GAME NAME: InFamous: Second Son
DEVELOPER(S): Sucker Punch
GENRE(S): Action, Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): March 21st, 2014
It’s the future. People roam the streets with special powers, powers capable of who knows what. Those we would consider ‘normal’ and without power refer to those who find themselves empowered as bio-terrorists, and those who are empowered refer to themselves as Conduits. Unfortunately, people lacking powers outnumber the “bio-terrorists” and so they’re inevitably being locked away. To be precise, it’s to protect the every day citizen from what is largely just the unexplained, but they are protected nonetheless, and they go on with their lives. It’s the future after all.
Welcome to the world of InFamous: Second Son, which places us in the hands of ‘a nobody’ from a small town, Delsin Rowe. But Delsin’s world is about to get turned upside down as a convoy carrying 3 of these conduits suffers an accident and they escape. Delsin confronts one of the escapees and suddenly realises that he too is a conduit, one that can gain the power of any conduit that he touches.
The first guy has smoke abilities, and by that I don’t mean that he can smoke all the cigarettes he likes without affecting his lungs. What it means is that he can literally shoot smoke out his hands. Delsin uses his new found powers to take care of the conduit, but then runs into the head of the DUP, Augustine, who hunts down bio-terrorists using powers of her own. It’s here where the story really begins as Augustine injures all of Delsin’s friends and family, which forces him to leave his town, head to Seattle and set things straight.
For the first time in the InFamous series, a real city is used as Seattle plays host to Delsin’s new powers. Here he discovers core reactors which enhance his powers and teach him some new tricks along the way. As Delsin explores the city, he also finds out that many of the areas are controlled by the DUP and that many are being oppressed by its control, and, of course, it’s something he aims to put an end to.
Throughout the game’s main missions, Delsin will also discover new powers, each with their own set of strengths and attributes. The Smoke power which he starts with doesn’t only allow for him to shoot smoke, but also allows him to teleport through various objects, throw a smoke bomb as well as glide through the air. Gone are the days where you had to deal with the tedium of climbing up buildings as Delsin can enter vents and shoot straight to the top of a building in no time.
The other powers he inherits include Neon abilities, ‘video’ abilities and concrete abilities. Each power is unique and has different advantages. It’s worthwhile messing around with all of the powers as they’re fantastic to play with, but also because at one point or another you will need a specific power. Discovering them is half the fun though, so without spoiling exactly what they do, I can say that each has a different method of traversing the buildings, gliding through the air and a range of projectiles and special abilities. My personal favourite being the ability to go invisible and subduing the enemies.
The powers aren’t unlimited though. Delsin draws on his powers from the world around him. So smoke has to be found coming out of broken cars or pipes, neon lights provide neon top-ups and satellites provide the video power for example. They are mostly readily available, particularly during boss battles, but you will still have to be tactical about your use of them.
This extends further to the skill tree at Delsin’s disposal. Throughout the game, you collect shards off DUP vehicles and trackers and these shards allow you to level up your abilities. Each has quite a few different additions to their standard powers and increasing the levels of all of your powers is definitely recommended.
Sucker Punch’s tagline is about “enjoying your powers”, and it’s honestly impossible not to. Especially when you build up to use your super power which results in lots of pretty colours, but also some epic looking abilities. It’s simply awesome.
As great as the powers are, the story is a bit of a hit and miss. It carries on through the main missions, as in any open-world game, but they are split into two parts at various times, between good and evil. Deciding at key points which way you will go will alter your story progression, which then adds a deal of replayability if you so wish to see how things might play out differently. The different karma, as the game calls it, awarded to each action isn’t only about missions but revolves around how you go about your days in the big city. Do you kill enemies that have been subdued, or perhaps your aim is to kill civilians? If so, then you will head down the evil route. But stay on the good side of the tracks and you will become the ultimate hero.
Apart from the main missions, you will also have your dose of side missions. This is really where the game fails at times as the side missions are generic throughout and add almost no value to the game. That said, they are quite fun and easy to do when you want to kill a few minutes. These side missions include chasing a hidden agent, finding a hidden camera, spray painting (which looks cool) certain areas, taking out DUP mobile units, taking out attack drones and finding call logs. Each side mission gives experience, but little else. For the completionists though, finishing the side missions clears areas of DUP forces which is something that can be carried on with after the main story ends.
Where InFamous truly shines is in its presentation. It’s the first game to seriously show off just what the PS4 can do, well alongside Killzone: Shadow Fall at least. The graphics look amazingly clear, textures are crisp and the lighting is sharp. The gameplay is also the smoothest of any game I have ever played. Massive battles against the DUP, even with all of those pristine colours flying everywhere, doesn’t result in much of a frame rate drop at all. It’s astounding just how incredible it all looks and feels. If you want a game to show off your new hardware, this is the game to get.
Presentation filters through to the sound as well, and the soundtrack compliments the visuals perfectly. It has great music, especially in certain areas, and wonderful sound effects to boot. To top it all off, you have some of the best voice acting you’re likely to hear, with Troy Baker once again leading the way and showing just why he is so highly thought of in the gaming world today.
While the main story may not be wholly original, despite being an interesting take on discovering and using powers for good or bad, and while the side missions are mostly pointless, InFamous: Second Son ends up being a fantastic entry into the PS4 library. What it lacks in narrative, at times, it more than makes up for in just about everything else it does. There are memorable characters and events in the game, but the true heroes are definitely the looks and feel of the game, and, of course, just how much fun it is to use those powers.
Sucker Punch wants you to enjoy your powers, and if you pick up InFamous: Second Son then there is little chance you won’t. It’s easily one of the most enjoyable games I have played in ages. The worst part of the game is that it ends and you are left wishing that you had those powers for yourself. We can all dream, can’t we?