Publisher/Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment / Sucker Punch Studios
Platform: PlayStation 4
If you had superpowers what would you use them for a good cause or more selfish reasons? In line with the latest (and third title in the series) game from Sucker Punch Studios, Infamous: Second Son offers players the chance to jump in the shoes of its newest super powered main character and use Seattle as their play ground. Does “great power come with great responsibility”? Well, only if you want it to. Regardless, it is no less fun using your powers as a good guy or being an evil jerk in this ambitious offering. Having super powers never looked or played better for the series and Infamous Second Son definitely deserves a spot in your burgeoning PlayStation 4 collection.
Infamous: Second Son’s protagonist is Delsin Rowe, a young adult who seems to have a past as a bit of trouble maker and as a graffiti artist. And then there came a day unlike any other, where Delsin and his older (and sheriff) brother Reggie came upon a car accident involving super powered prisoners. While Reggie runs off to try and apprehend the ones who escaped, Delsin attempts to help one of the victims and accidentally absorbs his powers.
After a few segments where Delsin gets a chance to test out his new powers, Augustine, the main villain in this story is introduced. She leads a law enforcement agency called the Department of Unified Protection. Their mandate is to capture and suppress any individuals with super powers (called conduits or bio terrorists). After a brief but rough encounter with Augustine and the D.U.P, Delsin begins his quest on becoming Seattle’s greatest super powered hero or menace.
If you are unfamiliar with the infamous series, game play choices coupled with different main/side missions will add to your Karma meter on your journey to battle and bring down Augustine and the D.U.P. As you fill your karma meter, new abilities will be unlocked for you and can be purchased with “blast shards”. These glowing blue blast shards are littered throughout the city in machines, robots, D.U.P trucks and command posts. By using the blast shards you power up or enhance the duration for your abilities which will be extremely useful against enemies you will be going up against during the campaign.
The power you start off with is “smoke”. It is a useful ability which lets you shoot fire and smoke from your hands, dash through obstacles likes fences, up through building vents, or on the sides of buildings which allows for quick escape/ascension. Using smoke and other abilities is where Infamous: Second Son stands triumphant above most of the other superhero video games. Each super powered ability has its own qualities which make it fun in its own way to use. My favourite ability to use is the “Neon” ability which gives you super speed (think along the lines of DC comics The Flash) and laser blasts. The game play controls are perfectly integrated with these abilities.
After some practice you will not forget how to trigger the attacks you like the most, and if you run low on let’s say “smoke” power during a fight and you want to use a different power, just absorb the lights from a store sign to gain the “neon” ability. You can use your smoke power to go through a vent or use your speedster ability to run up the side of the building, whatever you choose you will have a blast using your powers to explore the city, tackling side quests or fighting bad guys. And trust me there are plenty of bad guys to fight.
My gripe when it comes to the enemies is not so much on the amount of bad guys you fight, but the lack of variety you will face. After a few story missions, it seems like you have pretty much seen all of the enemies you will be fighting. That minor grievance aside, the simple game play controls with various abilities to use at your disposal is one of the reasons which will keep you coming back to play Infamous Second son.
If the Spectacular game play has you popping the game disc back into to your PS4 repeatedly, then it will be the incredibly detailed and beautiful graphics which will add to your play time. Not only are the characters created with exquisite detail, but the buildings, cars, sunsets, the reflections off water on soaked rooftops, down to the reflections off glass tables will certainly have you lost in your surroundings. Of course once you use your super powers the lighting effects, the puffs of smoke, along with the crackle and flash of energy are all wonderful sights to behold. The city could have been made a little bit livelier, but it is still a pleasure to explore.
The musical score was decent, but nothing spectacular to write about in that area, but the voice acting I found ranged from great to decent, with the exchanges between Delsin (voiced by Troy baker) and Reggie(Travis Willingham) to be most natural sounding characters. They really do sound like brothers, between their comments, jokes and jabs at one another. I found myself really enjoying the screen time they had with one another. The other characters did not have the same level of chemistry when they interacted with Delsin, and felt a little out of place. Some of the voice actors turned out a decent effort but felt a bit unnatural in their delivery and approach for the characters. This by far does not break the game, but it is a bit jarring when you start to make your way through the campaign and start to meet other characters along the way.
So what is there to do with your superpowers in the city of Seattle? Well besides the story missions, and other side quests which range from tagging a wall with graffiti using your Dualshock 4 controller as a spray can, to finding hidden cameras, and waging battles on the D.U.P command stations…not really a whole lot else. There is the paper trails DLC which has been added week by week in chapters for those to play for free, however I have not played it as of yet and cannot comment on the quality and content of it. But besides some more upcoming DLC which has yet to be released, you always have the option of playing through the story a second time to do the opposite choices you made previously. With that being said even though the city could use a few more varied side missions, what is currently available will keep you busy trophy hunting while trying to reach 100% completion.
Infamous Second Son is one of the big exclusive titles to hit the PS4 since the console hit North America in November, and it was worth the wait. Sucker punch delivered a gorgeous looking game which clearly took advantage of the power of the PS4 hardware to bring this ambitious title to life. A beautiful, easy to play, simple to master control scheme allied with a fantastic reservoir of super powers to draw from will leave anyone familiar or not with the Infamous series happy to add this title to their collection. The only real weakness’s with the game lies in the under usage of characters along with decent voice acting, a low number of enemy types, a beautiful looking Seattle which could be a bit more active, and a lack of varied side missions. If those issues were the only real weakness to be found in this game, then none of those flaws are a reason to keep this title from your collection. Infamous Second Son shows that with a great games such as this, comes the responsibility of playing it…what you do with your super powers is up to you.