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InFamous: Second Son Review

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Adam Barnes

Sucker Punch brings InFamous to the PS4, but is this the next-gen game you want? Find out in our InFamous: Second Son review.

infamoussecondson-10.jpg

Published on Mar 20, 2014

According to InFamous: Second Son, being evil is more like just being a bit of a dick.

It’s evil to hang-up on sweet old ladies. It’s evil to argue with your brother. It’s evil to distract street musicians from their hard-working and talented endeavours.

Ultimately it just seems that InFamous Delsin is a little bit more snarky than Hero Delsin, but it’s all good because his superpowers are tinted red – and isn’t that really all that matters?

Good Vs Evil In InFamous: Second Son

Picking a moral side during InFamous: Second Son is basically the same as picking between red or blue, even when posed with clear binary – and supposedly emotionally affecting – decisions.

It’s been a part of the series since its inception, and never has it ever really felt too dramatic. Yes a decision might be evil, but it doesn’t really matter; all you’re choosing is whether or not you’re a prick.

Obviously the answer is ‘yes, yes you are’.

And, you know what, that’s kind of refreshing. As great as games like Mass Effect are, we don’t always want to be berated for a ‘bad’ decision. InFamous: Second Son doesn’t make you feel guilty for being a dick.

Speaking of which, it’s probably worth drawing attention to Delsin himself.

The man’s had a lot of stick since his reveal – likely due to that beanie – but he’s actually alright.

Maybe that’s testament to Troy Baker’s efforts, or maybe it’s because his predecessor – Cole McGrath – had the personality of floppy cardboard, but all the same he ends up being if not a likeable chap then at least an acceptable protagonist.

So, err… well done Sucker Punch?

Still, story-wise InFamous: Second Son is smart enough to pare it back a bit. It’s not needlessly showy or ‘epic’ – as was the case with InFamous 2’s world-ending enemy The Beast – but provides just enough sentiment to piece everything together.

Sure it hums along at a fairly predictable rate, but that’s actually to InFamous: Second Son’s benefit. It does enough to make you care about why your flicking bits of fire at peoples’ faces but not so much to divert your attention from the real point of the game.

InFamous: Second Son's Open World Seattle

It’s in the sandbox experience that InFamous: Second Son really excels. Though the world isn’t huge by contemporary standards, there’s enough to see and do at any point that this never feels like a criticism.

It perhaps doesn’t have the greatest amount of variety to its environments – both in visuals and activities – but there’s always a blue blip to chase on the map, checkpoints to shut down or activists to put in their place.

It helps that you’re kitted out with a greater number of tools this time around too. You’re not just spitting flames, but zapping Neon, flinging Concrete or summoning ruddy digital angels and demons with Video.

That’s right, calling upon the forces of heaven and hell. InFamous: Second Son is nothing if not empowering.

But that’s really the point. It isn’t about the story or the characters (as well rounded as all of that is), it’s about zipping around your latest battle arena, decimating foes with your weapon of choice.

The different abilities are functionally familiar, yet each different in their own minute ways. Neon, for example, is more of a sniper’s choice, Smoke is a close-quarters option while Video focuses on your ability to disappear.

All of them are great, too, and the fact that you have to restock your innate superpower ‘fuel’ through environmental objects means that you can’t just stop in one place blasting fools from a distance. The well does run dry.

It’s in the open world combative experience that InFamous: Second Son shines, giving you the tools to feel like a superhero and just letting you use them as you wish.

It doesn’t even waste time giving them to you, either. Singular missions are all that are needed to unlock the core set of features each time you gain a power, and after that it’s a series of upgrades at your own choosing.

InFamous: Second Son - A Reason To Get A PS4?

It’s clear that, with InFamous: Second Son, Sucker Punch has figured out what it is that the series does best and honed in on that.

This is a refinement of the series and – perhaps negatively so – doesn’t actually do anything that hasn’t already been seen before. 

But it’s smart on Sucker Punch’s part; it’s better to stick to what you know than focus on the areas most sandbox games suffer with – namely, storyline.

Will InFamous: Second Son sell PS4s? Or, more aptly, is it worth buying a PS4 for InFamous: Second Son?

Well, no.

But that suggests a disservice to the game that is here. It’s hard to deny that if you’re looking for a truly next-gen experience, then there’s little in the way of innovation here – but that doesn’t stop it being a fun game.

And surely that’s worth your time?

Let’s not ignore the fact that it does look bloody gorgeous, too, and is easily a showcase of what the console can do. Particle effects, environmental detail and even destruction – however peripheral it may be – all blend together to make a visual treat of a game.

Other PS4 features include the use of the touchpad (which acts mostly as an alternative to pressing X), the light bar (which represents just how good or evil you are) or even the gyroscope for forgettable graffiti tagging.

InFamous: Second Son Review

Mechanically InFamous: Second Son doesn’t provide anything to astound and amaze. Beyond those lovely, lovely graphics, mind.

But it is a thoroughly enjoyable game, courtesy of those empowering superpowers and it’ll be hard not to find yourself engrossed as Delsin becomes a pink blur racing up the side of a building before suspending a group of enemies in the air and blasting each of them out of existence one by one.

Maybe it’s hard to describe InFamous: Second Son as a ‘next-gen’ experience, but it’s certainly a reason to own a PS4 – if not for the graphics, then for the sheer entertainment it can provide.

 

Score Breakdown
Graphics
9.5 / 10
Sound
7.5 / 10
Gameplay
8.5 / 10
Longevity
8.0 / 10
Multiplayer
N/A / 10
Overall
8.0 / 10
Final Verdict
If you enjoy videogames that aren't afraid to acknowledge what they are, then InFamous: Second Son empowers you with the tools for fun and a gorgeous sandbox environment to unleash them.
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Game Details
Format:
PS4
Release Date:
21/3/2014
Price:
£49.99
Publisher:
Sony
Developer:
Sucker Punch
Genre:
Action Adventure
No. of players:
1
Verdict
8.0 /10
InFamous as a series finally hits its stride with InFamous: Second Son by focusing on gameplay mechanics rather than over-the-top storyline nonsense.
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