BADGP Reviews: inFAMOUS: Second Son
inFAMOUS: Second Son (Sucker Punch, Sony)
Alex Linna & Thomas Linna
Released: March 21, 2014
Review: Not Too Shocking
inFAMOUS: Second Son does not exactly break the mold of its predecessors. It plays it safe in a lot of ways. That being said, inFAMOUS: Second Son is a lot of fun, and the different power sets it offers the player allows for much creativity and excitement during combat.
Characters & Narrative
inFAMOUS: Second Son introduces a completely new cast of characters and a whole new story for this game. These new characters all have a solid backstory and a “just cause” to fight for. There is little character development beyond the onset, however. Whether you want to become infamous or a true hero will dictate the way in which you will play the rest of the game. Outside of saving, killing, or restraining anyone who gets in your way, there is little character development as a whole for the whole cast. No one is forced to change their ways unless slightly persuaded by the protagonist, Delson. The narrative is fairly simple with one main task overarching everything else and there are small sub missions to keep you occupied in between main objectives. The game was simple, but made for a good time and it was thoroughly enjoyable the length of time you play it.
As far as characters go, Reggie, Delson’s older and much more responsible brother was one of the more interesting characters throughout the game. He constantly is at battle with the moral compass of a police officer and the fealty he had for his clan and mainly his brother. Depending on how you play the game, the outcome of your choices can either deflate or inflate the complexity and importance of this character. Other noteworthy characters in the game are all conduits/bioterrorists you meet along the way. Brooke Augustine, for instance, makes for an excellent antagonist.
The word bio-terrorist and conduit are interchangeable in the game, but have different connotations to them. Conduits is the term that is said by people who either sympathize or ally with those who have these strange powers, and bio-terrorist is the term used by the military to paint them as villains and who sort of spread virus that is corrupting the common people. Moreover, the narrative seems to be more left up to you, whether you actually become the monster they claim you to be, or you end up contradicting every expectation they have for you. The story had good flow and was well-written throughout, the character dialogues and monologues that in the game are solid. Though the game felt a tad bit short, the story was worth noting and the characters were all well-crafted with a specific goal in mind.
The greater inFAMOUS storyline is X-Men and the battle between mutants and non-mutants is essentially the same for both works of fiction.
inFAMOUS: Second Son is one of the most stunning games to play, graphically speaking. This game truly sets the bar for what to expect out of this new generation of consoles. This game is well-designed. The voice acting and other sound effects are all in place and never feel awkward or weird. The game’s little touches are what made it stand out of the crowd as far as graphics and sound go. One notable thing is the little side missions that were peppered everywhere in the game, especially the graffiti art. Another notable would have to be the ringtone on Delson’s phone. It turns out that it is the theme from Sly Cooper. The game is great, but it does have it shortcomings. The game does not allow you to skip cutscenes. This may not seem to be a big deal, but for a game that is meant to be played at least twice it is a major flaw. inFAMOUS: Second Son is definitely easy on the eyes and ears.
inFAMOUS: Second Son begins with a motion-controlled section where the main character, Delson, vandalizes a billboard. I hesitated to even mention this due to the surprise it made me feel. I rolled my eyes and thought, “this is next gen?” Motion-based, spray-painting minigames aside, inFAMOUS: Second Son is a blast to play.
One of the first things the player will notice once they make it into Seattle is that the destructible environments add a lot to the experience. Bringing down overhead walkways with enemies raining down is satisfying indeed.
The morality system is still intact, for better or worse. Having completed both sides of the story, it does not make much of difference gameplay-wise is Delson is a True Hero or Infamous aside from the finishing moves. The orbital drop and other finishing moves are awesome, and it is in this mechanic where players will discover the primary difference in playing good vs. evil. It is exceptionally easier to build up the super-move as an evil Delson vs. a good Delson. By simply killing enemies (aka: playing the game) evil Delson builds his super, while good Delson has to capture enemies alive or heal injured civilians in order to build his finisher. I played the evil side second and I spammed the orbital drop like crazy, whereas, in my initial playthrough I saved it for dire situations.
I like the PS4’s touchpad, but inFAMOUS: Second Son goes a little overboard with it, so get used to tapping that touchpad, because you’ll be using it frequently.
The core gameplay in Second Son is still as fun as it was in the two games preceding it. There is a little more experimentation that can be done in Second Son due to the larger variety of powers at hand. Mission structure and diversity is a little lacking as are different types of enemies. Be prepared to do the same type of side activity over and over as in just about every other open world game. It is hard not to be a little disappointed by the lack of things to do in Sucker Punch’s version of an occupied Seattle.
How Does it Compare?
The power that the player begins with in Second Son is “smoke.” When comparing this to Cole McGrath’s (the protagonist of the first two inFAMOUS games) electricity, points where Delson can refill his smoke reserves are much less prevalent than the myriad of electric sources available in the original inFAMOUS. An obvious explanation for this would be that Delson gets more powers and when he has them all, the minimap if fully aglow with all the different power sources if Delson needs to a quick change of strategy or refill on his one currently equipped.
Second Son is a terrible platformer, inFAMOUS I is much better in that respect. Second Son has a work around, however, by having all the powers have ways to quickly scale buildings. Trying to climb up a building as if it were an Assassin’s Creed game is going to leave the player frustrated. inFAMOUS I is also a better shooter in many regards. Delson is a little floaty making it hard to dodge an onslaught of bullets. Cole was better at utilizing cover and picking enemies off. I would still consider the original inFAMOUS game to be the best in the series, and that is largely due to the narrative hooks it brings to the table. Second Son attempts to draw an emotional response from the player, and finds some success in it. However, I found that I did not care about the characters in Second Son as much, and that could potentially be attributed to the game’s length.
Second Son was the first open world game that I completed to 100%. This is good; because I wanted to do everything that I could using Delson’s fun and interesting moveset. This is bad; because it only took me less than 15 hours to get to 100%. My second playthrough was probably closer to 9 hours at 78%. The first two inFAMOUS games were not incredibly long games, but to get 100% it would have taken a long time. The lack of activities to do in Second Son is perhaps the worst thing about it.
inFAMOUS: Second Son is an enjoyable experience through and through. Experimenting with the powers is a blast, exploring the gorgeous open world is enthralling, and the game creates some decent and memorable characters. It is just too short and not as good as the previous games in the series. Many will complain that Second Son plays it too safe and does not feel “next-gen.” I, personally, care less about that and more how it did not surpass its predecessors. It is still a largely enjoyable game and should be played by fans of the first two games and open world sandboxes in general, just do not expect to spend as much time in occupied Seattle as you would in other games of this nature.
Alex: 7.5 Thomas: 7.9
BAD: 7.7 out of 10