‘Out with the bald in with the new’
‘Infamous: Second Son’ is the third Infamous game in the series developed by Sucker Punch productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. Second Son is seen as a spiritual successor to the first two games as it takes place seven years after the events of infamous’ 2 good ending following the *SPOILER* death of hero Cole McGrath. Second son puts you in the shoes of Delsin Rowe, known as the local felonious young adult of the akomish people. Delsin discovers his conduit (or Bio-terrorist) abilities after he witnesses a car crash on the akomish reservation involving three other conduits. After pulling free and inevitably being held hostage by one of the conduits inside the crash, Hank, Delsin discovers his ability to absorb the powers of others and make them his own. Due to the crash in the area the department of unified protection (or D.U.P for short), headed by Brooke Augustine, find their way into the area and recapture Hank. Augustine then questions Delsin over fear of him hiding information from her when the player is confronted with their first karmic choice of the game; confess to becoming a conduit or tell Augustine nothing. Despite the players choice both outcomes lead to the same fate (a gripe in the game that will be touched on later) of all the akomish people being tortured by Augustine for information by placing concrete into various limbs of individuals, and thus, a premise for the game has been set. The only way to remove the concrete is with Augustine’s power and so Delsin must travel to Seattle, with the help of his brother Reggie, in order to absorb Augustine’s power to heal the akomish people.
Second son follows the formula of the first two games which is works relatively well on the new console. As the old saying goes ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ and second son’s parkour and combat mesh well within the environments giving off the illusion of fluidity that captures a great sense of immersion within the player. Four powers are able to be used throughout the game; Smoke, Neon and two more which I won’t spoil are all at your disposal during your troubling time in Seattle. The ways in which switching from power to power via means in your environment assists in the games sense of realism but hinders it in regards to convenience. For example, due to the powers not being mapped to the directional buttons for ease to switch from one power to the next and having to find the source of the power somewhere within the environment. The free flow of the combat is halted and an inability to create large combos between the four different powers is seen. However, the focus of the title is not based on combos and the ability to obtain the highest score possible, due to their being no score at all, so the extra time devoted to realism pays off better when high score stats are not tracked. Use of all the powers is extremely satisfying with each having a basic aerial projectile attacks, hand to hand combat and gliding abilities that create an adrenaline rush within the player when zooming across the city skylines. Despite all the powers following the relatively same formula in regards to moves, each is tweaked just enough to make each power feel different enough that an addition of a new power creates a sense of freshness within the gameplay once more.
A big selling point of all the Infamous games was the player’s freedom of choice and ability to create their own paths due to the decisions they make throughout the game. Unfortunately, Second son falls short in regards to this element when compared to its past gen counterparts. My completion of the story on hard difficulty clocked in at around 6-7 hours with about 85% game completion by the end. This shortened story made it incredibly more difficult to care for the characters throughout the game and therefore, the decisions that the player needs to make do not impact as much on said player had the story been fleshed out to more of an extent enabling the player to grow a connection and care for the characters. That being said i was intrigued with Delsin’s changes as a character and his personal transformations as opposed to other side characters, even though the evil side of Delsin did not fit his character entirely. Another problem with this element of the game is the illusion of choice that is given when providing choices. What is not told to you is the black and white contrast of the two story arcs. No matter when you are in good karma, the good karma story elements will play out (in regards to the main story not if you undertake in evil or good side missions that coincide with characters within the story) and so, if your initial choices are good, then it is beneficial for your karmic level and thus ability to upgrade your powers that you stick with the karma choices you have already given i.e. continue giving the good karmic choices even if you don’t want to. This system could have been fixed if a levelling system was incorporated in which both good and evil karmic decisions were tracked and levelled each accordingly. Despite my gripes with the short campaign and inability to connect with the characters I did find the overall tail of Delsin’s troubles interesting enough to finish to completion.
Side mission variety is also lack-luster with each zone giving you the same tasks of 5 to complete to clear out an area. These includes finding spy D.U.P agents, destroying hidden cameras, tagging various areas, finding hidden audio logs and a final showdown with the D.U.P to clear them out of the area. Sucker Punch chose to recycle these 5 side mission types over the 20 or so areas of their interpretation of Seattle and thus, side exploration can become a bit stale. The game could have benefitted over adding a few more mission types and making them interchangeable within different areas in order to slow down the feel of repetition in regards to the mission types.
Despite the tone in which this review may be set, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Infamous second son. The style and flow of the combat was enough to overhaul the feeling of dissatisfaction in an incomplete or perhaps rushed story. Second son is to be considered a good, if not great PS4 exclusive that, had a few tweaks been made to some core systems prior to release, is held back to being one of the most memorable and must play titles of 2014.
- Excellent free flowing combat
- Intriguing story to say the least
- Interesting main Character
- Story Length
- Inability to care for side characters
- lackluster side missions
BONUS POINT: Quite a good cover of Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’ by Dead Sara included within the credits
Should you buy it? YES, unless you are on a budget. If so, worth a definite rental as it can easily be beaten over a weekends, those who purchase however can look forward to the addition of the paper trail dlc and possible more dlc later with Infamous 1 and 2 tie in.