Building on the success of the previous two instalments, Sucker Punch Productions returns with a brand new take on the series with inFAMOUS: Second Son. Replacing Cole MacGrath, players assume the role of Delsin Rowe, an Akomish Native American who has a habit of getting into trouble, pitting him against his brother Reggie who also happens to be the local sheriff. After inadvertently absorbing the powers of an escaped Conduit detainee, Delsin and Reggie head to Seattle to make things right.
The Power of the PlayStation 4
If there's one thing becoming apparent with PlayStation 4 exclusives, they look absolutely gorgeous. Like Killzone: Shadow Fall before it, inFAMOUS: Second Son boasts a native 1080p resolution that showcases its open world nicely. Whether admiring the skyline from a rooftop or absorbing the power from a neon sign, the game's visuals will impress players each time they load it up. While always stunning, perhaps the biggest visual compliment comes during the game's boss battles. With you and your foes in back and forth fights featuring powers like Neon, Smoke and Video, the graphics remain as smooth as if you were standing on the deck of the Space Needle. Although we were originally concerned at the varying 30-to-60 frames per second, the game is visually flawless.
Sucker Punch has found some interesting ways to use the Dualshock 4's Touch pad. Gently pressing the touch pad to absorb the smoke from a chimney is an intuitive use for the touch pad, however extracting the power from a Core Relay by holding it down and manipulating it upward feels clunky. It's one of the few times that players will find themselves pulled out of the trance that inFAMOUS puts them in.
The DualShock 4's speaker is also used in inFAMOUS Second Son, with audio logs and the sound of sizzling smoke being pumped through the tiny speaker. Some may find the sound quality poor, but this can be disabled through the PlayStation 4's XMB. It's inclusion is a nice touch but it's not required to enjoy the action on screen.
A World of Possibilities
From the moment you step foot into the city limits of Seattle, the open world environment is a massive success. You can go anywhere, do anything and have a real and lasting impact on your surroundings. The city is made up of several districts, each with their own checkpoints, patrols and command centres that depict a state of Martial law. How players choose to deal with these obstacles has a real impact on the vibe of the game. Save civilians and subdue your enemies to become a hero, or kill, disrupt and destroy everything in your path to play the villain. The choice is yours.
While partaking in the open world side missions are mostly optional, doing so is extremely rewarding. We spent a fair amount of time cleaning the D.U.P. out of several districts early on, making travel during missions much easier, while simultaneously stocking up on Blast Shards to upgrade our powers. Although it will take you several hours to completely expel your adversaries from the city, the task is far from daunting. You can clear each district in roughly 30-to-60 minutes of playtime with the help of an easy to read map and checklist of objectives. No more aimlessly wandering around trying to figure out what to do next.
Zero to Hero
With any single-player only title, the campaign makes or breaks it. With that in mind, inFAMOUS Second Son stands up admirably. Troy Baker, known for his roles as Joel in The Last of Us and Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite, plays Delsin Rowe. Once again, his performance is not only excellent, but enhanced by memorable dialog that also includes his brother Reggie (Travis Willingham) and the game's main antagonist, Brooke Augustine (Christine Dunford). The combination of stunning visuals and an immersive story yield a deeply satisfying campaign.
Audio and visuals aside, perhaps one of the most subtle, yet impressive features of the game is the pace at which the story unfolds. Things start off slowly, giving players simple missions that gradually teach the play mechanics and develop their skills. This approach is even adopted by the progression of the boss battles, starting off with no name, rock-slinging thugs and building up to an epic finale.
If there's one area that the campaign that comes up short, however, it's the lack of a chapter select option. In fact, there is no main menu. Rather than give the option of what saved game to load, it will throw you into your previous save, forcing you to navigate the pause menu should you wish to resume a different play through, slightly annoying to say the least. The Good Kind of Karma
While it stumbles in a couple of areas, the game exceeds expectations in all the right ways. Superb visuals, top-notch voice acting and an open world that responds to every decision players make leads to a very satisfying experience. Although it lacks a multiplayer mode, the decision to play using good or evil karma ensures high replay value. Even though we could do without being force-fed the innovation of Sony's Dual Shock 4 controller, the upside to inFAMOUS: Second Son is so overwhelming that PS4 players should rush out and buy this game today.
GAME's Verdict: 9/10
- Experience beautiful Seattle in a native 1080p resolution
- Superb voice acting that delivers memorable dialog
- An open world environment that changes with player actions
- Touchpad integration can feel clunky at times
- Use of the Dual Shock 4's speaker is unnecessary
- Lack of a mission select option is disappointing