inFamous makes a great debut on the PS4 as Delsin Rowe uses his talents in the city of Seattle.
What Is It?
Set seven years after the events of the last game, inFamous: Second Son stars rebel Delsin Rowe, a Native American who has a penchant for getting in trouble with his graffiti art by his cop brother. One fateful day, a truck transporting a few conduits outside of Seattle crashes and he ends up confronting one of them before finding out that he himself is a conduit with the ability to absorb others’ powers. Delsin ends up with smoke powers and is put through an interrogation by Brook Augustine, the head of the Department of Unified Protection (DUP), who makes no mistakes about putting forth an evil agenda right away to show you that she’s up to no good before knocking him out. He wakes up a week later to find out that Augustine and the DUP has essentially shut down and taken over Seattle to find the escaped conduits by any means possible.
As the newest entry in the series and one of the biggest titles in the PlayStation 4’s early life, Infamous Second Son definitely looks like a showcase title for the system, but it doesn’t play too differently from the original trio of games on the PS3. It’s still a sandbox game where you have an island broken up into two halves to explore with DUP-controlled districts that you can free from their control, and story missions to complete along the way to see what’s next with Delsin’s tale. It is certainly Sucker Punch’s most technically accomplished and polished title so far and one that makes the best of it with the new powers featured in Second Son.
Why Should I Care?
The thing that makes inFamous: Second Son special in the sub-genre of superhero games is that it doesn’t necessarily adhere to the typical norm that you’d expect with element-based powers. Sucker Punch did everything they could do with electricity-based powers in the first two Infamous games, but Delsin’s ability to absorb and master others’ powers, along with some background details on the post-inFamous 2 world opens up a lot of possibilities that makes me excited for potential expansions or sequels. The first two powers that Delsin acquires are Smoke and Neon, which are certainly two unique elements that you typically don’t hear about with these sorts of superheroes. The basic third-person shooter-style attacks for these two powers are certainly what you expect from this series, though it’s the traversal and the finer points of the shooting mechanics that sets it apart.
Smoke is a bit plain and limiting when it comes to getting around since you’re limited to Delsin’s basic run speed and his ability to move through exhaust pipes to get to the top of buildings. It’s not as bad as it may sound, but when you get Neon powers, it feels like a weight is lifted off of your shoulders. In contrast, Neon is an agile power as you have the ability to run at the speed of light, or neon light at least, and the ability to run up buildings make it fast and fun to get across the city. It’s easier to get out of bad situations with Neon powers, which is essential for tougher combat encounters since the game doesn’t take it easy on you. The combat with concrete-powered DUP soldiers
allow them to flank you and get around quickly enough that they’re no joke. You have to know when to take your shots and when to get out to regenerate health, refill your power meter, or find a better position of attack. This aspect of combat is what really makes these fights a lot of fun to take on since you’re vulnerable enough to make improvisation necessary.
The morality aspect of Second Son’s story is very similar to what the first two games did by pausing during key moments to give you a choice between the good (blue) and evil (red) karma choices that helps direct Delsin’s character and important aspects of the story. Much like the previous games, these choices mostly represent the moral extremes, so there’s little nuance to your decisions like those in games such as Mass Effect, Alpha Protocol, The Walking Dead, and others that are handled in a better manner. That said, it works well enough that the good karma path makes Delsin into a good character whose progress from
rebellious punk to savior of the city is a rewarding one to follow to the end. The evil side isn’t quite as interesting since Delsin becomes more of a jerk than anybody truly is evil such as Augustine, so that path is more rewarding for the abilities.
Why Is It Worth My Time And Money?
inFamous: Second Son is a big improvement on many aspects of the previous games in a technical and mechanical sense, though it still falters in some of the same ways that they did. The magnetic platforming that the series inherited from Sly Cooper is still present and a little annoying at times in bigger moments. The karma side missions are a bit too simple and one-note for their own good to make the non-combat missions more filler than it ought to be. The game itself isn’t as long as I would have liked at about ten hours to twelve hours, but it feels like they streamlined the mission structure a bit and removed more of the filler missions that were in the previous games to give the game a better pace. The combat is better, the story is better, the design of the powers is better, and it’s just more fun to play Second Son. Among the early titles of PlayStation 4, inFamous: Second Son stands out as a showcase title both in quality and visuals, which makes this a must have for PS4 owners that want to see what their new consoles are capable of right now.