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Still Playing: Infamous: Second Son – why it’s impossible to create a truly anti-authoritarian game

Edge: Delsin Rowe, hero of Infamous: Second Son, is a dangerous man. His denim cutoff jacket alone probably makes him one of the most dangerous men alive. If you told him to go to bed at eleven, he’d stay up until quarter to twelve – at the earliest. As Rage Against the Machine said, he definitely won’t do what you tell him.

Unless someone lights up an icon on the map for him to head towards. Or tells him to collect all the blast shards scattered around the map. Or sets him any kind of arbitrary task to open up the next section of the game. In that case, if you asked him to jump, he’d not only say “how high?” but politely point out that his concrete superpower allows a double jump.

There’s a certain conflict, then, between Second Son’s anti-authority themes, and its rigid design. Delsin may flout society’s rules with his satirical graffiti, but the game asks you to adhere to those same rules by helping the game’s antagonists, militarised oppression-cops the DUP, bust drug dealers – helpfully flashing up on screen that drugs are illegal and harmful in case you wondered why you were doing your sworn enemies’ jobs for them.

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