Infamous Second Son Review
Infamous Second Son
Developed by: SuckerPunch Productions
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
Reviewed by: Chad Damazyn (korgon117)
Did it live up to the hype?
Infamous Second Son is a game about one thing and one thing only, making the player feel like he or she is the most powerful entity in the world. (Or Seattle, in this case) In the game, you play as Delsin Rowe, a street punk who finds out he has the power to absorb powers from other conduits, or people with powers too. The majority of the game takes place in the city of Seattle Washington with you as the player being allowed to get around with the different powers you get throughout the game in an open world environment.
The particle effects are insane.
Being a Superhero/villain origin story, some of the content from the story might seem a little familiar to other origin stories, but it does have some interesting parts in it as well to make the story pretty enjoyable if a little flat in some aspects. Delsin Rowe (Played by Troy Baker) does a great job acting as a kid who while at first is freaked out by his power, later finds out it’s pretty awesome having super powers. Kudos to Sucker Punch for having the main character not be another “Are these powers a blessing or a curse?” protagonist. Delsin instead embraces his power like any of us would if we had said awesome powers, and it makes his character easy to relate to.
As you can see, Delsin understands that with great power comes great fun!
Unfortunately, while the voice acting for the rest of the characters is well done for the most part, the writing for the side characters are a little more one dimensional. Delsin’s Brother Reggie for example (played by Troy’s actual friend Travis Willingham) keeps reminding us that he is a cop, and that Delsin shouldn’t enjoy his power. There is some good chemistry between these two that shows up though to make Reggie at least a little likeable. Another conduit named Fetch had potential to be an interesting character, but got swept under the rug for most of the game until near the end of the game. (Thankfully, she is getting her own DLC episode later this year, so that’s nice) Infamous also places a big emphasis on its karmic decisions throughout the game’s story. These karma decisions are about as black and white as it gets, so don’t come in expecting any difficult choices to come about in the game. You’re either going to play as a straight up hero, or you’re going to play as a straight up villain in this game. I can forgive this though as the karma decisions lead to different play styles and two unique endings between a good and evil play through. It is a shame though that there is not real option to play a neutral role of any sort.
Here is Infamous Second Son running away from a really great story to just a serviceable one.
The presentation of the game is certainly one of Infamous Second Son’s biggest advantages. This game is very much one of the first next generation console title that looks like it’s truly taking advantage of what the new, powerful hardware can do. The lighting effects are top notch here, the particle effects look incredible, and the game runs in beautiful 1080p native resolution at a guaranteed 30 frames per second. If you were looking for a nice showpiece game for your friends to see on you shiny new PlayStation 4, this is a good place to start. The sounds of the world, from the unique musical score to the sound effects of the towers falling down, the game sounds great especially if you have a nice sound system. I will say though that some of the chants some of the protesting citizens are pretty bad. Delsin also is very well designed and detailed. His jacket flows in the wind very realistically and he himself has great character. When you’re just sitting and doing nothing, Delsin will just start drumming on his legs to a song in his head.
The city looks absolutely stunning!
One thing that could have used a bit more work would be the user interface in the pause menu, as the upgrade section was kind of cluttered. The map worked fine though.
The upgrade section is a bit cluttered.
The map is functional.
But you have to press the triangle button to get to the load/save game section, which makes that a bit easy to miss the first time. Then there is one page in the pause menu that doesn’t really serve any purpose besides saying if you’re good or evil, but you can tell just by looking at the in-game HUD so I’m not sure what the point of this page was. Overall though, the in-game presentation of the game overshadows the couple of flaws there are to be found in the menu presentation.
I really do not see what this screen is about… It just doesn’t really serve a purpose.
All this presentation talk is great and all, but how does the game play? After all, good visuals will only get you so far if the game isn’t fun. Well I’m happy to report that the gameplay is quite good as well. Let’s start off with the controls, the controls all feel very natural and the way the controls are laid out ensures that even though you will be able to switch between powers at a moment’s notice, you will never feel like the controls feel completely different whenever you switch power sets. There are four power sets overall in the game, and while none of them feel too different, they also don’t feel exactly the same either. Sucker Punch found a good sweet spot with the balance of the powers, and they all make combat and getting around the city a blast to do.
