Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: March 21st, 2014
Available on: Playstation 4
Reviewer’s note: This review does not include the Cole’s Legacy or Paper Trail DLCs. They will get their own reviews.
Infamous was one of the new IPs introduced on the Playstation 3, featuring a comic-book styled story and fun open world super hero gameplay. After two entries that many people enjoyed the series is back for the third game and the first on the Playstation 4. Is this game the exclusive Sony needed to kickstart this generation?
Taking place seven years after Infamous 2, Second Son puts you in the role of Delsin Rowe: A rebel who’s trying to “fight the man” with the use of spray paint and witty signs. It’s not long before he acquires something he doesn’t expect: superpowers. With his family in danger him and his police officer brother Reggie travel to Seattle to save them. Along the way Delsin will have to deal with the D.U.P, who’s goal is to capture all conduits (the superheroes), led by the entertainingly evil Augustine. The tale isn’t exactly unique, but it does manage to succeed in recreating the superhero vibe. It’s predictable, but some great voice acting and performances goes a long way towards making you care about the characters. Sure you can probably guess some of the plot points long before they happen, but it doesn’t change that the material is still interesting enough to carry you through until the end. I also felt it was a smart move making Second Son pretty far removed from the other two Infamous games. While this isn’t a reboot, Second Son doesn’t have too much to do with them which means new players can jump into Second Son and not feel lost at all: something that’s importantly vital to people switching to a Playstation 4 from a different console.
Though if it’s not the plot that interests you then the gameplay may. Infamous: Second Son, like the other games in the series, is an open world third person action game. Deslin’s ability is to absorb powers from other conduit. So while at the beginning of the game you’ll be limited to just the smoke ability, later in you’ll also get control over neon, video, and concrete. While I felt the concrete power was under developed compared to the others, each power offers something different and new for Delsin to use. Each power has a basic attack, a missile ability, a non-lethal ability, and a movement ability. You can also upgrade these abilities by finding blast shards, a process that has been made more simplified from the past two games. Now you’ll just have to follow the map markers to UAVs that carry them, and shoot them down to collect them. Your karma will play a role in your ability set as well. Good karma and evil karma have different abilities and so you’re going to want to pick one path and stick with it. Good karma focuses more on the nonlethal and subduing enemies, while evil is more based on destruction and doing large damage to big areas. Your karma even effects how you earn your ultimate abilities: good karma can earn them slowly and save them by doing good deeds, while evil karma gets them by preforming a bunch of kills quickly to use it rapidly.
Each of the four powers feels unique, which is really fun. Smoke powers has you able to dash into vents and move up to the top of a building really fast, or pass through objects before throwing enemies into disabling coughing fits. Neon, on the other hand, lets you use super fast movements to out maneuver opponents before slowing down time to place a single instantly killing shot to their heads. Each of these powers is accompanied by some genuinely stunning visual effects and light work. Watching the neon light up a dark area is so well done, as is the way the video powers constantly looks like it’s glitching out. It’s a bit of a shame that for all these powers there’s not more enemies to use them on. You’ll be seeing a lot of the same basic enemies in the game. There’s a few variations: the chain gun wielding heavies and concrete using conduit troops are a neat addition, but there’s not enough of them. Before long you’ll probably know which tactics work best for any given scenario. It doesn’t mean the game is easy, some fights can still be pretty challenging at times, but it’s not going to be constantly mixing things up to surprise you in any way.
The same can also be said about the game’s side quests. Each district in Seattle is controlled by the D.U.P and if you want to free it you need to do a set of tasks in each one. When you first enter a district most of the quests are hidden, but you can reveal them by destroying the D.U.P’s mobile command post in that area. Once you take that out you open up a set of tasks that can be completed to lower their control in the area. These range from collectables like finding blast shards and destroying cameras, to tasks like hunting down secret agents and creating stencil art. Part of the problem is that there’s only really four different kinds of tasks available. Three of them are extremely simple, just having you follow a tracker or killing a specific target. The fourth is stencil art, a sort of unique side distraction which has you turning the controller sideways and shaking it before using it like a spray can to draw stencils on the wall. Once you’ve cleared out the side tasks and got the majority of the collectables you can call the D.U.P to one area and have a district showdown, which creates a large battle on your location. Finish that up and you’ll free the district, which will massively slow down the rate that the D.U.P spawn at.
Infamous: Second Son may not be quite as focused or varied as the past two entries in the series, but it’s a great jumping into point for those interested into the series. The new powers are awesome and there will be plenty of fun had for anyone interested in the game at all. If your Playstation 4 has been waiting for the next big game then it should wait no longer.