Have you ever wanted to have super powers? Powers like running at the speed of light or shooting lasers out of the palms of your hands?
Well, sadly, that isn’t going to happen, but in Infamous: Second Son, you can at least play as Delson Rowe (the protagonist), who has those powers. Through exploring the digital world of Seattle Sucker Punch has created you will finally know what it’s like to BE (play as) a superhero!… Even if the length of the game is padded with superficial sidequests and a story that is unimaginitive and downright boring. I would say, though, that Sucker Punch has definitely created one of the most beautiful and fun games to hit the console yet. The details in the characters and setting are gorgeous, and the game is incredible even just as a shadow of what we can expect this generation.
Thanks to the face technology used, all the characters look just like their real-life voice actors – with special detail paid to protagonist Delson. No detail is overlooked on Delson’s model; everything from the pores on his face, to the buttons on his vest, and even down to the laces on his boots, are excruciatingly detailed. His model isn’t the only one as detailed either. Most (if not all) of the main characters have the same level of design, and while the same can’t be said for the pedestrians on the street, they are still appealing, just nowhere near as special.
It’s only during a few segments (when the camera is at certain angles) that the level of facial detail crosses into the creepy uncanny valley. When it does, it’s purely in the eyes and teeth of the characters, but there really is nothing more unsettling than seeing a human face with obviously fake eyes and teeth. Thankfully, this is only present at certain times. Otherwise the game would be one big nightmare-inducing ride.
The virtual playground of Seattle which Sucker Punch has created is one of the best representations of a real-world city in any video game. Many of its’ iconic landmarks are recreated with stunning detail, the most breathtaking of which has got to be the Space Needle. Even aside from the landmarks, everything in the environment is gorgeous, and the level of detail put into the landscape is mind-boggling. My only complaint is that when you get close to a few objects, the detail becomes blurry and squished. For the most part though, the entire visual scope of the game will leave you breathless.
Let’s talk about the story of Infamous: Second Son. In all honesty, like I mentioned before, the story is unimaginative and boring. Delson’s character takes to the whole “I’m a bioterrorist” thing way too well. Instead of being taken aback by it, he quickly becomes attuned to it, and takes to being someone who sympathizes with a group he’s been taught to fear for the past seven years, much quicker than is believable. The whole story is unbelievable, even for video game standards – everything Delson does in the whole game is so that he can try and remove concrete from some old lady’s legs. Yes, the reason Delson gets swept up in this giant adventure, trying to take down the bad guys, is because a conduit embedded concrete in his grandmother figure’s legs. Aside from this, the whole plot is paced poorly. Nothing interesting will happen for a few missions, and then, WHAM, everything will happen. This cycle is repeated two or three times throughout the game before wrapping up in one of the most cliched and boring boss battles in recent gaming memory.
The game’s overall length is a bit on the short side, which can be a turn off for some gamers. The main story will take from 5-8 hours of gameplay for most people. The game took me just over 18 hours to complete and do all the side missions. You’ll want to do all the side stuff, too, because while the main story is lame and takes only a handful of hours to complete, the side activities make up for it for the most part.
To have everything marked on your map, you need to destroy DUP centers placed in each section of the city. These centers are guarded heavily and require a tactical approach to take down. Once you destroy those centers, everything in that part of the city will be shown on your minimap, making tracking down blast shards, dead drops, and graffiti spots a cinch. After completing most of the side activities in an area, you will be required to do a show down event, which drives the DUP out of that area of the city for good and unlocks the fast-travel point in that area. These side missions pad out the overall length of the game, and are mostly enjoyable, but can become tedious and boring due to their repetitive nature.
The best part of Second Son is by far the gameplay, thanks mostly to your powers. While it doesn’t do anything new and interesting, it’s really enjoyable. Using your powers to traverse the city is just all-out fun, and as you acquire new powers, it just gets better. Using smoke to zip in and out of pipes and glide above the landscape is not only breathtaking, but fun and easy as well. Neon, the second power you get, lets you run lightning fast, including up the sides of buildings and over obstacles. The only problem I had with this was once I got Neon I never wanted to go back to smoke, only due to the fact neon makes traversing the city faster.
Combat in Second Son is a blast, too. Watching enemies choke on my smoke power or get tied up by neon lasers is wonderful. One-on-one fights are very lopsided in your favor, but Second Son does a good job of mixing up the enemy types and throwing large groups at you. These fights require you to strategize and think about your approach to the situation at hand. At the higher difficulties, in later parts of the game, this can be overwhelming, and I found myself getting frustrated easily during certain sections. I don’t mind dying in games, unless I feel that the death was cheap. In these harder sections, on the hard difficulty, that’s how I felt. Though on normal all the fights seemed conquerable, they still take more thought than “run in and destroy everyone”.
The morale system in Infamous is dated, and I found it more of an annoyance than something to make the game better. During the PS3 days, choosing the good (blue) choice or bad (red) choice was the way many games tackled morality in games. Now, in this new generation, it just feels like an old mechanic that needs to go away, especially when it pertains to you gaining access to new powers. If you start out playing as good, it only makes sense to play 100% that way so you can get the most from your powers, and the same goes for playing evil. This kind of system feels very extreme, and no human is super-extremely moral. Life is full of grey choices, and the fact Infamous punishes you for making decisions like a real person is a total drag. I would rather the choices be less total extremes then have the system currently in place. The worst part of it is that story isn’t much different between the good and evil play styles. Yeah, there are some neat changes and a couple of extra lines of dialogue, but to me that isn’t worth it.
Infamous: Second Son is the PS4 game all owners should buy. Its’ fun and addictive gameplay make for one of the most enjoyable experiences currently available on the PS4. Sucker Punch did a great job nailing the gameplay and mastered the use of the technology on the PS4 to make Second Son a visually stunning game. Just don’t go in expecting to be blown away by the story, or you’ll be in for a huge disappointment. Its’ lack of variety in side content and short main story may turn some gamers away, but I truly feel those gamers are missing out. This game truly makes you feel like you have super powers
Infamous: Second Son could’ve have been tons better, if only the story wasn’t so bland, and the game didn’t pad the length with repetitive fluff. Yet even with those in mind, the game is still tons of fun and beautiful to look at. All PS4 owners should give Infamous: Second Son a chance.
I award Infamous: Second Son a grade of B.
+makes you feel like a superhero
-Short Game Length
-Repetitive side content