inFAMOUS: Second Son – Review
“No,no. Just don’t be a dick” – Reggie
Sucker Punch’s first game on the PS4 comes to us in the form of inFAMOUS: Second Son. This is not a continuation of the previous games or a reboot of the franchise. It is a game that stands on its own. Is the game any good? Does it live up the inFAMOUS name? Let’s take a look at Second Son and see what it holds for us.
You play as Delsin Rowe, a graffiti artist from his local tribe called the Akomish. Your brother, Reggie, is the local Sheriff for the town. The story starts out as Delsin just being an average person. No special powers or anything. Your brother ends up arresting you once again for a crime. While those two are arguing outside a Military truck driving by goes out of control and wrecks not too far from where you are standing at. Your brother, being the good guy, starts to look for survivors and helps any way he can. This leaves you to start surveying the wreckage and the surrounding area. You come across one of the detainees, Hank, in the back of the Military truck. After a short struggle and intense scene Delsin grabs Hank’s hand and learns his first power, Smoke.
Throughout the game you will learn more powers as you meet new characters and encounter more enemies. All together you will learn four powers. Those are Smoke, Neon, Digital and eventually Concrete. On my first playthrough, as being the hero, I mainly used Smoke as my go to power. On my second playthrough, as being evil, I used Neon as my primary weapon. I hardly ever used Digital. It just never seemed powerful enough to dispatch a group of enemies. I will say that being able to fly up walls was pretty cool. Then again, I could just run up them using Neon. To me Digital was like a third weapon of choice when I couldn’t use or refill Smoke or Neon. Concrete you will learn much later in the game for really a single sole purpose.
The gameplay is good for what it is but I won’t say impressive. You won’t find anything mind blowing or earth shattering here. There are your typical go across town and do this task. Then go here and do that sort of thing. Along the way you can explore Seattle and some of its scenery. Some of the land marks around town are in there. If you live in Seattle, or know about the city, you will see some familiar things in the game. This adds a nice touch to the atmosphere, especially if you live there. The city is blocked off into separate sections. Each one of these is being controlled by the DUP (Department of Unified Protection). When you pull up your mini map it shows how much of the current section you are in is being controlled by the DUP in percentage figures. The more activities you do such as story missions, side missions, mini games and so forth brings that percentage down. Once you get below 30% you can do what the game calls a District Showdown. This is basically you against a group of the DUP agents as one last stand to secure the area. The problem with this is you do the same thing over and over again throughout the entire game in each section. There isn’t’ much variance or difficulty. Rinse and repeat type of game play.
The graphics in the game are impressive. Especially all of the particle effects. The explosions can be massive and the lighting is fantastic. You can see the power of the PS4 coming through with especially the particle effects. From leaves blowing around, sparks coming from metal hitting metal to the powers that Delsin uses and the destruction he does. The most particle enhanced thing is the Digital power you learn. The PS4 handles this perfectly. When Delsin shoots it out of his hands it’s like a thousand little LCD screens that come flying out at a very rapid pace and hits the thing he was firing at. This isn’t a smooth line either. It very erratic and sways back and forth. They are small in size but very bright. Not once did I notice a frame rate drop or freeze while using it. The Smoke power has some good particle effects on it as well. From the trail of lightly colored greyish black smoke to the reddish fire color that creates the smoke is done very well. Then there is the Neon power. As you can guess this has to do with the bright neon colors you see in signs. This really shows off the lighting aspect of the game. Each time when you use this a stream of brightly colors lines come from Delsin’s hands. Even while running he changes to a neon color and leaves a trail of neon lights behind him that gradually fade away. It’s the most colorful and brightest power he uses. Concrete doesn’t really do all that much to tax the PS4. There are some particle aspects but you use the power in such a limited amount of time not much development went into the looks of it.
There is of course a skill tree that you can manipulate and upgrade your powers. To do that you need to collect enough Blast Shards. These can be found around the city after destroying the DUP’s Mobile Command units and Scanning Stations. Once those are destroyed, all the collectibles and side missions are displayed on your screen. Finding the Blast Shards can be a time consuming experience as a majority of them are used in Tracker Drones. These are basically mini flying planes that go around the city. Some are hidden pretty well and others are so high in the air you need to scale buildings to reach them. Each area of the city can take about 30 minutes to clear out to bring the DUP percentage down to zero.
The game also utilizes the PS4’s DualShock capabilities. To open doors you have to swipe the touch pad in the center of the controller. To use your spray can to tag walls you have to tilt the controller on its side and shake it like an actual can of spray paint. Using a hand scanner requires you to place a finger in a certain spot on the touch pad and so forth. These are some of the little things that makes the game seem original. I can only assume as more games start using this feature the more common it will become.
There are two different sides you can play in this game, the good side, also known as the hero, and the bad side, known as infamous. There are story changes depending on which side you choose early on in the game. Those story changes are very limited and don’t affect the direction the game is designed to go. You will ultimately end up at the same spot. There is a nice touch in the game that might bet overlooked. Depending on which side you choose and the higher notoriety you get, your jacket’s design on the back will change to match that.
Over all Second Son doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. There are some cool factors in the game and some great visuals. The game play is limited due to the same rinse and repeat missions. The story is fairly flat and predictable in the direction it is heading in. You can figure out the main boss in the game very early on. It starts out great and intriguing but then quickly loses it appeal the more you play it. If there is a sequel hopefully Sucker Punch will take more time in the gameplay aspects then just praising on how good it looks.