Although not a launch title, it’s safe to say that inFAMOUS was one of the driving forces behind the later success of the PlayStation 3. The series opener released to rave reviews around the world and hailed the start of something special.
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also Available On: Exclusive to PS4
Release Date: Out Now
Since it’s inception the series has spawned two big-budget PlayStation 3 exclusives, a couple of internet-based games, a DC produced comic-book series and five years of rumours from Hollywood regarding a movie and despite a three year release hiatus, the franchise has never fallen into obscurity.
So we’re in to month five of the new console war, the month that saw Microsoft release it’s big Xbox One selling point, Titanfall and no PlayStation 4 exclusive yet released that showcases exactly what the console is capable of doing. Sony’s response, inFAMOUS: Second Son.
Sucker Punch are adamant that Second Son is not a reboot but a refreshing new perspective on the series, a new hero, a new setting and a lot of new powers would suggest otherwise.
Set seven years after the events from inFAMOUS 2, our familiar protagonist from the series, Cole MacGrath has gone, replaced by a younger superhero in the making. Delsin Rowe is a twenty-something Native American with little purpose in his life until the day he discovers he is a conduit, a “power sponge” as he puts it.
The Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P), the government organisation seeking to imprison conduits is back and more powerful than ever as they take full control of Seattle in their hunt. Having suffered at the hands of the D.U.P, Delsin must choose a path between good and evil as he pursues their leader in order to protect his own people.
The story play offers a variety of missions as you go from small town delinquent to big city saviour, the overall goal being to seek out and collect as many powers as you can before going up against the big bad. This mode alone offers 10-11 hours of game-play but throw in the morality play, where you must choose good or evil, and that is easily doubled. As with many games of this type though, the story isn’t the end of the game-play. Second Son features a number of side missions dotted about the open-world for when you’re on the free-roam.
Sucker Punch have raided the metaphoric PS4 bag of tricks and pulled everything out for this game and nowhere is that more visible then in the huge open-world. Although not GTA V huge, the city scape, based on the real-life Seattle offers those that love to explore the chance to go crazy and not one square inch is out of bounds with the powers at Delsin’s disposal.
The game-play is flawless and stunning to look at, get yourself to the top of an apartment building and you can truly appreciate the visuals. The standard has definitely been raised for the dynamic use of lighting, Killzone: Shadow Fall may have set that standard but Second Son smashes it to pieces. Night or day, this game looks good, whether it’s the glare as you look up into the sky or the neon billboards in the darkness filled streets there is plenty to admire.
Nothing compliments stunning visuals better than the perfect soundtrack and that’s exactly what we get from Second Son. A well chosen cast perform brilliantly for the on-screen voices, including something of a voice-over veteran in Troy Baker (The Last Of Us, Bioshock Infinite, Arkham Origins) who voices our hero. The musical soundtrack for the game is very subtle but perfectly sets the mood throughout the game, becoming slightly more sinister/holy depending on which morality route the player takes.
Even the controls are more fun as Sucker Punch becomes the first to fully embrace the DualShock 4 controller. Touchpad, speaker, light bar and haptic feedback all play their part.
A lot of interaction has been integrated into the touchpad, swiping the pad to open Conduit holding pens is just one example. The built-in speaker comes into play when having an in-game phone conversation, the light bar changes colour depending on whether you’re good or evil and tilting and shaking the controller allows you to shake up a spay-can before tagging a wall. All of these additions finally bring the kind of game interaction many gamers had expected from this generation of controller.
The only real disappointment with the game is the morality system, this isn’t Heavy Rain and the decisions to go good or evil, whilst effecting a large number of the cut-scenes, don’t actually do much for the overall story and you will still encounter the same bad-guys and ultimately reach the same conclusion. With that in mind it can also get a little tedious following the good path as you suddenly find a lot of your free-roam time is spent seeking out and destroying random D.U.P towers and taking out drug dealers.
The only other downside Second Son really has is it’s difficulty, or lack there of.
Fans of the series will be familiar with a bad-guy called Kessler, possibly one of the most frustrating bad guys to beat of all time. Well Second Son has no Kessler’s and although you can expect to die a number of times whilst fighting the majority of bosses, the learning curve is steep and once you’ve figured out what needs doing it becomes quite easy to progress. For this reason it’s safe to say that the completionists out there who will play through the game more than once will have it much easier second time round.
[tab title=”The Good“]Well paced story with a live and vibrant open-world
Excellent use of DualShock 4
Graphically superior to any other game in the same genre
[tab title=”The Bad“]The Morality system need more depth
Not too difficult to beat
Following the good path can get tedious