inFamous: Second Son – PS4 Review

inFamous Second Son, by Sucker Punch Productions & Sony

inFamous Second Son, by Sucker Punch Productions & Sony

inFamous: Second Son is actually the third game in the inFamous series.  It’s also the first without primary character, Cole McGrath, or set in a fictionalized version of a real city.  In Second Son, you are introduced to a new character, new powers, all within a lovingly crafted and detailed digital version of real-world Seattle.  It’s an evolutionary step for the series, but, really there’s not much new as far as gameplay is concerned.  Your new powers offer some different opportunities for travel, for example, but the game doesn’t deviate far from the previous inFamous games.  And, frankly, that’s a good thing.  The entire series have been extremely fun games, and Second Son carries on that tradition.

Several years have gone by since the events from inFamous 2, and the government has authorized the rounding up and detention of all Conduits, humans with special powers, labeling them “Bio-Terrorists”.  Into this world steps a young man looking for his muse as a street-artist and in life, Delson Rowe.  Through an encounter with an escaped Conduit, Delson gains the power of “smoke”, and begins his journey as a super-hero, or super-villian.  As usual with these open-world games, characters good/evil choices determine the way NPC’s react to them, as well as the direction of the plot.  Regardless of your path, the destination is the same, a showdown with the head of the government agency, the Department of Unified Protection (DUP), policing Conduits.  Both plot lines are solid, well written, with very good voice-acting, forcing the player into some interesting decisions and unexpected outcomes.

Seattle is a very large city, and the game breaks it up into districts.  Each district has a certain amount of DUP presence that must be eliminated, while also offering chances to find ‘shards’, power-crystals that you can cash-in for new or upgraded powers.  The city is created in extreme detail.  NPC’s walk through the streets, and, as you become more famous, or infamous, will take to snapping your picture with their smartphones, or running in terror.  The games version of Seattle alone would stand as a very impressive tech-demo.

Run, Delson! Run!

Run, Delson! Run!

Lightning isn’t included in the power-lineup this time around.  But the game play will be familiar to inFamous fans.  There’s a regular attack, a heavy attack, a speed booster, and stun.  As the game progresses, new power-types will become available, but will follow the same pattern.  There are vital differences, however.  The “Neon” power, for example, allows players to run straight up building walls to the roof.  Delson is the only Conduit known to be able to absorb multiple power-types.  Making him very interesting to the DUP, indeed.

Gameplay is great fun, but can be a bit repetitive as you progress through the city.  There’s only so much enjoyment on can get after smashing your 25th drone for a power-shard.  That said, the battles scale up nicely with your powers and skill level.  They can be especially challenging for playing a “good Delson”and trying to avoid as much civilian collateral-damage as possible.  Unfortunately, enemy powers seem generally limited to “Concrete”, further limiting the variety of game play, but it is consistent with the plot.  And, although the final-boss battle is irritatingly drawn-out, the game experience, as a whole, is extraordinarily fun.

Graphics in Second Son are stunning.  Weather changes, lighting and reflections are effected.  Puddles form in the rain.  The game is beautiful, and, while standing on a tall building, it’s easy to find yourself just admiring the scenery.  InFamous: Second Son is a terrific game, and one which I whole-heartedly recommend.  In my opinion, it’s easily the best game available for PlayStation 4 right now, and one of the funnest I’ve played since X-COM: Enemy Unknown or Red Dead Redemption.  As an added bonus, developer Sucker Punch is releasing new game content over the first 6 weeks after game launch.  inFamous: Second Son is not a true ‘next-gen’ game, but it tries very, very hard.

Mike Knotts

Mike Knotts was born in 1968 in a small town in southern Indiana. Even when very young, Mike showed a love for all-things technical and sci-fi. Moving with his family to California in the early 80's, he eventually graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in History. Rather than put that to good use, Mike continued to pursue his passion for technology by working for early, regional ISP's in the mid 1990's. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he works as a project manager for an Internet startup. Mike is a co-founder of Geekometry.

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