What a journey. Delsin Rowe is just a normal guy that loves to make street art. One find day, he encounters a conduit, a person with magical powers that is highly sought by the D.U.P, an organisation built to subdue conduits. Little does Delsin know, he has absorbed the smoke magic of that same conduit, allowing him to leap through smoke vents, dash around as a wisp of smoke and hit his enemies with fiery smoke chain. When Augustine, a conduit leader of the D.U.P. uses her concrete powers to hurt Delsin’s family and friends, he must go on a journey, along with his brother Reggie, to absorb more powers from other conduits like him so that he may save everyone from Augustine’s suppression.
The graphics are stunning and smooth. Though the appearance of the various districts on the map is quite similar, the way in which Delsin uses his powers to glide on top of the buildings and melee/shoot his enemies is just so visually appealing.
The difficulty of this game is actually set up to be quite a challenge during the boss fights. So there are four major challenging boss fights including one with the conduit Fetch, a giant concrete D.U.P agent, another with the conduit He Who Dwells and finally with the main villain, Augustine. I must say that though the fight with the conduit He Who Dwells was the most spectacular to view in terms of the dazzling setting of the fight, it was certainly frustratingly difficult as you could easily fall into the lava below and suffer damage and you only have short bursts of time to not only escape, but also to attack in that allotted amount of time.
Delsin as a protagonist wasn’t that deep of a character, yet he was likeable in that he embraced every challenge pretty good-naturedly. In this game, you are given the opportunity to either choose to be a hero or a villain. This determines the powers you obtain and also the reaction of the townsfolk and other characters to you. I chose the heroic pathway for this play through and appreciated how it felt believable with the choices that Delsin had to make and also made me curious to see just how different the villainous run through of the game would be. Ultimately, having all the characters hurling cheers rather than complaints felt like a pretty good plan.
As for the variety of the game, there are plenty of things to do on the side besides the main missions. You can collect shards that allow you to power up, you can destroy the D.U.P. centres around the city by shooting their hidden cameras, turning off their auto-turrets, finding and chasing their hidden secret agents and leaving your mark on the city by doing stencil art. As a part of the heroic play through, you can also obtain powers by subduing drug dealers, finding their stash and rescuing other victims of the D.U.P. There’s plenty to do and these side tasks don’t feel as trivial, as they are all based around the focus of defeating the D.U.P.
The side characters include Reggie (Delsin’s brother). Fetch, Eugine and Augustine. It’s a very cool aspect of the game that we not only get to know them through cut scenes, but also through their communication with Delsin via phone calls whilst we travel around the city. When Delsin absorbs the power of each conduit, we get a glimpse into their backstory. The scenes are made with the street art type images, adding a unique feel to the game and creating characters with depth. The only thing that I wished was included was more cut scenes or combined missions with these side characters so that we got to know them better.
The story had strong anti-drug messages and empowering the downtrodden, with Eugene’s backstory. Augustine also felt like a believable and infuriating villain, with her whole belief in being the zoo keeper whilst the conduits were her animals that she ‘protected’ *cough* ‘enslaved’ in her concrete prisons.
The different powers you acquire in terms of smoke, neon, video and concrete felt quite the same in terms of the basic speed dash, melee, shoot and mega shoot functions of each power, yet each were quite distinct and mesmerising visually. My favourite feature was the video power in which you can actually turn invisible and sneak kill the enemies which felt kind of like cheating, but was rewarding in its own way.
All in all, the frustrating, yet worthy boss battles and everything mentioned above made this a pretty marvellous game with a satisfying and bittersweet ending.