Infamous Paper Trail Shows The Power Of Episodic DLC That Goes Beyond The Console

I’m not generally a person who plays very much DLC or post-release content on games; for the most part, it comes out long after I’ve lost interest in the original title, and it’s a time suck, and time is not something I have very much of. PS4 Game Infamous: Second Son’s Paper Trail storyline is an exception, however, and one that had me playing along with the weekly installments the main game extension came in faithfully and diligently.

The Paper Trail tells the tale of another inmate of the DUP’s superhuman detention facility in Seattle, revealing a little bit at a time in micro-arcs that were released on Friday sequentially for six weeks after the launch of the game. Each episode had Infamous: Second Son’s protagonist tracking down a mysterious superpowered murderer, whose body count was rising. Unraveling the tale meant in-game chases, fights and clue-gathering, paired with jumping out to the web to follow leads and decipher puzzles on websites created specifically for that purpose, including a mythical corporate intranet for the in-game super-terrorist police task force.

While the puzzles themselves were sometimes unnervingly frustrating for someone who’s more used to games where, generally speaking, you can punch your way around most obstacles, they were also in the end rewarding. And enjoyable unto themselves, regardless of the quality of the plot for the DLC (which itself was actually good, too, with tons of media, including live actors created specifically for the expansion). It was virtual sleuth work that felt, at least most of the time, like the real thing instead of the standard repetitious busy work that too often accompanies game bonus content.

Sucker Punch has woven something genuinely cool and not at all tacked on to Infamous: Second Son with Paper Trail, and while I, like many of the community, would’ve liked to see the game’s hero inherit a new super power at the end of the plot’s conclusion, the experience itself was actually reward enough (and free), which is rare in a world where add-ons are seen as a route to additional revenue by most studios.

Other game-makers would do well to study how in-game met browser-based content with Infamous: Second Son. It’s an example of how cross-platform can work without feeling forced, with neither side feeling out of place or designed by amateurs, and it meant that I feel even more satisfied with the overall game experience than I probably would have otherwise.