After a few short weeks since Microsoft's exclusive blockbuster release of Titanfall, Sony and the PlayStation 4 have returned to the arena with their own highly anticipated exclusive: Infamous Second Son
The games has been quietly blipping on the radar since its tease at last year's PlayStation media briefing at E3, and the hype has all but died down since. Is the Infamous franchise's sequel enough to satisfy its core fans along with a new console generation of fans looking to be razzled and dazzled?
Yes and no.
Infamous Second Son will undoubtedly appeal to fans of the action/role playing genre, but minor technical annoyances turn into major ass cramps as the game progresses. These ultimately keeps ISS from being truly phenomenal.
That’s not to say that the game is a waste by any means. There is a lot of heat packed into the title, and developer Sucker Punch really took advantage of the PS4’s hardware.
Second Son takes place in a Seattle police state in the not too distant future. The player takes on the role of Delsin Rowe, a young rebel whose mouth runs a lot faster than his brain. After coming into contact with an escaped prisoner who reveals himself to be a “conduit”, Delsin absorbs the convict’s power and decides to take down the head of the Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P.)-- tasked with rounding up and experimenting on other conduits. Throughout his journey, Del comes across ways to strengthen his powers while making allies and enemies along the way.
The skill tree in ISS is fairly robust with special abilities that can be unlocked depending on the player’s moral decisions. Delsin can either take the path of becoming a hero by subduing his enemies (to receive good karma) or a villain by killing them (to receive evil karma). Either way, these choices allow Delsin to level up to more powerful moves and finishers.
It’s a decent system, especially for gamers who just want to equip and go.
As new moves become accessible, Infamous Second Son becomes more fun to play. Making watchtowers explode and blasting enemies from rooftops gets cooler each time it's done and once Delsin’s Orbital Drop becomes available, the sheer devastation caused turns into addiction. The wealth of abilities blend perfectly with the strategic elements of the game. While it may come off as a typical hack n’ slash fest, don’t get it twisted. That will get you killed every time. This game is about sticking and moving. No Rambos allowed.
But with all that awesomeness in Second Son comes a level of frustration from the game’s camera angles. Getting into heated battles with D.U.P. soldiers can easily end with a death after running into a corner, only to be blocked by an environmental object that should have been transparent. Also vertical movements like jumping up to some ledges and ladders are impossible to follow. Instead of a helpful zoomed out wide shot, there’s close-ups and before you know it, Delsin is floating around in circles on the way to a well placed rage quit. The controls can also get away from the player as so much realism was put into Delsin’s physics that going in the opposite direction looks like a banana peel slip.
As expected from any open world game (the amount of openness may vary), there are side missions in addition to the main story. While they’re not all mandatory, completing them helps to rally the community to flip on the D.U.P. and run them out of town. Oddly enough, some of the missions like, subduing/killing drug dealers,spray painting politically charged, Banksy-esque graffiti pieces and taking out hidden cameras become more fun than the storyline itself. It’s way easy to get caught up in a D.U.P. mobile unit destroying rampage and forget all about playing through the main missions.
Visually, Second Son has some of the best when it comes to overall artwork and animation. The cut scenes--which can run a bit long at times--flow seamlessly with the gameplay. Sucker Punch did a hell of a job creating a damp and dismal Seattle police state without it looking cliched.
The voice acting was also on point with video game, anime and cartoon voice-over veteran Troy Baker. If the name rings a bell, he was also Booker Dewitt in BioShock Infinite and Joel in The Last of Us. There was no overacting or awkward pauses which helps the script--which is just as good--be that much more entertaining.
Even with it’s small scratches and minor imperfections, Infamous Second Son is worth every penny of a new generation title. There’s plenty of content, not counting any possible DLC to stay busy with and the gameplay is highly addictive.
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