Infamous: Second Son Review – Open World Action Has Never Looked So Good

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The PS3 development days are relatively over for Sucker Punch as the first party Sony developer has ambitiously aimed their sights on the PS4 with the release of Infamous Second Son. As the third game in the super hero (or anti-hero, depending on how you choose to approach the experience) graphic novel-esque series, players will find themselves engulfed in a visual tour de force of eye pleasing expression making you proud of your PS4 investment.

No longer will players take to the open sandbox environment of New Marais with the famed and now martyred Cole McGrath (I miss my man Cole), this time around players enter the hip and increasingly powerful shoes of Delsin Rowe, the young and conveniently cocky Native American who is hard not to like. As the story initially takes shape, the troubles of the D.U.P. (Department of Unified Protection) randomly fall on Delsin’s oceanfront community doorstep, bringing with it released conduits who have broken free from capture. Why were they captured in the first place, let’s just say the D.U.P. has an agenda that is not in the best interest of individual conduits or bio-terrorists as the D.U.P likes to refer to them.

Since you’re asking the term conduits refers to those individuals who have a variety of special mutant like abilities which could be devastating to society at large if those powers were used with evil intentions. When you think conduits think X-Men, these conduits are just as cool.

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Occupying the law as the town’s local sheriff, Delsin’s brother Reggie is forced into attempting to bring a conduit to justice, just then Delsin comes in direct contact with the conduit. Shortly after, Delsin realizes he has taken on the same attributes becoming a conduit himself. Coming to grips with his new found powers, Delsin initially scared quickly embraces his new reality just before being introduced to the games main antagonist and head of the D.U.P, Brooke Augustine. Augustine is also a conduit of great power and authority with the ability to manifest concrete in various forms even on human flesh, literally encasing her victims unto death if she so chooses.

With events of the plot taking shape, Delsin eventually ends up in not so sunny Seattle where all the action and drama take up the remainder of the action filled adventure. While there are a variety of reasons why you should play Infamous Second Son, having visited Seattle would certainly be one reason as the in-game depiction of the famous city is literally brought to life as your platform of mayhem.

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For the entirety of the game players traverse two large centralized maps which are connected by a bridge which players can cross more frequent as more of the games story is revealed upon completing objectives of the main campaign. Adding extended gameplay time to the affair as with previous games in the series, Infamous: SS offers side mission that can feel like a mixed bag. From spray painting murals on random wall, taking out those hard to spot cameras and doing drug busts, to taking out bio-terrorist posed as normal civilians, finding shards on flying drones hovering throughout the city and so on.

Because the city of Seattle is so well represented with some of the best looking visuals on consoles, players are encouraged to take on these not so exciting side quests which are not so bad. However, after awhile these side objectives can quickly lose their appeal as they never truly enhance the overall gameplay experience or plot. Again, it seems Sucker Punch opted to wow players with incredible visuals as just enough to get by with unmemorable side quest and they almost succeed.

Where Infamous: SS ultimately shines is in the main narrative gameplay department, ok, and the graphics…again. The game is truly a beautiful game which can sometimes leave you speechless with its meticulous attention to detail demonstrated in character models and the complete world and its influence. At times it seems you are playing an actual movie with excellent voice acting and superb character expression.

Aside from being constantly swept away by the super model visuals, Sucker Punch holds nothing back constantly pushing the limit of Delsin’s powers, given players a plethora of conduit sub-abilities associated with the progressive conduit upgrades. Each newly acquired conduit enhancement which Deslin receives from newly introduced conduit characters, the more unique the play style. By the time you’ve maxed out the upgrades Delsin has become an unstoppable force depending on how well you’ve upgraded his sub-abilities and mastered the variety of punishing maneuvers. Playing as Delsin there is no denying that you feel like a serious badass regardless of the good or evil path you take.

Much of the games stand-off encounters are represented by D.U.P foes. As Delsin grows in power the games increases the difficulty, soon more formidable D.U.P bio-terrorist units are working together to take you out. These encounters are great as Sucker Punch has given the player the freedom to use their imagination in how they want to engage the enemy. Despite amazing arsenal within my repertoire I found myself resorting to the smoke ability in many encounters unleashing missile projectiles and smoke bombs for those strangling smoke clouds subduing multiple assailants in my wake. Even still, when I needed to achieve a vertical advantage, finding the nearest vent proved most useful getting out of harms way propelling Delsin to great heights. You really never get enough of it and this is only one of his many powers. Other powers like the neon ability allow Delsin to run at great speeds over and around literally any object, or the video ability which lets Delsin become invisible temporarily among other thing. There’s also the stone ability which is more in line with Augustine and healthy bag of tricks. All of these enhancements come equipped with their very own SUPER which is completely devastating to say the least.

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If the game is missing anything it would certainly be the absence of the much needed mini-boss battles. The game is begging for mini-boss battles, something Infamous 2 was never short of. Possessing so much power as Delsin, you’re constantly waiting for some destructive and monolithic presence to attack the city, unfortunately it never happens. Sure, there is one encounter which could be fairly classified as a mini-boss battle when Augustine drops one of more formidable minions in your lap and let’s not forget the varied encounters with Augustine herself, yet walking away the game certainly needed more, much more.

Instead, for the majority of the ride you and your ridiculous assortment of powers are spent reducing D.U.P. forces while traversing the game gorgeous environments. Back are the trademark nuances of the NPC civilians who offer both humorous and encouraging praise to your gameplay actions, just as long as your actions are in their best interest. It just cool when you’ve eliminated some pestering D.U.P units and while fleeing the scene some random female NPC yells out she wants to have your baby. The first time I heard that it completely stroked my ego.

Interestingly, while Infamous Second Son is a great time for PS4 users offering incredible visuals and a far more powerful protagonist in Delsin Rowe, Infamous 2 for the PS3 is ultimately a better game. Yet at the moment you will not find a better action adventure on the market on next-gen consoles than Infamous: Second Son. The game is a sure head turner satisfying that all-out-action itch, flexing epic gameplay maneuvers with brilliant style at a beautiful 1080p at 30fps.

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At this early stage in the PS4 lifecycle it could be a missed opportunity for Sucker Punch not to take advantage of the possibility of unique DLC updates which could further exploit Delsin’s powers with larger than life enemy confrontation. With so many conduits on the loose…hint, hint, some are bound to exercise their powers in the most devious ways.

Delsin Rowe is the cool new kid on the Infamous block with cool moves and too much power yet I still find myself missing Cole.

Shank

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