Before the blast, they were just a bunch of junkies dealing drugs... now, they own the Neon District, taking whatever they want.
― Cole MacGrath, regarding the Reapers.
The Reapers were a faction of thugs, criminals and drug dealers that operated in Empire City. After the quarantine was erected, the group grew rapidly in both size and aggression. Controlled by Sasha's black tar, they were originally simple addicts and punks dealing drugs, although their ranks were later expanded using civilians being controlled by the black tar. In a short time, they were able to take control of Empire City's Neon District, and ran the district until their downfall at the hands of the electrokinetic conduit, Cole MacGrath.
Before the day of the Blast, the Reapers were just a group of drug addicts, hooligans, and petty criminals dealing drugs and creating minor crime around Empire City. Right after the Blast, they formed into a more orderly group, and gained control over the Neon District through hostile means. Their sense of unity was majorly a by-product of the Black Tar, a substance created by a former scientist and conduit named Sasha, capable of mind-control over any individual that consumed or otherwise absorbed it into their bodies in any way. After they gained control, they added to their ranks by kidnapping civilians and forcing them to ingest the black tar.
Controlling the Neon
Under Sasha's command, the Reapers had made plans to expand their ranks through the use of force and deception by contaminating Empire City's water supply; tinkering with the water system and pumping in the black tar. They used several techniques to infect the general population. These techniques included pump kegs mounted on water towers, an armored tanker truck that pumped the tar into the main water system beneath the bridge and through the use of the city's valves, holding civilians in captivity whilst spraying them with the tar. They were successful in poisoning an uncounted number of civilians, but through the combined efforts of Trish Dailey, Cole MacGrath and the Neon's surviving doctors, the poisoning gradually slowed until it had been stopped all-together, stalling a major part in the Reaper's operations.
Other than contaminating the water supply, the Reapers had performed several other crimes and operations to try and keep the citizens of the Neon in check, such as installing dozens of security cameras on some of Empire City's houses, or keeping a large group of civilians hostage within the Neon's trains which were all foiled by Cole.
After destroying the Reapers' operations and resources around the Neon, Cole was finally tasked with confronting Sasha, the very leader of the Reapers. Entering the tunnel connecting the Neon District to the slums of the Warren, Cole encountered heavy resistance from the Reapers and the black tar itself, due to its hallucinogenic properties. Despite the partial dementia from the tar that he had to endure, Cole was able to subdue the nearby Reapers and then made his way further into the compound.
After freeing some of the civilians that he found being infected by black tar to become Reapers, Cole made his way into the heart of the compound, where Sasha lay in wait. After a few taunting words, Sasha then stood and attacked Cole, a lengthy battle following. Sasha used her control over the tar and it's negative side-effects on Cole to her advantage. However, in the end Cole defeated Sasha and was about to make her tell him what she knew of the First Sons, when an explosion tore through the room, causing debris to fall everywhere and land directly on top of Cole, trapping him.
Cole, pinned by debris, saw Sasha taken by a mysterious professional group that had been the source of the explosion. Left with no way back to the Neon District, Cole went forward into the slums of the Warren.
After that conflict, the Reapers' morale was heavily degraded and the group was left largely leaderless. Despite losing their leader, the Reapers continued to function without Sasha and could be seen around certain areas of Empire City after Sasha was kidnapped. But their numbers would decrease as Cole and the ECPD continued to exterminate their forces.
It was later revealed that Sasha was rescued yet kept prisoner by none other than Kessler and the First Sons. She was being used so they could extract the black tar from her, which was used by Kessler for his own faction's benefit. Sasha was able later to escape captivity and returned to the Reapers, which made them active again. Moya Jones and the NSA would later attack the Reapers in their new obscure base, and abduct Sasha. Shortly after Kessler's death, several Reapers attempted to defend Sasha from Moya's forces, but they failed to defend their leader and were killed. Later, after the death of Moya, a defeated Reaper is seen in Cole's hands as Lucy Kuo enters Empire City. What happens to the remnants of the Reapers is unknown, but it is likely they were all killed when the Beast destroyed the city.
The Reapers had a wide range of offensive and defensive equipment at their disposal, which included the following:
- Assault Rifles: One of the more common weapons that the Reapers carried, the Assault Rifle's bullets can travel far and the Reapers had been shown to have had good aim. Although not the strongest weapon in the game, a single rifle can still deliver a large amount of damage to Cole, regardless of how strong he has become. The assault rifle design is mostly based on the AK-47.
- Modified shotguns: The shotguns carried by the Reapers are common, but not as common as other weapons, short range weapons with a wide blast radius that can penetrate Cole's Polarity Wall and cause heavy damage to him, knocking him off his feet. The Reapers that carried this type of weapon would rush towards Cole to deal the maximum damage at close range.
- Miniguns: The Miniguns are heavy machine guns that can cause a significantly large amount of damage to Cole at an incredibly fast rate of fire and range. Though they are a force to be reckoned with, they are one of the rarer kinds of weapons that were used by the Reapers.
- Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launchers (RPGs): The RPG was one of the more common types of weaponry used by the Reapers, yet it was also one of the deadliest. It caused large explosions which dealt heavy splash damage to anything near by, often destroying vehicles in the radius and had a larger range than any of the other handheld weapons.
- Grenades: A common weapon that was used by the Reapers, the grenades could deal a sizable amount of damage to Cole if caught in the blast range, however they could only be thrown and thus had a shorter effective range than any of the other weaponry. Cole could zap the Reapers before they threw the grenades, causing the Reaper to drop the grenade on the floor and get damaged by them.
