Let’s start by saying, I’ve never played a past InFamous game. I’ve only ever played the demo for the original when it first came out which I found quite fun but it never really struck a chord with me. I decided to give the latest instalment a try, being swayed by the footage I’d seen of it.
In steps Delsin Rowe. Troy Baker in a beanie hat essentially. I’m instantly turned off by his cocky personality and I feel I can’t connect with him at all. That might just be me but personally I don’t see much there is to like about Delsin and his dude-bro attitude.
Douchebag Delsin ends up becoming the very thing his brother Reggie is trying to crack down on. A conduit. After touching an escape prisoner who had smoke powers. And so Reggie has no choice but to help his annoying little brother.
I felt almost no emotional attachments to Delsin’s brother Reggie either or really any of the other characters. As far as I was concerned, they were just a face that kept telling me to go here or there to do this mission. The majority of missions also being quite similar.
The DUP to start with are a very interesting enemy. A security organisation with full control over Seattle. The city is covered in their checkpoints and various communication networks. They will shoot you on site if they discover you are a Conduit. Conduits being people with powers. Some DUP will also use powers to even the fight against you.
There are plenty of side missions which I fully completed but found I wasn’t having much fun completing. Searching for shards to power up, shooting security cameras, clearing the enemy at of a territory. It all becomes quite tiresome after the first few goes.
Looking at visuals alone, Second Son raises the bar and if these visuals could be seen lifting a really good game, then that would be something extremely exciting. Seattle is beautifully rendered. streets splattered with rain, shiny puddles, neon signs. Cars and pedestrians everywhere so the world doesn’t feel empty. An incredible draw distance. You can still see cars and pedestrians being drawn from all the way at the top of the Seattle Space Needle. This is easily one of the best looking games to date on the new consoles. The engine also pushes a lot of particles on screen and doesn’t dip much in framerate during particularly hectic moments.
But for now, it seems as if you have to trade either one or the other. Graphics or story. It’s been a problem since moving to this gen of consoles, with the likes of others games such as Ryse and Watchdogs.
The game is injected with life when you obtain your neon powers. The screen is lavished with pink and purple beams and swirls. It brightens the dark element stricken streets.
Like most superhero games, the city doesn’t really feel alive. It doesn’t feel like the people living in the city would be getting on with their lives if you weren’t there. It feels like the city only exists as your playground and would disappear without a conduit jumping around the roof tops.
The powers are nice but ultimately all the same , just under a different pleasing look. Each having a certain number of attacks all pretty similar to each different power.
I think the soundtrack could have been more likeable if they could of somehow bought some popular grunge music such as Nirvana to put in the game instead of the in-house created tracks. Perhaps it would have been too expensive.
The game doesn’t have a true day and night cycle. Instead choosing a different time of day for each section. Turning it to night time when you get your neon powers for example, to fully show off the bright colours. I believe you can set the time of day when you have finished the campaign so you can free-roam in the day cycle you want.
Some missions do seem to have difficulty spikes where you can be swamped by a large group of hostiles. In these cases it is often easier to sit back and throw attacks from a far away rooftop, although some variants of enemies will seek you out. This makes it hard to have a breather at times and recover from heavy damage.
Boss fight aren’t anything revolutionary. It’s mostly repeat a number of actions three or four times to bring up a QTE or just keep hitting them chopping away at their health until it’s finally over. The end boss fight for example, I managed to cheat by hanging back behind a wall doing nothing but firing until the boss was dead. Now this wasn’t supposed to be the case but it was a bit of a design flaw.
The cutscenes are a mix of comic book style and motion capture. I’m sure many will appreciate the comic book art style and it fits the superhero genre, but I’ve always been in favour of proper motion captured cut-scenes as I just find them easier and more entertaining to watch.
Gameplay can be pretty fun seeing how high you can reach in the world, streaming up the side of buildings and then power punching to the ground. Just taking in some of the sights can be nice. Photo-mode makes a nice addition and seems to be a feature becoming ever more apparent in games with impressive graphics.
You can choose whether you want to be considered a good or bad character. Although in the end this doesn’t amount to much. Only a different badge stitched on the back of Delsin’s jacket and either red or blue coloured powers. Civilians may react differently to you depending on how good or evil you are but chances are you won’t really be stopping to check. You’ll be to busy zipping through the air and avoiding enemy fire. You will however get a different ending but neither are particularly special.
Overall I haven’t really seen the appeal that fans of the series seem to experience. There were moments I enjoyed but I couldn’t get the thought out of my head of, ‘what if this was a Spiderman game?’ I just felt that Sucker Punch have invented a new character that I couldn’t relate to. Most superheroes in comics/films you can sort of relate to with their struggle but I just can’t quite appreciate the whole frat boy humour thing that Delsin seems to be about.
InFamous Second Son is out now exclusive to Playstation 4