inFAMOUS: Second Son
inFAMOUS: Second Son for the PS4 is the third game in the inFAMOUS series. I’ll admit I haven’t played the other earlier games on the PS3, but fortunately that isn’t a problem as Second Son is easy to dive into. You play as Delsin Rowe, an angsty young beanie wearing chap who discovers he’s a ‘conduit’. That’s what the folks with super powers are called in the inFAMOUS world, ‘bio terrorist’ being the other less politically correct term. The conduits are being rounded up and imprisoned (or worse) by the misguided Dept of Unified Protection: your typical shady government agency led by a rather scary lady who you’ll meet very early on, and basically spend the rest of the game battling against.
After a mercifully brief tutorial level you can run around a beautifully rendered open-world version of Seattle on your quest to gain new super powers and defeat D.U.P. Second Son really stretches the graphical power of the PS4 which is great to see this early in the new generation of consoles. There’s no pop-in or texture problems which were common in open world games last gen, and the draw distance is suitably far away. The main characters and their facial animation are particularly well done, with cut-scenes being rendered in the game engine, and looking very believable even in close up on a large TV. If you’re interested in technical details, Eurogamer have a great article about the graphics in Second Son: here.
The variety of super powers you collect along the way are fun to use and all look pretty too, although in terms of game-play they all seem to do fairly similar things, giving you basic attacks, ways to stun or immobilise enemies and some form of fast travelling. There’s several different families of powers to gather, and a large tree of abilities you can unlock depending on how you’re playing the game. Evil players get different choices from good players. What dictates how good or evil you are is some glaringly obvious binary choices (they’re presented to you on-screen) you make along the main storyline, as well as how you treat the general populace and D.U.P. soldiers in the world. It’s simple really, if you kill people you’re evil and if you immobilise instead them you’re good. This aspect of Second Son is a little too black and white, particularly in the light of the amount of soul searching modern comic book heroes do regarding their actions. It’d be nice if the choices were a little less obvious and more morally challenging in terms of the story.
Speaking of challenge, I’d recommend playing Second Son on the ‘Expert’ skill level, rather than the default ‘Medium’ because the game is really too easy at that level. Sucker Punch are continuing to tweak the game post-release, with several patches that have changed the difficulty and given us more graphical options. But trust me, if you want any kind of challenge you want to play on ‘Expert’. Then it is possible for the D.U.P. soldiers to be dangerous enough to kill you, rather than simply letting you walk all over them – which gets tiresome rather quickly.
If you’ve played any open-world style game in the last decade Second Son will also feel very familiar, with a mini map guiding you to the next main story mission, and a variety of side quests to distract you – however they’re just repeated in each zone of Seattle you play though. It all feels a little too familiar actually, I wish Sucker Punch had done more with their open world. The main story is well written though, and the characters you’ll meet along the way are nicely portrayed and fairly believable, however it seems reasonably short, giving you perhaps less play time overall than you’d expect. Second Son’s world is certainly not as massive as certain other launch titles for the PS4.
All in all a beautiful looking game, that is certainly enjoyable to play, but covers some very familiar open world ground, and has repetitive side quests – although it is always fun blowing up D.U.P. stuff!
Rating: M Contains violence and drug references.
Reviewed by: Stu