inFamous: Second Son Review
Genre: TPS (Third-Person Shooter), Open world exploration, super-powers
Released for/Reviewed on: Released & reviewed on PS4
Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment (all the Playstation exclusives)/Sucker Punch Productions (inFamous 1 & 2, Sly Cooper)
Notable Voice Actors or Writers: Troy Baker (Joel in The Last of Us, The Joker in Arkham Origins, Ocelot in MGS5, Batman in LEGO Batman 2)
Alluring Element: Super powers in an open world with the freedom to choose how to use them
Check it out if you liked: inFamous series, Prototype
SCORECARD (each category ranked on a 10-point scale):
Storyline – 7
Gameplay – 10
Animation – 9
Replay Value – 8
Entertainment Value – 9
Captivity – 9
Variety – 8
Originality/Creativity – 10
Soundtrack – 9
Overall awesomeness – 9
inFamous has been slated as the PS4’s first killer game of this generation, and it did not disappoint. The visuals on this game are so far only rivaled by other big name games like Metal Gear Solid and maybe Titanfall. What is truly impressive is that they were able to keep this level of detail and graphics so high despite the large and intricate world they have created. The game is set in Seattle – and it is spot on. The dreary weather, Puget Sound, the ridiculous amount of seagulls and hipsters carrying coffee cups – it’s all there and gorgeously textured.
The premise of the game itself is pretty standard if you have played either of the previous inFamous games – or any type of open world game that involves free-roaming with powers (such as the old Spider-Man or Prince of Persia titles). The game picks up seven years after the events of inFamous 2 and with a majority of the conduits wiped out; the remaining conduits have been labeled as bio-terrorists. This is where are story begins – with leading man, Delsin Rowe. During a prison transport gone wrong Delsin finds out that he is a conduit with the ability to absorb powers from other conduits. The government agency in charge of controlling conduits (D.U.P.)shows up and wreaks havoc on the town while endangering the lives of the town. Without giving too much away, Delsin is forced to go after the head of this government agency in order to steal powers that will help him save his town.
After some introductory story and gaining a few new powers, the player is given the ability to roam through the city freely while dispensing justice or chaos. There is plenty to do throughout the city and some of the side missions take full advantage of the new capabilities of the DualShock 4 controller. The tagging side missions utilize the features the most as you have to manipulate the controller in many different ways to complete the artwork. The touch screen in the middle is used for absorbing more energy as well as some QTE’s. It is actually a nice inclusion since the system has mainly released ports of games that haven’t made any attempt to include these features. Note: If you’re really into the graffiti missions, there was a PS2 game released in the early 2000’s called Marc Ecko’s Getting Up. where you build your way up to becoming a world famous tagger.
Free-roaming and combat are pretty standard fare and as are the upgrade trees to both. Throughout the game, the player absorbs new powers that give new combat and travel abilities. I won’t ruin what any of them are, but suffice it to say it is just as much fun acquiring these powers as it is using them. This game does an amazing job of continuously making you feel more and more powerful. Each power has its own strengths and weaknesses and although each upgrade tree is pretty standard, they offers plenty of room for early customization to fit the gaming style of the player (ie – stealth, power-house, run and gun, etc). The melee system is a bit weak, but I think I spent 99% of my time aiming for headshots, anyway, so it didn’t bother me one bit.
As far as complaints go, I don’t have too many negative things to say – but my biggest gripe would have to be with the way they implemented the switching of powers. You are only able to use one power at a time and have to absorb the energy for the type of power you would like to use at one of the power stations around the city. Finding these power stations is very simple because the whole city is littered with them and they are labeled on the map as well. I personally would have preferred individual power bars that we were able to switch to on-the-fly. This may have made the character more powerful but they could have easily compensated with increased difficulty. My only other gripe with the powers was that the final power you spent the entire time trying to acquire felt like it wasn’t given the same amount of attention compared to the other ones. It isn’t completely developed and you are only given the opportunity to use it on the final boss and end game content. It’s a minor complaint, but I still think that with the lack of multiplayer content, this should have been give more attention. There is the possibility that future DLC can correct both of these complaints as well as add new powers for people to play with.
The last complaint that I have would be with the length of the story. While it was a solid (albeit simple) and engaging story, I did feel that by just going through the story it was a bit on the short side. It’s not nearly as short as the previously reviewed MGS: Ground Zeroes, but it will only clock you in at around five hours to complete the story and grab all the collectibles, roughly half of what it took for the first two games. Granted, the game is intended to be played twice for both the good and evil choices; once you have done that and completed all the side quests, there is very little left to do until possible future content is released. This is where the compensation comes in: Paper Trail! Paper Trail is one of the most innovative additions to a game I’ve seen. After all is said and done, there are special missions that you actually have to go online and do some detective work to complete. Once you solve the clues online, you unlock missions in the game. I’m not sure how it will work going forward – there are only a couple missions currently unlocked – but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones that were there.
inFamous: Second Son is not a perfect game, but it is a noticeable improvement of last-gen games – especially the previous two inFamous games, which set the bar very high for PS3. The addition of versatile conduit powers really let you customize the game in terms of how you play it. The side-quests, even though they are short and repetitive, add a new dimension to the game that made the older ones monotonous; coupled with Paper Trail make for some great fun after the story is complete. Most importantly, Delsin Rowe is a hero (or villain) gamers can really relate to. He’s just a normal kid with powers, not the prodigy that Cole McGrath was. His personality also makes players invest more in his cause. I get Delsin in a way I could never understand Cole. Minor complaints aside, this is an amazing game that everyone who owns a PS4 should consider picking up. For anyone wondering what the future console generation was going to look like need look no further than this game. This is but a starting point for what the future of this gaming generation is capable of and the future looks amazing.
All media credited to Sony Entertainment and Sucker Punch Productions