inFamous – Second Son

Second Son is the third game in the inFamous franchise developed by Sucker Punch Productions.
Like its predecessors, Second Son is an action packed open world “superhero” game. The term superhero is in inverted commas because, like the previous games (and the tagline for the franchise), being a hero is optional. This is what sets the inFamous franchise apart from its competitors, the most notable of which being the Xbox exclusive Prototype series, in that there is a fully fleshed out morality system that not only affects the gameplay and upgrades you have access to, but actually alters the story in both minor and major ways. This is implemented through a “Karma” system, whereby the player makes certain choices within the story, or performs certain actions that influences their Karma rating. Now some of this is understandable, but other things will make you scratch your head. For example, would someone PLEASE explain why the protagonists of the inFamous games hate street performers so much? It’s been a source of Evil Karma since inFamous 2, and is possibly the easiest way to get Evil Karma in the game, but makes very little sense.
The Dark Si- err, evil karma, offers more power.
Nevertheless, fans of the series will be familiar with the way the Karma system in second son works, and new players will find the system relatively easy to pick up. Killing things = Bad, subduing people by causing them to choke to not-quite-death on smoke = good…? Anyway. Beyond the odd game-logic moment, the Karma system in Second Son is much the same as the previous games, except that the “Evil” route is much easier to understand. The game gives enough insight into the characters motives to make both karmic routes equally viable. You might not agree with what you do as “Evil” Delsin, but you’ll understand why he does it.
With one exception. Which I will spoil, because it’s literally the first moral choice in the game. The first. Remember that.
The game gives enough insight into the characters motives to make both karmic routes equally viable. You might not agree with what you do as “Evil” Delsin, but you’ll understand why he does it.
With one exception. Which I will spoil, because it’s literally the first moral choice in the game. The first. Remember that.
++SPOILERS++
Good: Sacrifice yourself to probable death to prevent Big Bad Evil Guy from killing people.
Evil: Do nothing and watch everyone you have ever known and loved die.
++SPOILERS END++
But the good guy’s logo looks better. Choices, choices…
The story of Second Son begins seven years after the events of inFamous 2, with the world reeling after the events of the second game leading to the government forming what would become the main enemies of the game – the Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P), and branding all super-humans as “Bio-terrorists” over their old title of “Conduits”. Kinda harsh if you ask me, but possibly understandable if you’ve played the other games.
You take the role of unwitting Conduit/Bio-terrorist Delsin Rowe, an Akomish Indian with a history of minor felonies such as graffiti and petty theft. In other words, exactly the sort of person you’d want with control over supernatural powers… How Delsin deals with his powers in a world that labels any like him as delinquents at best and mass-murdering terrorists at worst is a huge part of the story, influencing both Delsin and the player’s decisions over the course of the storyline. The game introduces a host of other characters both friends and foe as you go, and with a couple of exceptions, they are all extremely well written and enjoyable in their own way. I particularly like one character – Eugene, who you meet about two thirds of the way through the game and is extremely entertaining in his interactions with the rest of the cast.
I’ll not say any more on the subject of the story as I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say that in my opinion it’s great, and certainly better than the stories of the previous games in the series.
Of course, this is an inFamous game, so there’s superpowers. However, unlike the previous games, you’re not limited to one power. In inFamous 1 and 2, you play the role of Cole McGrath, a conduits with power over electricity. In Second Son as Delsin, your conduit power is to steal powers from other conduits. For non-fans, this means that through various bits of story shenanigans and generally a boss-fight or two, you get to walk up to the guy shooting lasers from his fingertips, or summoning lightning from the skies and say “that’s awesome, think I’ll take it.” This in and of itself is pretty epic, but when you add in the fact that you can switch between powers at will and you get an entirely new dimension to the already awesome combat system of the inFamous franchise.
Your powers run off a bar that depletes as you use them and can be refilled in a short amount of time by draining a source of whatever element your current power is controlling. For example, your default smoke power can be recharged by absorbing from chimneys, or burning cars. Draining from a different powers source will cause Delsin to switch to that power, providing you have progressed enough to have it unlocked.
These powers each have their own combat styles and transportation ability, and all of them play differently but similarly enough that it’s never too hard to get your head around a new power, and each power has a karma driven ultimate move that is charged by performing good or evil acts. Oh, and I mentioned transportation powers? Well one of them is quite simply the best mode of transport in any superhero game I’ve played to date. I’ll let you work out for yourselves which one.
As you can probably tell, I’m a fan of this game, but it does have its flaws. There’s the aforementioned logic holes, plotholes regarding the time between the end of inFamous 2 and the start of Second Son, and the fact that you only get to fight one group of enemies all game (albeit with a nice variety of enemy types within that group). However, these issues are comparably minor, and I think that the largest complaints about this title will come from those who, for whatever reason simply dislike the genre. Superhero games are not for everyone, and the fact that the game even has a morality system will likely put a lot of people off.
I’d recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the Superhero genre, and anyone who enjoys exploring large open worlds such as in the aforementioned Prototype games or even Assassins Creed.
A warning. Do not let children play this game. Strong language, drugs, abuse and flat out murder are commonly seen throughout the storyline and side missions.

Scoring

Game play and Controls: For the most part this game plays extremely well, however there are a couple of things worth mentioning. The game plays fine when travelling around the city and in combat, with nicely responsive controls, but certain side missions require the use of the PS4 controller’s inbuilt touch pad and motion control to complete. These sections feel tacked on and sloppily executed and in my opinion serve no purpose in the game. However, the touch pad is also used more effectively for minor things such as draining power sources and obtaining collectables throughout the city. 80/100

Sound and Music: The game’s soundtrack is awesome, and the music shifts with the action, becoming more fast-paced when the player is in combat and more subtle and ambient when simply exploring the city. The sound assets are also good with each power sounding different, and combat sounds being extremely well done. 80/100

Graphics: Unfortunately, this is where the game falls down, looking like a high-end PS3 game and not something you’d think would be “Next Gen” There is also talk of a patch that will frame lock Second Son to 30fps. Yeah. 60/100

Story and immersion: The game’s strong point. The entire experience is tailored to make the player connect with the characters and the story and in my opinion it does it very effectively. The story is interesting, with some twists you’ll see coming miles off, and some that you defiantly wont. You’ll be kept on your toes, and by the end, you’ll be as invested in seeing Delsin’s mission through to the end as the characters are in the game. 100/100

Final score: 80/100

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment.
Release Date: 21st March 2014
Genre: Open World, Action, Superhero
Platform: Playstation 4

Watch The Trailer Here