inFamous: Second Son was officially announced back in February 2013 along with the PS4, and to many people, the game has looked like the possible system seller which has perhaps been missing since the system’s launch. The game has been hyped beyond belief, through television advertisements and posters, in order to get gamers interested in what can be called a truly next-gen game, developed solely for the PS4. It is therefore a relief that the most recent instalment in the inFamous series delivers in almost every department to create a game that its developer, Sucker Punch, can be proud of.
The main premise of the game, taking place after inFamous 2, is that the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) is tasked with hunting down and imprisoning those with special powers, named Conduits, in order to extinguish the perceived threat of the ‘bio-terrorists’ to the public. The opening of Second Son is typically cinematic, with a large number of cut scenes interspersed with tense action. Although the cut scenes can at first seem overwhelming, they do decrease in number after the introduction when you are free to roam the entire city of ‘Seattle’ which has been created as a homage to the actual American city. The first sight of the game’s protagonist, Delsin Rowe, is of him defacing a billboard of his brother, and town sheriff, Reggie Rowe. This utilises the motion detector of the PS4 controller as well as its touchpad and, although gimmicky, does feel quite natural and a good use of the controller’s gadgets. After this, the game quickly throws you into the action, after a convoy carrying three imprisoned conduits crashes, allowing two to escape and leaving one named Hank, who possesses the power of Smoke, trapped under the wreckage. This leads to Delsin obtaining the first of four powers which he gains over the course of the main game.
Gameplay wise, inFamous: Second Son is rarely at fault. This may be due to the immense fun that can be had with the powers bestowed upon Delsin, but it feels as though the combat system has been honed to such a point that it always feels fluid and natural. The missions are also extremely fun to play. Fetch quests are mainly used, instead serving up a variety of quests which are focussed on advancement of the storyline and utilisation of the protagonist’s power set.
There are currently 4 powers to be unlocked over the course of the game, with smoke and neon the first two unlocked. These were revealed through the game’s trailers and the other two were kept secret until the game’s launch, therefore these will not be mentioned here. Suffice to say, all of the powers are superbly realised and refreshingly creative. Each power has an upgrade tree which can be progressed through at the player’s own pace, and this unlocks various new attacks and specials for each power, giving even more variety to the gameplay.
The power system also helps show off the superb graphics of the game. Aside from perhaps Killzone: Shadow Fall, no other game on the PS4 looks this good. Whilst the setting of inFamous in Seattle might seem like a dreary choice, and indeed there is a fair bit of rain during the game, the attention to detail is striking and the draw distance when standing atop a high building breathtaking. The neon power especially also shows off some beautiful particle effects and the blurred effect when using it to traverse environments is something you will never get bored of. This game is definitely pleasing on the eye to say the least.
Whilst the main storyline of the game does seem a tad short, coming to a somewhat abrupt end, there is still a variety of side-missions available throughout the open-world city. These range from short graffiti missions to full-on DUP showdowns in various areas of the city. These extend the game’s play time quite considerably and crucially are not boring to play through, a criticism sometimes made of the Assassins Creed series. Additionally, through the game’s ‘karma’ system, there is the possibility of an ‘evil’ or a ‘good’ playthrough. Therefore depending on the choices you make as you progress through the game, there is enough present to justify playing the game twice as a number of missions have alternate options.
For those people who own a Playstation 4, inFamous: Second Son is a must buy for the system and is an extremely enjoyable game. It is pleasing that a game as beautiful and fun as this has been released so early in the console’s lifetime. For the poor souls who are yet to invest in Sony’s latest offering, this might well be the game that it is worth buying a PS4 for.
inFamous Second Son is currently available only on PS4