Infamous: Second Son review
We’ve also reviewed the stand alone DLC, First Light. You can read it here.
Playstation 4 gamers have been looking for an exclusive title that makes their new console feel like a truly worthwhile purchase. Is that title Infamous: Second Son, or will players have to keep searching for a while longer?
Seven years after the events of Infamous 2, Sucker Punch has moved players to the new location of Seattle. With the new location comes a new protagonist, the small-time delinquent Delsin Rowe. A member of the Akomish tribe, he spends most of his days spraying graffiti and being arrested by older brother, Sheriff Reggie Rowe. While being arrested for his latest billboard art, Delsin and his brother witness the crash of a prisoner transport vehicle. During a struggle with one of the escaped convicts, a conduit called Hank, Delsin absorbs some of his powers. The evil Department of Unified Protection (DUP) recaptures Hank, but not before department head Brooke Augustine harms some of the Akomish tribe members while trying to discover Delsin’s new secret. In a bid to set things right, Delsin and Reggie travel to Seattle to find Augustine and reverse the damage.
Delsin is not an immediately likeable character. He usually opens his mouth before he thinks and brings trouble upon himself — his immaturity speaks volumes. However, that immaturity brings a unique response to the realisation that he has superpowers. His obvious joy makes him a character that suits his new-found skills and this means that you enjoy them too. By the time that you’ve been using the powers for a while, you may even have grown to like Delsin too.
Delsin begins with the ability to wield smoke but acquires new abilities as the story progresses. While these have obvious visual differences, there is little difference in the way that they are used. Of course, there is the all-important ability to scale buildings quickly. In combat, each power has a basic long-range attack, a heavier missile-style attack suited for destroying vehicles, a stun attack and a “super-duper annihilate everything” orbital drop attack that relies on maintaining a karma combo before it can be triggered. The game’s blast shard collectibles make it possible to upgrade your powers, seeing as there are just enough shards in the game to max out everything; Delsin grows over-powered very quickly. The odd decision to introduce a final power near the end of the game is made even more confusing by the fact that you’re likely to find yourself sticking to the first two powers that you acquire because that is what you have grown used to.
While you are having fun using your super powers, spare a thought for the residents of Seattle. The fascist DUP has the city in lockdown and the residents live in fear of the conduits, who they have been taught to hate as superpowered bio-terrorists. Drones and surveillance cameras keep an eye on every section of the city. Checkpoints block progress along the city’s roads, and suspected bio-terrorists are detained and held in suspect pens. When Delsin reaches Seattle, the city hates him. Does he choose to do what is right and free Seattle from its barriers of concrete, or does he get revenge on those who abhor him?
This is where the game starts to fall into familiar Infamous territory. The main missions take you on a journey that will change depending on whether you want to be a good or evil character — there is no middle ground. If you want to experience everything that the game has to offer, you will need to play through the game twice. Although short, the campaign will put your superpowers through their paces as you take back Seattle one way or another.
In between those missions you get side missions that initially add to the variety of gameplay on offer. Take on a horde of DUP agents in a landgrab style assault, look for secret agents, hidden cameras or spy drones, or make your mark on the town with one of Delsin’s stencil art designs. The latter makes ingenious use of the Dualshock pad’s motion controls, as players are instructed to turn the controller sideways, shake it and then use R2 as the spray can lever while you fill in the designs. Unfortunately the side activities become repetitive after a while and eventually start to feel like they were put there as filler content to extend the life of the game.
In total you’re likely to get 15-20 hours of gameplay out of a single playthrough if you decide to do everything that the game has to offer. While it may not be the step forward in gameplay that fans of the series were looking for, the title makes up for it with the quality of the graphics. The game looks stunning, from the ash and smoke as Delsin uses his powers to the characters’ appearances. You feel like you can follow their conversations just by watching their lips move. Despite this, graphics do not make a next-generation title on their own. While this is definitely the exclusive that Playstation 4 fans have been waiting for, this may not necessarily be the step up that will completely satisfy Infamous fans.
Need: More to do in Seattle. Hopefully the additional Papertrail content will add a little variety.