Infamous Second Son Review
This is not a game I instantly fell in love with. Infamous: Second Son arrived on PS4 as the first big exclusive title back in March. When I initially purchased the game the graphics were probably the best on the system to date however, something about it just didn't grab me like it seemingly did most others I've spoken to. So did my mind change after finishing the game? Read on reader type person.
Infamous 1 & 2, both open world superhero styled games on PS3 were not really the best examples of the genre on PS3. Sure the critics were kind enough but, with a very unfair enemy AI and glitches the games weren't quite top tier for the PS3, a system where free roam ruled the roost. The main concept was very cool for an avid comic fan like myself. You play as Cole McGrath an average Joe blessed with crazy electricity powers suddenly hunted down by corrupt government types for doing not much more than becoming Electro (see The AmazingSpider-Man 2 - Ali). The games had a unique selling point with their good vs bad gameplay mechanic, through the players choices be them heroic or evil Coles world changed around him, citizens either loved him or feared him it was your choice.
Now in 2014 we get the third installment titled Second Son which places you in the shoes of Delsin Rowe who yet again gains super powers, or if you will, conduit powers, for his use be it good or evil. The game starts off years after the events of the original games in a small backwater town where everyone knows Delsin and people seem to live in fear of the conduits as if becoming "active" is a disease. This rumour is not at all dispelled by the DUP (the games big bad) who may talk like they are out to help people but, have many an ulterior motive. At first latching onto Delsin was tough, his character came across like a complete stoner douchebag and it’s not until midway through the game that you feel his character develop into something much more likeable.
Gameplay wise you have the massive city of Seattle split into two islands which have unlockable fast travel routes via district showdowns which pit the player against a wave of DUP forces. Win one of these - the district has been cleansed and you may use the board to fast travel. Doing these district showdowns earns Delsin a brand new jacket which is a nice addition.
Aside from the main campaign which involves Delsin chasing other conduits to try to help them and ultimately sees Delsin absorb an awesome new power. These range from transferring Delsin into smoke to zoom through vents, to turning him into a full rock cased human to rampage through foes. Powers are topped up by finding fuel, for example for smoke, you find a chimney and absorb it leading to a sweet effect where the sound comes out your dualshock speaker.
Travelling around becomes easy once the neon power is unlocked with which you turn into almost a neon blur a with the ability to scale walls and travel at high speeds. Powers are cool! (Particle effects and awesome lighting are also super cool! - Andy)
Side quests in this title are very entertaining ranging from finding a secret DUP agent in a crowd before he escapes, to my personal favourite: graffiti stencil art. To do this you must head to a spray can location where Delsin will set up his pre drawn art (sadly no free graffiti is included so TTP cannot be calculated) and you decide as per the rest of the choices, whether it's a good or bad graffiti piece.
Here's where the game gets to show off more of it's brilliance, to spray paint you hold your dualshock like a can and shake (there's even a rattle from the controller) and press the r2 button to spray a few times of this and hey presto a new Picasso (or Banksy) for the citizens to view. It's therapeutic to the max.
Initially the guards AI is tough but with an expanding RPG-like level up system your sure to grab that next power to blast through the pesky DUP forces. With a lot to do it took close to 30 hours to reduce the DUP to 0% for the whole city which is a hefty clock time for a single player game! DLC has been added in the wonderful meta game "Paper Trail" which is very much a fun addition to this game that others should emulate! With the special edition you also get a nice little extra in the "Coles Legacy" DLC which has you working with Zeke who was Cole’s best friend in the original game. Completing this earns you a new jacket which is the yellow and black one Cole sported and became my jacket of choice throughout.
On the downside citizen AI and glitches aren't the greatest, on occasions I have come across citizens spawning on tables and walking around as if there was nothing wrong! Also DUP guards doing the old "run at the wall" glitch so many games unfortunately have. Boss battles were fun and mildly challenging (on normal) but I'd suggest for the player who likes a challenge to crank up that difficulty. A particular boss battle which occurs in the last quarter of the game stands out as it is reminiscent of DMC and plays very much like it (you'll know when you get there).
So after all that the Infamous series has had two not so great games and then Second Son, a game that for the early days of PS4, should please even the most stubborn gamers (like myself) once you put a few hours in. Plenty re playability with the Paper Trail DLC (which is free) and the option to re-do the game as good/bad after finishing with your first choice. A great voice performance for the most part also helps in your immersion and connection with the characters some I loved (Fetch) and some took a while to grow on me (Delsin) but all round decent performances.
For this PS gamer this is the game to sell this system right now! Bold statement I know and for avid listeners of the podcast they will have heard my negativity towards the title but, given a few more hours this game took it's hold on me and I loved every conduit draining step. Top class. The utter best PS4 has to offer right now. If you don't have this title you are missing out! As the ninth doctor would say - Fantastic!
Alister Kennedy 42 Level One