Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: March 21st, 2014
Available on: Playstation 4
Day one DLC is always an iffy subject in the gaming community. Sucker Punch decided to try something a little different with Paper Trail. Although it was available on the first day, Paper Trail has been completely free and getting new episodes every week. Further more, the DLC requires you to constantly access the internet to solve puzzles and find clues Now that all six episodes are out, does the Paper Trail lead you somewhere worth going?
In Paper Trail Delsin comes across a series of murders from a new conduit who seems to have control over paper. Worse, this conduit is attempting to frame Delsin’s friends for the murders. Now he must identify, hunt down, and catch this woman before she manages to do more harm. It’s a good story, though it is hindered by being told almost entirely through documents and audio files. It’s tough to actually care much for some of the drama when it’s told super impersonally through prison files. Fans of the Infamous universe should get a kick out of this one though, as it does have a good chunk of world building involved in it. Further more, Paper Trail manages to set Second Son up for a sequel that I’m genuinely interested in seeing play out. It’s honestly a good story, just one stuck really far in files and recordings.
Gameplay wise, you can’t knock Paper Trail for not trying to be different. Sharing more in common with an ARG than with Infamous: Second Son, Paper Trail has you constantly switching between the game and the internet as you have to track clues and make use of documents to solve puzzles across the internet. After completing a set of them you’ll head back to the game where you’ll be tasked with finding more clues and sometimes taking out D.U.P. personal or chasing down the murderer. Such a radical change in gameplay may not always be a good thing though. Those not into ARGs will feel lost or confused and may not quite make some of the conclusions that Paper Trail would be expecting them to make. Likewise, it’s kind of annoying to have to constantly switch between the internet and my game, and that did little more than frustrate me.
I don’t think it helped that some of the tasks the ARG required were just not fun. I’m pretty sure I played a version of mastermind at least three times. I spent so much time in the D.U.P.’s intranet that it’s still in my bookmarks. One task that required me to reassemble a shredded document may have, hands down, been one of the most tedious things I’ve ever done in a video game. Often time I’d have a solution worked out, but since most of the codes are randomized I had to still finish up the puzzles to find out what my code was. When you get back to Infamous the tasks become almost hilariously simple compared to the ARG part of Paper Trail. You’ll be doing things like taking out small groups of drug dealers, hunting down military vans, and tailing unmanned drones to unknown locations. Sometimes you’ll investigate crime scenes, and your camera will get far more of a work out here than it did in the main game, but it’s not going to be any sort of crazy stuff you wouldn’t expect.
Paper Trail suffers from its ARG parts. It’s rare for me to knock DLC for trying something different, but Paper Trail goes too far in the wrong direction. The ARG stuff is unique, but that’s about it. The world building and story planning done in Paper Trail makes it worth the trip for those interested in those things. Those just interested in smacking more people around with Delsin’s chain may want to wait for some proper DLC.