in a selfish attempt to gain powers of his own. Unfortunately, Zeke doesn’t have the conduit gene so the Ray Sphere doesn’t react to him activating it, nor does it affect his surroundings. Kessler seizes this opportunity to manipulate Zeke and convinces him that he can give him the power he craves; Zeke turns on his best friend and gives Kessler the Ray Sphere. Zeke’s betrayal weighs heavily on Cole; Kessler uses this opportunity to push him even further. Kessler holds Trish and six doctors hostage, hanging Trish from one side of a building and hanging the six doctors on the other side. Forced to choose between his love and the greater good of the city, he saves the doctors first before trying to save Trish… he fails and Trish dies in his arms but not before telling Cole that she was proud of what he’d become. Vowing Kessler will pay for what he’s done, Cole with the help of John White take on the First Sons. Eventually Cole and John regain the Ray Sphere, destroying it causes an unexpected effect. The device creates a vortex of energy that destroys Cole’s surroundings and literally vaporizes John in the process. Cole survives but is shortly contacted by Kessler, he’s instructed to meet at ground zero… where it all started.
While Cole and Kessler face off, a repentant Zeke interferes at the right time for Cole to best Kessler. In a final act… Kessler leaps toward Cole; grabbing his head Kessler shows Cole an alternate future. A powerful Conduit known only as the Beast would destroy Empire City. Kessler, who already awaked to his powers, preferred flight over fight and fled the city with his wife and kids. The Beast would lay waste to Empire City and eventually kill his family. In a desperate attempt to undo his fate, Kessler sends himself back in time and assumes control of the First Sons. Every event that happened in Cole’s history as a Conduit was orchestrated by Kessler to force Cole to awaken to his powers earlier. Kessler was too weak and afraid to take down the Beast but maybe Cole could be strong enough to succeed where he failed. As Kessler dies, Cole finds a photo on Kessler… it was a photo from Kessler’s wedding day, when he married his sweetheart Trish with his best friend Zeke as his best man. It’s become clearly evident than Kessler was in fact a future version of Cole all along, with his fate completely altered with the death of Trish; Cole vows to be ready when the Beast finally comes to Empire City. Though Cole has lost so much, and this power has become like a chain that binds him to a life of burden, he still manages to be the hero Trish was proud of. Despite threats from Moya and coming to terms with his best friend betraying him, Cole stands as Empire City’s protector, though he laments that never before has he ever felt so alone.
A month passes since Kessler's death, after restoring a measure of peace and order to Empire City; Cole sets out on a quest to super charge his powers. He meets NSA agent (and latent Conduit) Lucy Kuo who informs Cole that in the southern city of New Marais (inFamous 2's New Orleans) resides a Ray Sphere scientist named Sebastian Wolfe. Wolfe was instrumental in the development of the Ray Sphere and with Kessler’s help set forward the events that would change Cole’s entire future. Zeke is still there, hell bent on making amends for his betrayal in a hope that they could be friends again. The trio makes plans to head down the coast to meet with Wolfe and hopefully give Cole some new powers to better prepare him for the coming of the Beast. Of course, all best laid plans never come without a hitch.
The Beast attacks Empire City well before when Kessler foretold, seems like accelerating Cole to awaken his powers also affected the order of events. After Cole is thoroughly thrashed, the trio turns tail down the coast for New Marais. Empire City is lost and the Beast turns his sight on Cole, following him slowly down the coast, destroying city after city. Upon arrival in New Marai, they discover this once bustling party town is no longer what it once was. A militia led by Joseph Bertrand controlled the city as they acted on their holy mission to root out deviants… or rather, other individuals who have the Conduit gene. When Cole meets Wolfe, he finds that Wolfe was working on a very similar device to the Ray Sphere called a Ray Field Inhibitor (or RFI). The RFI would be the anti-Ray Sphere, giving Cole the ability to take power away from the Beast. This proves to be the best course of action but Cole’s own power level isn’t at a high enough level yet to activate it, Wolfe instructs Cole to find more Blast Cores (rock infused with power from the Ray Sphere) to amp Cole’s power to a high enough level. Wolfe was eventually kidnapped by the Militia and with the help of Kuo and Zeke; they search for Wolfe while hunting for more Blast Cores. Just as things were starting to look up, team Cole hits a disastrous snag. After rescuing Wolfe, a Militia freight truck rams them off the road, Wolfe dies during the crash while Zeke and Cole flee, Lucy Kuo isn’t as lucky as she’s taken away by the Militia. While investigating leads on Kuo’s location, Cole meets another Conduit named Nix. Nix holds a grudge against Joseph Bertrand after he used a Ray Sphere to kills several New Marai outcasts, Nix’s mother included, in order to unlock his own latent Conduit powers. While this kills everyone around Bertrand, Nix awakens to her pyrokinesis powers as a result. She agrees to join Team Cole to bring her closer to getting revenge on Joseph Bertrand.
