inFamous Second Son Review (PS4): “A Next-Gen Masterpiece”

inFamous Second Son Wallpaper

inFamous Second Son is the third installment in the inFamous series. Unlike most superpower games, you don’t play as the traditional superhero. A once normal human being, you play as Delsin Rowe, new to the whole “conduit powers thing”. You can choose to take the path of righteousness, giving a good name to all conduits and gifted alike; or you can choose to abuse your powers, reign hell upon the city you inhabit and strike fear into the hearts of civilians. Do you have what it takes to handle the responsibility that comes with superpowers? Does inFamous Second Son have what it takes to be the superpower behind the PS4’s game lineup?

Story: 5/5

InFamous Second Son takes place 7 years after the events of inFamous 2. Cole MacGrath is no longer in the picture and instead you take control of Delsin Rowe, a vigilante troublemaker who’s got a good heart and a lot of spray paint. Delsin, with his cop brother Reggie, belong to the Akomish tribe living on the outskirts of Seattle. The world is well aware of conduits, or “bio-terrorists”, after the events that occurred in inFamous 1 & 2, and they are not exactly welcome anymore. A special government division called the Department of Unified Protection (or DUP) runs a campaign against conduits, rounding them up like prisoners so that the rest of the world can live in harmony and safety. A special convoy carrying three highly dangerous conduits is driving through the Akomish territory, only a quick opportunity quickly finds the vehicle relieved of its inhabitants in a terrible crash. Viewing the accident, Delsin and Reggie quickly run to help, not knowing the danger that awaits them; and when Delsin gets too close to one of the trapped prisoners, he gets more than he intended. Coming into contact with one of the prisoners, Delsin seems to absorb his superpower, transforming him into something the whole world feared.

With a new arsenal of tricks, Delsin realizes he just gained a huge target on his head and aims to hunt down the prisoner to get him to undo the transformation. Before Delsin can get any useful information out of him however, the DUP arrives. Augustine, the head of the DUP quickly apprehends the prisoner and begins questioning Delsin over how he got so close to him and what he might have told him. When Delsin refuses to co-operate, he is quickly taken down a notch and immobilized. With no way to fight back, and without any credible information to satisfy Augustine, she turns her efforts towards the tribe, torturing every person for answers that may not even exist until she is satisfied.

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When Delsin learns of Augustine’s tyranny, he vows revenge and the turn of his people to good health. Together with Reggie, he sets out to learn how to use his powers and build his arsenal even more until he can rectify everything that’s happened.

Second Son has a certain realism about it that truly pulls you in and makes you believe everything could actually happen. Conduits are not normal, and therefore not accepted, even Delsin knows and realizes this in his struggle to control his abilities. The entire time you never take your powers for granted, constantly being reminded that whatever it is you’re doing – it’s awesome – something not often focused on in many “superhero” games.

Returning in Second Son is inFamous’ karma system; a system that rewards you for performing either good or evil deeds. This branches so far as to tie its way directly and majorly into the main story line. You’ll have multiple opportunities to drastically alter the way the game ends, truly adding to the experience of making the game how you want to play it (not to mention replay value). With each event, you really get sucked into the feeling of “what I do matters”, allowing you to easily get emotionally involved into the story.

These small, yet consequential aspects really bring the story to life. Throughout the entire game, you will meet new people and develop relationships that you can grow or separate with, depending on how you choose to play. With the addition of having a truly down-to-earth evil antagonist, Second Son really hits the mark on delivering a story you will remember and yearn to complete. Even after one playthrough, you’ll immediately want to go back and find out what happens if you decide to play the other way.

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Gameplay: 5/5

Second Son utilizes previously installed gameplay mechanics from its predecessors. You have powers that evolve based upon your karma to become more deadly and effective. Alongside of a ranged attack, you also have melee, a special ability and some different ways of getting around (who walks anymore?). However, whereas before you would play the entire game to acquire all the different types of abilities, you’re now given each ability basically as soon as you earn the power. At first, this feels a little cheap, like the game is spoon feeding you. However, as you progress through the story, you find that there is a lot withheld from you, and each newly gained power changes the way in which you play – just when you get used to a certain style, you’re given more options and suddenly you’re right back into learning and more excitement!

