The lights are on
Infamous: Second Son is set to release on March 21 and is following Infamous 2’s “good” ending continuity. While this is likely the best direction for the series, I do think it’s a shame, since Infamous 2’s “evil” ending has always struck me as powerful and more emotionally competent than the rest of the series.
For those who haven’t completed Infamous 1 and Infamous 2, beware of spoilers ahead.
It begins with a classic role reversal. The rebellious Nix and agent Kuo influence Cole’s choices the entire game. Kuo represents morally good decisions, and Nix the bad ones. But near the end you’re at a crossroads: Cole and the gang finally get ahold of the RFI, which they believe to be the only weapon that can destroy the Beast. After activating it, it becomes clear that the RFI won’t just kill the Beast, but all conduits (people with powers). Kuo and Nix switch roles here: Kuo (who recently turned into a conduit) believes the RFI shouldn’t be used, and that they should aid the Beast – which is ultimately good for conduits and bad for the rest of society. Nix believes the RFI should be used to destroy the Beast, even though it would cost her, and others, their lives.
This is a hard decision regardless of whose moral compass you’re following previous to this revelation. In my first playthrough, I am playing as “evil” Cole, or the more anti-hero route. I decide to act selfishly and join the Beast.
This leads to a series of events pitting Cole against Nix, who uses the damaged RFI to attack the Beast. After a grueling battle, Nix is defeated and the RFI rolls away from her body, and is picked up by Zeke, who is aiming his pistol at Cole. I stare at what is happening, horrified, as two of my favorite characters approach each other with the intention to fight to the death.
“I gotta try,” Zeke says almost like he’s apologizing for the fact he can’t win.
Zeke standing up to Cole completes a character transformation that started in the first game when he betrays Cole, and selfishly tries to obtain powers at the cost of others. At the start of Infamous 2, Cole still hasn’t forgiven Zeke. Their relationship strengthens throughout Infamous 2, though, and Zeke is always there to support Cole – even when the morally wrong choice is picked. But all of that is shattered when Cole attempts what is analogously similar to Zeke’s betrayal in the first game.
Zeke fires the first shot and Cole stumbles back from the impact. This is when the short cinematic ends and I regain control. The screen prompt demands an attack and I send a bolt of lightning at Zeke. He stumbles, but raises his pistol again. I don’t wait for Zeke to shoot again, and the next shot brings him to his knees.
Again, Zeke raises his pistol, and again he is met with painful volts of electricity. It’s over now. Zeke is still on his back. And Cole walks up to him. He looks inhuman, like someone from The Walking Dead who has seen too much. He’s sad, but more at that it had to be done, not about what was actually done. His emotions explode out of him when he destroys the sphere.
This is the last time the player has control over the events of Infamous 2. It is a bold decision to end the game with story-focused gameplay instead of a difficult boss fight. The Nix battle is far more technically challenging, but putting down the powerless Zeke is infinitely harder.
For another editor's perspective on the dark choices at the end of Infamous 2, check out Mike Futter's opinion on the dark ending of the game from last year.
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