The Son Also Rises
Taking place seven years after the events of Infamous 2, Second Son introduces a new character and new setting. Donít worry if you havenít played the previous games though, you will be brought up to speed quickly and there is honestly not a lot of backstory to be had anyways. If you are familiar with the basics of comics such as the X-Men then you will be familiar territory. Much like how Uncharted is inspired by Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider, Infamous is inspired by comic book superheroes. This is the series biggest strength as it is an original idea with no other media outside of the PlayStation platform, and so it feels fresh. Donít get me wrong, there are some good games based on the Marvel, and DC universes, but itís nice to see something completely new that takes what makes those worldís great and makes something unique out of it.
Infamous Second Son is an open world game taking place in an open world environment resembling Seattle, Washington. The landmarks are there and the city couldnít look more beautiful with all of the neon lights, smoke, and other effects that bring the city to life. One word you will hear a lot when reading about Second Son is that the game is beautiful and a spectacular show piece to the PlayStation 4 hardware this early in its life. There are however parts where the world feels lifeless. Interaction with non-playable characters is kept to a bare minimum, there is not a lot that can be destroyed outside of mission objectives and side missions, and interaction with the world overall is minimal.
Second Son wants you to focus on the story at hand. You have a clear goal in mind to carry out with your main man, Delsin. While you are not fighting the clock at all, you are free to do as you wish in this beautiful world, the game will try to steer you in a direction that encourages you to see the story through to the end. The map is marked with all sorts of things to collection, destroy, and even spray paint, with the main story objectives never far off from where you are at any given time. It helps too that the cast of characters is phenomenal. Delsin is as fun to watch during cutscenes as he is to play as. His humanity shines through in a way that is rarely seen in video games. The facial technology used to create realistic facial expressions helps a lot with this too, as does the amazing voice actor. The voice cast for this game really helps sell it. They all do a great job bringing these characters to life and this really helps with making you care about what you are doing.
Remember when I say Second Son takes many cues from comic books? No comic book hero would be complete with spectacular super powers. Well guess what? Delsin has three. Now granted each one is not too different from the others but there are subtle enough differences that while I played I found myself changing my powers as the right situations arise. The way in which the new powers are introduced and upgraded is fun as well. The story will always ease you into each new power, give you a chance to test it out and it is always clear how they work without holding your hand through the game. These powers include both travel and combat with a wide array of abilities to get around and put down your enemies. I want to talk more about the travel powers but spoilers! I will say this; there are three in all and they are all unique and really fun to play around with.
Delsinís powers are intelligently introduced and interwoven into the storyline in a way that makes their impact feel important to what you are doing. Power upgrades are handled via carrying out side objectives that earn upgrade points and while not required for finishing the story, will help you a lot and you can do them while also doing the story at the same time. They are also fun to do and that always helps.
The helps too that the controls are smooth and responsive, because Second Son can get turbulent; Enemies will come at you from all sides, on the streets and on roof tops, and sometimes flying. Using your powers wisely will be key to surviving especially on the harder difficulties which will be required for earning that platinum trophy. While you have a limited energy bar for each power set, you are never out of arms reach of refills, requiring you to step back, take a look at the situation you are in, and breath for a moment before beating up the bad guys again. This surprisingly does not hamper the combat at all and it takes a lot to deplete that energy bar in the bottom left of the screen. There are also energy bombs which I will not spoil for you but they are pretty stunning.
Infamous Second Son is fun, a testament to the PlayStation 4 hardware, and while still being an early title for the new console, feels like a great AAA effort Sucker Punch. If this is what the developer can do this early on in the systems life, then I am really looking forward to future titles from this crew. While Second Son plays it safe overall in the series, it still does enough right and on its own merits is a very fun action adventure game that will keep player entertained.