It’s not all perfect though. For example, the side quests in this game have a very bad habit of getting very repetitive quickly. Sure the initial side missions are fine the first time you play them, but you literally do the same thing over and over again in each and every district. Spray Paint walls (Granted this one is actually pretty interesting), find a DUP spy in a crowd, and finding hidden cameras, it all gets very repetitive after the first few times. Every single district has a few of these possible side quests you can do besides the karma focused “Bust these drug dealers” or “Silence these protesters” arbitrary events that randomly spawn everywhere in the map, and all of these side missions really start to grow stale the more you do them. There is just no impact after completing any of these tasks besides unlocking the “District Showdown” in which you dare the DUP to come and get you. This part is actually pretty fun in some areas, as the DUP sends more and more firepower your way to test your skills in battle. It’s also enjoyable to hear Delsin constantly call the same lady from the DUP help line and hear her gradually get more and more annoyed by Delsin making a mockery of the DUP. It’s just a shame you have to go through the boring side missions first every time you go into a new district in order to unlock the showdown. As you take over the districts, the DUP leaves those districts taken over by the player, so this makes collecting any leftover blast shards easier, but overall, the side content is certainly lacking in the interest department.
The combat is good, but the game relies on it far too often.
The main story missions are where things can get a bit more interesting. The missions where your first coming to terms with a new power you just got are fun as they gradually give you access to more and more of the moves available to you, giving you a chance to play around with one at a time until you unlock the next one. The boss battles, though unfortunately there are not many of them, are fun and challenging. Just traversing the world is very fun too, since getting around works differently depending on the power that you are using at the time. For example, with smoke, you can’t climb up walls easily, but you can shoot up air vents to get to the top of the building in a flash, or go right through fences and other thin material. But then when you’re using neon, you can run up any wall nice and easy, though you need to be careful as it’s easy to run into things you didn’t want to run into as well since you run so fast with neon. So overall, the gameplay itself is very good despite the repetitive side missions.
Just getting around the city is a fun time in itself.
The game does have an obvious incentive to play through it twice thanks to the karma system, which does at least give two very distinct endings, and also there are some clear differences in the powers you use depending on if you’re good or evil besides just the color swaps for some of the particles from power use. For example, if you are trying to play as a good guy, your powers are more geared towards precision since your trying to limit casualties. If you are evil on the other hand, your powers feel more unleashed since you don’t care who you hurt in the process of completing your objective.
I personally enjoyed the dark side a bit more than the hero route in this one, which is strange since I preferred being a hero in the previous two games in the series. It just seemed to fit Delsin’s rebellious attitude better than the heroic route. The game is a little short though when compared to other open world games, as I finished my first completion at around 10-13 hours, and that is with clearing a decent chunk of the districts too. With the second Evil play through, I got another 10 or so hours out of it though. Also if you clear out every district, then the DUP spawn in random area on the map indicated by a big red circle. These are more or less DUP killing farms in case you want some enemies to try and earn some combat based trophies on or just want to go beat up some goons.
So overall, I wouldn’t say it has the same value of some of its other open world companions like “Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag” for example, but it does have some decent replay value thanks to its karma system.
A Final Note: Hey everyone I know this is a really late review, but I did get it out there at least! I hope to improve on my timing and other things. Feel free to leave feedback on the reviews if you wish!
Infamous Second Son Review
- Story - Underdeveloped characters with a very "by the book" story. - 7/107/10
- Presentation - Visuals are fantastic, voice acting is superb, but the pause menus could use some more work. - 9/109/10
- Gameplay - Combat feels fast and exciting, powers are great fun to use, but lack of variety keeps this section from being perfect. - 9/109/10
- Replay Value - Two playthroughs are recommended as playing as a hero and a villian feel pretty different in a few key ways. But because the game is short, two playthroughs will only get you about 20-25 hours. - 7/107/10
The game has a lot to like, though there are certainly some issues that need to be taken into account. Infamous Second Son is a pretty good game with some great production value. I just hope that Sucker Punch will get a bit more creative with some of the side content if there is another Infamous game coming after this one since I know the studio has the talent to do so based off their track record.