Infamous: Second Son | Review | Broken Joysticks

Apr
08

Infamous: Second Son | Review

After a long wait the first huge Playstation 4 exclusive is here. A new entry in this innovative and fun franchise is welcomed to the next generation of consoles. So how does the game stand up? Is it more of the same? Does it continue to innovate? Well read on and find out.

Infamous: Second Son is an improvement upon a solid foundation. You will not find ground breaking innovation here; however you will find a solid improvement over the predecessors and an engaging game play experience. The series has updated and improved making Second Son well worth it’s asking price. This game could easily be a system seller.

We start with the visuals here Infamous shows that it is a next generation title. Frame rate is smooth with tons of action and beautiful particle effects; the world feels solid and alive. The city of Seattle has been rebuilt beautifully, it’s not a perfect replica but the game world feels real, the environment has been gone over with a fine tooth come to make sure textures look and feel great. Character models are unique and interesting, with character faces showing a great deal of emotion. Of course the bystander models are not nearly as pretty but when you have to pack a city with people this can easily be forgiven.second son 1

The audio is what really seals the deal for me when it comes to the overall feel of the game. The team at Sucker Punch clearly wanted to immerse you in the world. The score itself compliments the action but the really impressive feat is the sound design of the city. Crowds yell out to your hero, the rain effects tricked me into thinking it was raining outside my living room. There is so much to love with the audio in this game, it’s all about interesting design choices and using the hardware. Simple effects from shaking the controller to shake a spray can; would be a good enough effort. Sucker Punch takes it a step further by having the rattle of the spray can come from the controller’s built in speaker. The ring of a cell phone all of these small design choices serve to suck you right into the game’s fascinating world.

So yes audibly and visually Infamous Second Son is a wonderful game it feels next gen which is great, The next step to taking this franchise next-gen is to deliver a powerful and fun comic book style story. This is sadly Second Son’s weakest attribute. Now the story is not bad it’s decent. A simple story about Delsin Rowe, he is a young man who due to a spoilery circumstance must power up and defeat evil Department of Unified Protection. It’s clichéd and honestly not too different from the plot of Infamous 2. The D.U.P is a group that has labeled all conduits bio-terrorists and with the authority of the United States government rounds up conduits experiments on them and keeps them in a concentration camp. So yes they are evil, but the game does well to draw parallels to the real world making some commentary on the NSA and unmanned drones. I do feel that this was supposed to be a bigger focus but it was scaled back as to not step on any toes with the United States government.

The fact that the story could have been so much more is what hurts it. We could have talked about militarization of the modern police force and the abuse of civil liberties. Using conduits as a metaphor for the poor/middle class, the game does in fact bring up these issues but it does not challenge them as strongly as I’d like.second son 3

Finally the game play the meat and potatoes, does this game make you feel like a bad ass with super powers? Yes. Infamous Second Son wants to outshine it’s older brothers and on a game play level it does just that. Delsin is basically a power sponge he can take powers from prime conduits and change on the fly. You start with smoke then move on to neon and the rest I will not spoil here. Each power feels unique and has a game play style associated with it. Combat has become ever more fluid. You can use smoke to get in blast a few guys and get out. Running low on smoke grab some power from that neon sign and lay waste. Is neon no good in the ever evolving situation? Hit a car a few times and draw some smoke. This dynamic allows to you to tailor combat to a particular play style or allow you to constantly adapt to whatever you feel like. Combat, traversal and overall movement changes with your powers but they all feel wonderful and have their place.[youtube id=”MlNfJvFnzc8″ width=”600″ height=”350″]

Accompanying the variety of powers is a decently sized move set for each power. You can progress through the power trees by collection blast shards and spending them. This makes you want to go after these collectables without you feeling like you have too. Other abilities can be unlocked based on your good/evil rank. These work and are fun but there seems to be far fewer choices then in other Infamous titles. None the less it is still fantastic and I’ve yet to find myself board. There are also side missions you can do to reduce the D.U.P’s hold over sections of the city. The side activities are not as memorable or plentiful as previous side missions but they are still enjoyable if only a little repetitive.

All things considered Infamous Second Son is a must own for anyone with a PS4 and a compelling reason to buy one. The game is solid and will keep you entertained for at least 10-20 hours. It is a welcome addition to my library. I hope we see a sequel or additional content for a possible stronger story but still the game as is worth the money.

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About Eric Bastelak

Eric Bastelak is a co-founder and excecutive editor of Broken Joysticks. When not writting lengthy editiorials about the future of this medium and the importance of story in gaming, he spends his time playing Star Wars: The Old Republic, Uncharted 3 and pretty much any RPG he can get his hands on. Eric spends any remaining time he has working and reading comic books. As an insomniac sleep has very little place in his life. Eric can be reached at ericbastelak@brokenjoysticks.net

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