Game Review: inFamous: Second Son

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Sucker Punch has finally delivered on what was to be a very highly-anticipated launch title for the PlayStation 4. Will this new entry in the InFamous series continue the glory of its predecessors or will Second Son run out of juice?

The InFamous series has been an interesting series since the first game on PlayStation 3. It’s a series that has carved out it’s own identity over the first two games of being a solid but, not extravagant series. Fast-forward to today on the PlayStation 4 and InFamous has taken a bit of a different turn to a more interesting and perhaps realistic story ditching its comic book roots. This isn’t so much of a bad thing as it is a good thing. The series has matured, the story has become just a little bit more complex and in my opinion, better than the previous entries in the series.

The very first thing you’ll notice in InFamous: Second Son is the absolutely beautiful lighting that takes the game to a new level of graphic quality that is very tough to match. Nowhere is this more evident than watching the nightlife and the pouring rain hitting the pavement creating puddles. Of course, that’s when you’re not destroying the city with your incredible arsenal of powers. The game does have the occasional stutter on screen when there are too many effects going on at once but, that can almost be forgiven for how great everything looks and how well that the in-game Seattle has been constructed.

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Delsin gaining his neon powers from Fetch.

I felt that something that was always lacking in InFamous was the fact that the characters just didn’t really convey a whole lot of emotion and when they did it wasn’t very impactful. It quite frankly has never been a series that I played for the story, it was always more for the gameplay. In Second Son, the story is far more fleshed out and easy to follow and get behind. Troy Baker does an incredible job as Delsin, the brand new protagonist. He’s what I would describe as a hit and miss character. I for one love his snarky attitude and the way he tries to justify his every action usually to his brother who serves as a bit of a filter for some of Deslin’s outlandish ideas of how to best utilize his powers against his enemies. The dynamic between Delsin and the game’s characters is very real but, definitely leaves much to be desired because these story elements only last a few missions before it’s on to the next person or next thing. It’s not a bad thing but, with the interesting selection of characters in the game, I wish there could have been more story elements and conversations with these characters than there were.

As much as the story is very straight-forward, the open-world and many different missions and opportunities to modify and upgrade your powers are definitely where Second Son shines. Each different district has many different activities and opportunities to take back the power from the DUP which serves as the antagonist group in the game. These activities range from things like tagging, to taking down cameras, to overthrowing command posts among other things. There are also random karma moments around the city like disrupting protests, saving civilians, and busting drug dealers. There’s quite frankly a ton to do and you can easily get lost for hours doing all the little side-missions scattered around the map.

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Delsin gliding with smoke powers across Seattle.

The morality system admittedly seems a bit dated in this one, I believe it truly needs a complete overhaul to make it more plausible. There’s no sense in being in between, you’re either good or evil which in itself makes some sense but, there are some holes there. It just doesn’t make sense for a person in Delsin’s position to be evil in any way, it defeats the whole purpose of the story that he’s involved in. Delsin doesn’t have any reason to kill innocent civilians or break up protests or anything like that but, if you won’t to be evil these are central to the personality trend. It’s something that can be ignored to an extent but, it is something that sits in the back of your mind if you indeed are doing an evil playthrough. There’s just no morality in the decision quite frankly. You’re either good or evil and you’re going to pick whichever option corresponds to the playthrough you’re doing, there’s no incentive to go back and forth according to the action which really takes the whole point out of making the choice.

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A shot of the in-game hud and different scenery.

Overall, InFamous: Second Son excels where you would expect it to (the environment and gameplay) while stuttering a bit in the story and morality departments. Make no mistake, this is probably one of the better PS4 titles to date and definitely one worth picking up but, don’t expect your decisions to have much weigh or the characters to be very fleshed out besides Delsin because you’ll be disappointed.

*This game was provided to FYIG by Sony Computer Entertainment Canada for review purposes*

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