As I tore down the streets, running over cars, or up the side of buildings with a purple-ish neon colored trailed following me wherever I went, I came to the conclusion that InFamous Second Son (PS4) is legitimate fun. While there were some things I felt Sucker Punch could’ve improved on, what’s presented here is as close to gaming nirvana as I’ve gotten to since I bought my PS4.
Second Son takes place seven years after inFAMOUS 2. The series’ lead character Cole makes way for skinny jeans-wearing punk Delsin Rowe. Delsin, as we’ll come to find out, is a conduit (or in this game, a “bioterrorist”) who can “borrow” powers from the other conduits he crosses. He’s going to need them too, as he’s tasked with taking on the leader of the Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P.), Brooke Augustine. She’s made a habit of locking up all the conduits so they can’t use their powers.
The story pits the two on colliding paths from the outset, once a D.U.P. transport crashes nearby Delsin’s native tribe and he earns the ability to use smoke. Augustine tortures the people of Delsin’s tribe in order to get him to talk and once it’s over, Delsin sets his sights on Seattle to take Augustine’s powers to heal his crew.
The cast of characters range from Delsin, to Augustine, and his brother Reggie, who is the “Zeke” to Delsin’s Cole this time around. The new characters all come with pretty believable explanations for how they got their powers. The story may not be anything mind-blowing in terms of plot strings/twists, but the voice acting’s well done and hits it’s peak for the evil playthrough’s unexpected plot twist.
Second Son equips Delsin with four different types of powers. Smoke and Neon abilities hit first with the others too good to spoil. They lack a certain panache seen in Cole’s lightning. Yet, after beefing them up, they’re on par. Plus they provide their own fun i.e. yielding different modes of transportation throughout the city.
Speaking of Seattle, it’s absolutely GORGEOUS. The city’s clearly made as a playground for Delsin and a showpiece for the PS4’s power. While the city itself is beautifully crafted, the detail in Delsin’s character as well as the particle effects need appreciation. Destructible environments make for great spectacles once he’s powerful enough to shut everything down at the press of a button. The game’s free from slowdown, features fluid animation and running around while blowing sh*t up is pure, unadulterated joy.
With that said, there are a few drawbacks that are noticeable. For starters, the story is your run of the mill revenge piece. Granted, there are a couple of twists and turns. However, there isn’t anything here you haven’t seen or wouldn’t be able to guess.
Secondly, inFAMOUS has a camera problem: not the actual camera, though. Players have to shoot out the D.U.P.’s security cameras to knock down their presence. Ever since Goldeneye 64, developers have had a weird sort of obsession with shooting out cameras. It’d be considerably less annoying if there weren’t so many of them. Unfortunately they’re everywhere and shooting them down is simply annoying.
Clear cut choices with binary results return based whether the player chooses good or evil. Since the powers get tied to good and evil’s respective skill trees, some may find issue with being locked into one particular path. This system’s been in place since the first inFAMOUS so, unsurprisingly, there’s not much room for a gray area. Then again a concerted account for subtlety on major plot points would’ve been a welcome change in the series.
Additionally, while there’s plenty to do, some of the side missions feel uninspired. The spray painting missions, where having to manipulate the controller physically to spray paint, is a bit much. The game’s insistence on involving the touch pad feel tacked on. Lastly, powers should’ve been mapped out to the controller. Instead, Delsin’s ability to use powers is based on his surroundings. For instance, if you want Delsin to use the neon power, you have to be in proximity of some neon, otherwise you’re going to have to wait to use it. It’s not a dealbreaker, but I thought it could have been done better.
inFAMOUS Second Son is one of the best game on the PS4. The game is beautiful, the powers are awesome, and Delsin is a pretty good protagonist. Sucker Punch promises to support the game with future DLC and already released new content that takes place during the game AND offline in a rather unique way. You’d be a fool not to pick this one up – especially this is one of Sony’s leanest years in first party games.