InFamous: Second Son PS4 Review
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe Developer: Sucker Punch Genre: Action
Players: 1 Age Rating: 16+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A
InFamous has always been an empowering series, allowing you to wreak havoc with your electricity based powers, but InFamous: Second Son takes this further still with new hero Delsin Rowe, who, with his full capabilities, makes previous protagonist Cole McGrath look weak in comparison, and this leap in power at the start of a new generation of consoles is somewhat fitting.
Delsin is a young delinquent with a talent for graffiti, who, after encountering a conduit, soon picks up more fantastical talents, which grants him superpowers, giving him the ability to shoot smoke from his fingertips, though this is just one of multiple powers. Rowe enthusiastically embraces his powers and is easily a more interesting and charismatic character than his often bland predecessor, and his amusing relationship with his older brother Reggie further adds personality to the character. He, like the other characters, is brought to life with not only largely strong voice acting but also excellent facial animation that really allows you to get a sense of what they’re feeling.
The increased power of the PS4 has given developer, Sucker Punch the opportunity of assembling a visually tremendous game, which really shows off what the format can do in the right hands. The city of Seattle looks smooth, the lighting and wet streets incredibly authentic and the particles which accompany the usage of Delsin’s powers are beautiful. It’s a technically outstanding game and far beyond anything from the previous generation, though the increase in detail means that its deficiencies can be all the more jarring, for instance why do puddles not react to the feet of Delsin.
In terms of missions there’s little of real imagination on display here: blowing things up, killing and chasing people; it’s all standard fare. Side missions meanwhile see you hunting down blast shards to increase the potency of Delsin’s abilities, finding and destroying hidden cameras and taking down enemy agents, all of which will eventually trigger a showdown which allows you to send the DUP packing from the district. As with many other open world offerings, some of it feels more like padding than adding anything of true value to the experience, but thankfully none of it is terrible, just a bit pointless.
The city itself is a decent enough world, though its lacking the life, ambience and soul to be a truly great open world environment, though its layout functions as a wonderful playground for Delsin’s powers to be employed.
The mission design might well be pedestrian, but it works more than well enough and is elevated by Rowe himself, who is an utter joy to take charge of. To begin with he has smoke powers, but will also pick up other power sets such as the flashy and visually spectacular neon powers, and this grants more variation to his abilities in comparison to Cole who was strictly all about lightning.
Like previous games in the series, InFamous: Second Son has a karma system as a consequence to your play style, so simply incapacitating enemies will grant you good karma, whilst outright killing them will earn you bad karma. There are unique upgrades and missions for each alignment, so it’s well worth playing through the game twice to see all that it has to offer.
There is also the occasional narrative choice, which has a bearing on your alignment, though these aren’t as interesting as Telltale Game’s Walking Dead series, and are either very good or very evil acts and not ever anything in between, and once you’ve chosen your fist choice, you must stick with it to ensure you unlock the most powerful abilities of the alignment, but it’s still nevertheless intriguing to see where each contrasting choice leads .
InFamous: Second Son might suffer from problems that blight the genre at large and are becoming ever more glaring as the genre advances in years, but this doesn’t stop the game from being strong enough from both a technological and gameplay perspective to be a highlight in these early days of the PS4.