Enemies seem to have a certain intelligence about them. Take on a group and they’ll fight relentlessly, but get one alone and he’d rather put down his weapon and surrender. There are different rankings of enemies, from standard minions, to elites, to (of course) boss fights. Each has their worth and will make you strategize before you jump (or comet drop) right in. Even though you have super powers, you’re not invincible, something you’ll be reminded of repeatedly on expert mode.

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Besides the normal missions that pit you against waves of enemies, have you tracking a cell phone, or investigating a crime scene, there are a few side missions you can do throughout the mid-sized map of Seattle. Labelled on the mini-map, these vary from an extremely clever and enjoyable spray painting session to tracking bonus story audio files. Most of these are also karmic actions that will help you progress your powers, adding even more value to their worth. Speaking of spray painting sessions, the mechanic is brilliantly utilized. You’ll hold the DualShock 4 vertically and shake the controller as if it were the spray can, then press down the R2 button to spray away while using the motion sensor to aim the cursor. Also on the mini-map are blast shards, which are basically the in-game currency required to “buy” an upgrade. Past installments have had you racing all over the large map searching for any hidden location the blast shards could be held. In Second Son however, they’re all displayed nicely for you on the map, just so long as you can infiltrate a DUP stronghold, clear it of all enemies and destroy the tank-sized recon station in the middle of the district. You’ll not only earn a respawn point, but all the locations of the blast shards and side missions in the area.

While it would have been nice to have a bit more variety in the capabilities of each specific power as seen in past inFamous games, the end game result of owning multiple powers and how they are utilized is enough to make you feel like a god amongst ants.

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Graphics: 5/5

inFamous Second Son sets the new benchmark for graphics on next-gen. From amazing sunsets, to incredible detail on buildings and uniforms, Second Son truly delivers on the wow factor. One of the things that sets games apart is how fluid they are; luckily Second Son stays consistent with its quality, offering the same beautiful images from gameplay to cutscenes, back to gameplay again. Some of the best facial expressions in any game can be seen here, which takes the emotional connection of the events to a whole new level. While fluid and normal body gestures and reactions remind you that these are actual people, you’ll consistently be stunned at how well the small things look. One of the most impressive aspects is the particle control throughout the game. Every time you absorb a power or attack, you get the glorious display of a million independent particles, without any loss to framerate or quality ever. While I had a small personal issue with the smoothness of some of the faces, I never once felt like I had played a game with better graphical quality.

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Sound: 5/5

It’s been a while since I’ve played a game with such an upbeat soundtrack, I forgot what music could really do to you while you game. inFamous Second Son really embraces the idea that you’re playing in current day, as a sort of punk kid, and transcribes it into music to embrace the situations. Heavy guitar tracks and thick rock accompanies you destroying a group of DUP agents, and melodic and subtle rhythms help capture the ambiance of the city at night. Gunfire will easily direct you to where you’re being assaulted from, and the clever effects of different powers being utilized remind you that what you’re capable of is truly dangerous. Citizens will applaud or disdain you based upon your karma and you will react when necessary. However, the most impressive and immersive quality of the entire game that seems to know no bounds, wrapping its pervasive hands around you in an unfailing attempt to make you feel, is the voice acting. From the causal sly remarks and the sympathetic care of a brother, to the power driven revenge of a loved one, you will never forget that this game has people in it. Not characters, people.

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Overall Score: 20/20 = 10 out of 10 

inFamous Second Son is the game we’ve been waiting for on next-gen. With amazing graphics, sound quality and a perfectly executed story, Sucker Punch has truly delivered. The platinum trophy won’t take you long to achieve, but you’ll enjoy every second of it. The immersion of the player into the game is hard to match and you’ll easily find yourself getting tied up in the addictive quest of becoming the strongest conduit that’s ever lived. You won’t need to have played the last 2 games to understand and enjoy this story, so this is a great time to get involved in the series.

Pros:

+ Voice acting is impeccable on all parts

+ Graphics remain top quality consistently without hindrance to game

+ Super powers are awesome and everyone knows it!

+ Story can essentially be what you make it

Cons:

– I wanted more to do after I spend ~25+ hours playing (luckily there’s DLC being released each week for 6 weeks)

inFamous Second Son was purchased by the reviewer and tested for the PlayStation 4 system.

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