Thursday 17 April 2014

inFamous: Second Son

Warning: The following contains spoilers for inFamous 2.

When Sucker Punch Productions released inFamous for the PS3 in 2009, it took everyone a little by surprise. Keep in mind that Sucker Punch Productions were the team behind the classic Sly Cooper series, so on the surface a game like inFamous seemed a little out of their comfort zone. But upon playing inFamous all the doubters were proven wrong, and their first attempt at the superhero genre was hugely successful. A sequel followed, that while a bit of a let-down compared to the first game, was great fun nonetheless. Now comes the third game in the series, inFamous Second Son. But with massive expectations on its shoulders to be the must-have game of the PS4, does it live up to the hype? In a word, yes.

Developed by Sucker Punch Productions and out now for PS4, Infamous Second Son doesn't do much in the way of innovation for the series, but manages to deliver an exceedingly awesome experience that both caters to inFamous fans, as well as to the potential newcomers to the series. Taking place in the year 2016, six years after the events of inFamous 2 and the death of former series protagonist Cole McGrath, the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) is formed to hunt down “conduits”; individuals that have superhuman abilities thanks to a mutant human gene. Leading the DUP on this mission to hunt conduits down is Brooke Augustine, a conduit herself and a ruthless foe. You play the role of Delsin Rowe, a Native American graffiti artist who is the black sheep of the tribe. When a DUP convoy crashes near his reservation and he comes into direct contact with a conduit, he adsorbs the conduits powers and is promptly captured by Augustine. A week later Delsin discovers that Augustine is slowly torturing his tribe, and the only way to stop it is for Augstine to use her powers on them again. Now knowing he is a conduit, Deslin must seek out Augustine in Seattle in order claim her power and save his tribe.

InFamous Second Son is a third-person open world action adventure, but compared to many other open world titles, it aims to give the player true freedom, both in exploration and methods of destruction. Set in the beautifully recreated city of Seattle, getting around the city comes in many forms. However, unlike games like GTA in which you might hitch a ride in a cab, here in Second Son you'll be running up skyscrapers, jumping and gliding through the sky and generally doing acrobatic parkour around the open world provided. While there are various methods, Deslin will often look like a blue coloured wisp of neon flame as he pulses through the environment to stunning effect. Exploring and navigating the world of Second Son is incredibly fluid and fun, and puts other parkour based games like Assassin's Creed to shame.

While the city of Seattle is quite important to the game, Delsin's powers shine during the many fights you'll find yourself having across the city. In Second Son the player starts off with a smoke based power for attacks, but as they progress, and in turn defeat various other conduits, their powers will increase greatly. This is where the skill tree comes into focus; a method of upgrading your character that aims to put a greater sense of choice in your hands. It works quite nicely too, as in Second Son you'll find yourself paying great attention when choosing an upgrade. Though by the end you'll pretty much have the entire skill tree filled, during the opening hours of the game it's imperative to choose your new abilities wisely.

Fighting is Second Son is epic, simply as. From taking on countless foes at once and unleashing a utterly devastating Neon attack, to going head-to-head with a fellow conduit and switching between an array of visceral powers, the sense of destruction and sheer badass action here is next to none. This is helped along greatly by the fact that many, many objects, buildings and environments can be completely destroyed. While sometimes it will make tactical sense, say, when taking down a DUP guard tower, other times you'll end up just doing it for kicks. This sense of play, fun and potential for mischief Second Son can often stir up is incredibly awesome.

Visually it’s a master-class of what the PS4 can offer. Sure, it's early days yet in the console lifetime, but Second Son looks so wonderfully slick, so rich with densely packed detail and content, that it may take awhile before another PS4 game beats it in the looks department. While the city itself can often be too small at times, it doesn't prevent it being the perfect vehicle in which to deliver both an enjoyable story and near endless gameplay possibilities.  

InFamous Second Son is the must-have game the PS4 needs and gets a 5/5, [★★★★★]

Denis Murphy

inFamous: Second Son at CeX

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