Infamous Second Son Review: PS4 title brings a bit of everything.
I’ve had a PlayStation 4 since December, but I’ve only played two PS4 exclusive games on it. Let’s face it: we’re still a little low on exclusive titles right now. However, with the release of Infamous: Second Son, the dawn of the PlayStation 4 has finally and truly arrived. Why do I say that? Because Infamous: Second Son gets the system right: it utilizes all of the PS4’s features in a way that completely shows them off. And you know what? I’m sold.
The Story of Second Son
Infamous: Second Son picks up some time after the events of the previous Infamous title. Don’t expect to see Cole, but if you explore the open world of this new game, you’ll find some familiar names and situations. The conduits are back and an organization known as the DUP is rounding them up and putting them in a prison. Enter Delsin Rowe, just a young man who is a bit of a juvenile delinquent (he’s into tagging… err… graffiti art). When the DUP arrive in town after a bus full of conduit prisoners crashes near there, all hell breaks loose. Delsin’s brother, a police officer, gets involved, which gets Delsin involved. A conduit touches Delsin and suddenly, Delsin has all new awesome smoke-based powers.
But there’s a baddie by the name of Augustine. Augustine is a hardened soldier and conduit who is at the head of the DUP organization. Her main goal is to track down other DUP’s and herd them up and lock them away “for their own good.” Augustine attacks Delsin’s little town and uses her concrete powers to harm its citizens. Delsin can save these people, but only by doing one thing: absorb Augustine’s powers. So he and his brother follow her to Seattle.
It’s a good, strong story and certainly works in reference to previous Infamous titles. The characters are solid and you find yourself caring enough about them to the point that you get a little emotional when stuff happens to them (sorry, no spoilers here). Delsin is put together very well.
Like the other Infamous games, you can be good or evil. Unfortunately, as far as plot goes, evil doesn’t really fit. If Delsin were evil, why would he even bother following Augustine to Seattle to save the people of his town? I played heroic, because that’s what felt right, because in this particular storyline, it really seems to be the only choice to keep the story feeling honest. Although having a choice to be good or bad often works and raises the stakes of the previous games in this series, it doesn’t work here: only the good choice works well with the way the game is written.
“Wow,” was the first thing that came to mind when I put the disk into my PS4. Infamous: Second Son is probably the first game to really take advantage of the advanced graphics capability of this console. Not only does the fictional version of Seattle look amazing (I especially loved how nice it looked at night and while it was raining), but the characters also have great facial expressions that really add to the way they interact with the story. Delsin, in particular, has a great range of expressions, but from what I’m read, this has everything to do with the game devs at Sucker Punch working closely with Delsin’s voice actor, Troy Baker, modeling his own facial expressions onto the character in the game.
Well, I’ve already mentioned the awesome Troy Baker, so you know the level of talent in this game is excellent. Other characters are also well-voiced, including Christine Dunford, who really stood out as Augustine. This is a high quality production and even the background noise voices are done really well: Seattle sounds like a real city full of real people here.
Gameplay and Controls
Infamous: Second Son is the first game to fully utilize the PS4 controller’s features, and the game does this wonderfully well. There is a learning curve if you haven’t played anything using some of these controls before (I hadn’t), but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy and intuitive. A side mission lets you use the controller as spray paint can and you have to tilt it and shake it, as if it were a real spray can. To top that off, you press the Right Trigger to paint, and the entire process feels seamless. There’s also a lot of use of the touchpad, either swiping up, down, left or right, depending on the in-game action you’re participating in. And it all just feels so good. Obviously, the other controls are used for various skills you get during the game and it just works really good. The controller’s on-board sound is used sparingly, so that when sound comes through it, it immerses you that much more into the game. In other words, the controls are awesome.
What would an Infamous game be without super powers? In Second Son, you get a whole new slew of them. The first power Delsin has is smoke, which seems lame, but once you upgrade the skill level (with shards collected throughout the game), it’s not too bad. But even better is neon, which gives Delsin the power to travel with ease up and down buildings while leaving a trail of neon light behind him. Okay, sure, that sounds lame, too, but it’s actually awesome. But most awesome of all is heaven, which literally gives Delsin the ability to summon devils and angels to back him up in a fight. And heaven is the last power you get before your final battle with Angeline. During that fight, you get concrete, but if judging from that boss fight is enough, heaven is still the better and cooler power to have.
This is an open world game, so you can explore Seattle and take part in a multitude of side missions. I especially liked one integrated with infamouspapertrail.com: lots of puzzles to solve and mysteries to figure out. Other missions include tagging, taking out DUP locations throughout the city, busting drug dealers and finding out more about Cole. They all work well while taking part in the initial story and you can continue to play those after that part of the game is complete.
I’ve read some reviews that players were complaining about how short the main storyline is. I really can’t contest to that because I spend so much time exploring and doing side missions that the game felt like a good long one to me. That’s sort of the point of open world and I wouldn’t even recommend playing this if you’re just wanting to play the one story. It’s a good story, but there’s so much more that adds to it, that playing those side missions are relevant to the entire game as a whole.
Basically, Infamous: Second Son is the first PS4 game to fully integrate the PS4’s capabilities and features into it. For that alone, this game is worth playing. But it’s also got a great story, great acting and good characters you can really get behind. It’s a solid game and a worthy title for Sucker Punch’s foray into the next generation console field.