The second of the two major Next-Gen exclusives arriving this month has arrived in the form of Infamous: Second Son. This time it is Sony’s turn to showcase what they have in store for its dedicated fan base. In Second Son you take control of Delsin Rowe who finds himself the recipient of a set of Conduit powers after a transport carrying three alleged “Bio-Terrorists” crashes in front of him. The gamer controls Delsin as he struggles to gain control of his new found powers and sets out to take down an organization led by another Conduit whom holds the key to saving Delsin’s friends and family.
The game shares some similarities to its predecessors in the sense that once again you control a Conduit with special powers, and once again you have the ability to play through the game assuming the role of a good guy or bad guy. The decision you make also plays a role in the effect your powers have as well as the types of upgrades you can unlock. You will also see some changes to some of the cinematic cut scenes based on how you have chosen to play as well as some tweaks to the ending of the game.
The upgrades themselves are opened by hitting the required karma level be it good or bad, as well as collecting various blast shards from different sources. The easiest way to get the blast shards are from the flying drones that are all over the city as well as from hand scanning stations. The locations of the shards are revealed on your map by eliminating mobile command centers in each district. Since you are open to do this side objectives at your leisure I’d recommend taking care of them as soon as possible to be able to open up your skill trees as quick as possible.
The biggest change from previous entries in the series is the ability to have multiple powers. I don’t want to speak on it too much to avoid spoilers but each of the other main powers have their own benefits in using them as well as their own skill trees. I will say though that if you take the time to collect all of the shards needed for power ups it is possible to max out either the good or bad skill sets, so you aren’t in a situation where you have to pick and choose. All that is required is maxing out either your good (Hero) or bad (Infamous) karma levels. So pick a side, there is no benefit to being neutral.
Outside of that the game consists of multiple districts that are controlled by the D.U.P. and side objectives are used as methods to erase D.U.P. control from the area. Doing so isn’t required to complete the game but it does add some extra tasks to work on as well as some trophies (if that’s your thing). The campaign itself offers roughly 8-12 hours worth of gameplay varying depending on your skill level and how much you veer from the main objectives.
My only real gripe is repetitive nature of the side objectives. Rather than have actual missions the game instead focuses on having you collect blast shards, disable cameras, uncover secret agents, etc. It’s not that these are bad objectives it’s just that after the fourth time of doing the exact same objectives it starts to feel tacked on rather than enhancing the game. Some variety and maybe some further character driven stuff with some of the people you meet would have been better suited.
This is Infamous’ bread and butter. The game absolutely looks fantastic. It is incredibly easy to lose yourself in the cut scenes and forget you are playing a video game. With a game with as much detail in its characters faces it is important that the dialect looks like people talking rather than muppets lip synching to the recorded audio. Sucker Punch really did a phenomenal in that sense, never once did I look at a character talking and get the feeling that the words weren’t coming directly from that person’s mouth. Might sound strange but it is things like these that are hugely important when it comes to being able to fully immerse yourself in the video game.
There have been some people that complained about “clipping” and textures popping in and out at release. There is a day one patch for this game. It is very easy to miss it because the game is playable without it. What you’ll need to do is after your first session go to your notifications and you should have one for Second Son, install it and the patch should be installed and ready to go for you next time you play. If you have your PS4 configured to automatically update then you’ll be good the second time you play it regardless. I can say that outside of very minor instances this was absolutely not a problem for me once that patch was installed.
The sound in Infamous is good for the most part. Most things are handled well. For instance if your character is talking on the phone the volume is reduced so it sounds like a phone call rather than being at the same audio level as your character’s voice. If you create an explosion it is possible to hear a car alarm ringing down the street within the blast radius. You can hear D.U.P. sirens in the distance alerting you to what is coming. All of these things are handled well. The problem exists in a few of the other in game circumstances.
When you approach an off limits area surrounding a Mobile Command Center, or enter into a boss fight there is usually music that plays that fits the situation. The problem is the audio level is very inconsistent. There were times during one of the final fights where the audio got abnormally loud for the music which muffled out the audio levels for the other aspects of the game. For instance your character was talking to the villain but their voice was being completely drown out by the music level. In another instance I was simply standing on the rooftop of a building when the “big battle” music started playing for no reason what so ever.
It’s far from a game breaking experience and I only had it happen roughly 5 times throughout several hours of gameplay but it was jarring enough to briefly disrupt the flow of the game.
For me this is exactly how a Next-Gen game should feel. The only loading times are during your death as the city resets, which is very minimal. Transitioning to cut scenes is seamless both going in and coming out. The game also saves in a matter of seconds allowing you to jump right back into the action. After several hours I have yet to experience any game freezing or even stalling. It is a very smooth game and a true showcase of what Next-Gen is capable of.
While I said the side objectives were lacking the campaign has enough depth to it that you will get enough bang for your buck especially if you decide to play through the game again on the opposite side. I can honestly say that I didn’t put the game down a whole lot from the moment I picked it up at launch. So based on that alone I already feel I got my money’s worth and I still have to complete my Expert play through.
In terms of fun there are few games that literally cause me to laugh out loud multiple times but this one certainly did. The interactions of Delsin and his brother Reggie were by far the best in the game and showcased the most in depth character relationship. Without giving too much a way there is a particular mission in which Delsin is pretending to chase his brother that Reggie delivers some tremendous lines.
I’d say if you were a fan of the previous entries in the series then you’ll certainly be a fan. Even if not I’d say give it a go, I was far from a diehard fan of Infamous but I found plenty in this game to enjoy.
InFamous: Second Son gets a four out of five: GREAT.