Eventually Zeke sniffs out a lead on Kuo’s location and discovers what the Militia’s true intent was. They were experimenting on Kuo, siphoning her blood and replacing it with an icy replacement eventually unlocking her latent cryokinesis powers, she was also constantly plugged into a transfer device allowing Bertrand to give her powers to members of a private military company Bertrand had also kept in his facility. After saving Kuo, Team Cole now boasts a trio of powerful Conduits… and Zeke, but realizing this wouldn't be enough to take down the Militia, they create an alliance with Rosco Laroche, leader of the rebels who stand against the Militia. Ready to attack the Militia’s strong hold, Team Cole and the rebels mount a daring siege on their base, flushing out Bertrand as he flees by helicopter. Seeing the opportunity, Cole discusses sharing powers with Team Cole, of course Nix was all for it while Kuo adamantly opposed. Cole eventually convinces Kuo to share powers and the two of them step into the device while a disappointed Nix leaves the scene. This proves to give Cole a new subset of powers but doesn't transfer any power over to Kuo.
While searching for evidence to discredit Bertrand’s claim of purity, Cole encounters a familiar and unexpected face. John White, who Cole thought had died in Empire City, was in fact alive and well. The blast in fact unlocked John’s latent Conduit powers and after improving some of Cole’s powers, he takes him to a plague ward. The plague from Empire City is now also in New Marai, causing harm to both human and latent Conduit alike. John siphons the energy from several plague victims and channels that energy to a plague victim possessing the conduit gene. This cures the Conduit of the plague and subsequently kills the other. John’s power acts like a Ray Sphere and he reveals that the Beast that Cole has been so adamant to defeat is in fact him. John offers Cole the chance to join him to end the plague HIS way, by sacrificing humans and saving those who possess the conduit gene. After their little reunion, Zeke contacts Cole to officially start operation “find Bertrand.”
Now on the hunt for Bertrand, Team Cole succeeds in finding proof of Bertrand’s experiments and full exposing him to the citizens of New Marai. With the Militia completely discredited, Cole and company turn their sights on tracking down Bertrand… who apparently has the Conduit power to turn into some giant behemoth monster. Team Cole with the help of Laroche’s rebels succeeds in pushing Bertrand back and putting him down once and for all.
Nearing the end, Team Cole find the final Blast Core and they gather on a rooftop to witness the activation of the RFI. Before activating, Cole shares with the team the details behind his reunion with John White, revealing that he in fact is the beast and that he attempted to recruit Cole. While activating the RFI, Kuo and Nix begin and react as if in unimaginable pain. After Zeke pries the RFI loose from Cole’s grip they discover the truth behind the device. The RFI was never meant to JUST take down the beast, but would instead kill those possessing the conduit gene. Cole is faced with a difficult choice, Zeke has the plague and activating the RFI can save him and all those affected by it but thousands of Conduits would die in the process. Cole does what a hero would, looking out for the greater good he decided to activate the device and prepares to sacrifice himself for the lives of millions. Enraged, Kuo turns on Team Cole instead preferring John White’s plan while the remaining members work to power up the RFI. In the final battle, Team Cole (minus Kuo) and the rebels hold off the beast, Nix even buys Cole more time by charging at the Beast… dying in the process. Before bidding Zeke goodbye, Cole and a repentant Lucy Kuo prepare to activate the device. The Beast is dead… as are the Conduits in the area. Cole is remembered as a hero, dubbed the Patron Saint of New Marai.
With that we prepare for inFamous: Second Son. The tragic hero is replaced with a very different type of character in Delsin Rowe. From early trailers and footage released so far, the biggest difference I notice between Cole and Delsin is their outlook on being a Conduit. Cole looked at his power as a burden he must bear while Delsin revels in this power, embracing it in a way his predecessor never did. Hopefully this helped you catch up on the story a bit and prepare you for what I think will be the definitive PS4 game this year. Keep it locked, I will have a review for you guys as soon as humanly possible... I mean hey, we can't all be Conduits.