- Turrets: Like the other groups of Empire City, Reapers had been able to set up turrets at strategic locations. Some examples of the locations were on rooftops, sewer passageways, and even on the rail track when the trains were inactive. Virtually a stationary Minigun (see above), the turrets could deliver a large amount of damage to Cole at an incredibly fast rate of fire and had a long effective range.
- Turret truck: Virtually mobile turrets (see above), these flat-bed trucks were heavily armored, yet slow and could deliver a large amount of damage to Cole in a short amount of time, as the turrets on the beds of the trucks could turn in a full 360 degree ratio and although the turrets equipped on the trucks were slightly smaller than ground turrets, this in no way effected the damage they could deliver. They are seen most frequently in the blackout areas.
- Tar Truck: Tanker trucks that the Reapers used to transport the Black Tar in aid of spreading their plague into the water mains, these vehicles had no defensive attacks. Instead, the trucks were heavily armored, commonly escorted by a dozen Reapers including one or more Conduits and were also protected by the Reapers patrolling the streets and the rooftops near the truck.
- Riot Shields: A number of Reapers were equipped with riot shields, which were able to block the basic Lightning Bolt and Shock Grenade attacks, as well as gunfire from other factions. Some attacks, like Shockwave, can get through to the Reaper behind. Clearly former SWAT team riot shields that were either salvaged or taken by the Reapers after they had taken over the Neon District, they had blue Reaper logos painted on them, were made of worn plastic and aluminum and some bore the word "POLICE" written on them.
- Main article: Reapers/Types
The Reapers consisted of different "ranks" that could be fit in these categories: Basic Reapers, Heavy Reapers, Mad Bombers, and Conduits.
- Basic Reapers: Being the most commonly faced enemies in the Neon District, these Reapers were the standard force of the faction, however they could withstand only a minimal amount of damage and were most commonly seen carrying the Assault Rifle and Shotgun. All Basic Reapers' outfits range from hooded shirts, jackets, snow jackets and trench coats, however they all wore the color's standard faction of red with white skulls painted on their hoods and faces.
- Heavy Reapers: The Heavy Reapers carried the rarer weapons such as the RPG and the Minigun. These Reapers appeared to be a lot taller and bulkier looking than normal Reapers, due to the thick padded red snow jackets they wore and were more heavily armored than their basic counterparts, however this also made them slower. Their outfits were marked by special Skull logo designs and unique stripes along with the other differences stated above.
- Mad Bombers: This particular Reaper had two main methods of attacking Cole, which included throwing their flair-like bombs at him the same way as one would a grenade and charging at Cole then detonating their explosives upon close proximity with him. The Mad Bombers wore thick padded gray hoodies with a unique skull logo design painted on their hoods, and were used as couriers by the Reapers throughout their business in the Neon District.
- Reaper Conduit: Commonly referred to as the "Shockwave Conduit", they were a special type of Reaper with multiple "supernatural" abilities. Reaper Conduits were taller than the average human and wore white, hooded trenchcoats that were adorned with the Reaper emblem and designed to appear similar to human skeletons. They commonly carried the Assault Rifle and had three different abilities which included shape-shifting into civilians, Teleportation and releasing concussive shockwaves similar to Cole's own Shockwave.
The Reapers, along with the other gangs that took over Empire City after the city had been quarantined, were usually in conflict with each other as they all wished to take over the entire city.
- During the side mission Street Fight, a huge battle took place in the Warren between the Dust Men and the Reapers. The participants in the battle included many of the different types from both factions and additionally, Reapers had random street fights with other gangs throughout the rest of Empire City and could normally be seen in conflict with the Dust Men and on occasion even the First Sons.
- A Reaper costume was unlockable in PlayStation Home if you pre-ordered Infamous from anywhere, or by getting it through special circumstances.
- Although the Reapers generally did not speak any intelligible human language, it is known that they were in fact able to, as a good side mission called "Tied Down" involved using the Arc Restraint against four separate Reapers for interrogation. Also, in a side-mission in the Neon District, a disguised Reaper Conduit had spoken to Cole in perfect English before he and other Reapers attacked him.
- Reapers can help Cole in evil side missions, but despite that the reapers will always be hostile outside the mission.
- When the InFamous 2: Hero Edition was pre-ordered, you could receive an exclusive Reaper Skin for Cole to wear (as seen on the right).
- It is possible that the Reapers were critically disappearing (if all of the Neon District is conquered). The same goes with the Dust Men and First Sons.
- The Reapers seem to prefer powerful weapons, such as AK-47s in semi-automatic modes. Their usage of RPG-7s and Mossberg 500 Cruisers further proves that they prefer powerful weapons. The only downsides to their choice is that all their weapons lack precision and accuracy, as, unlike the other factions, they have no scopes on their rifles, and will just try to get as close to Cole as possible, which makes them very easy to defeat.
- In the beginning cutscene of InFamous 2, Cole can be seen holding a defeated Reaper in his hands.
- The Reaper Skin is available for Evil Cole in Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale.
- When using Precision, one can observe that there is a skull painted on the rocket of a Reaper's RPG-7.
- Reapers are similar to another faction in the Mass Effect series, also known as Reapers. Both factions use a form of 'indoctrination', controlling a person's mind and forcing said person to serve them.