Infamous: Second Son is not the second game in the franchise. As a matter of fact, unlike the slightly misleading title, it’s the third installment in the series. This is a major title release published by Sony Computer Entertainment and developed by Sucker Punch Productions for the Playstation 4. You play in a world where there are humans with gifted powers, but will you use those powers for the good of all or destroy your enemies to rule on high? Let’s follow the smoke trail that makes this game blaze into the Playstation 4 line-up.
Infamous: Second Son takes place 7 years after its predecessor. After the events ending with Infamous 2, the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) have been hunting down and capturing any remaining Conduits in the world. Conduits are people that have acquired different abilities. Some use those abilities for good, but there are a large portion that would use them for their own gains. The DUP decides it’s better for everyone to stop all of the “Bio-terrorists” and lock them up.
You play Delsin Rowe, a young man that is part of the Akomish Native American tribe in Washington. Delsin is a bit of a troublemaker as he loves the art of graffiti and is an accomplished artist of sorts. His brother, Reggie, is the sheriff for the town they live in–as fate has it, also the one that is usually arresting Delsin. Through a freak accident, a transport carrying a few Conduits crashes near the lodge. Reggie snaps into action as an officer to check for injured people and Delsin aids him. They find a man that appears to be shaken from the wreck, but unharmed. When they try to assist, he takes Delsin captive and through this action the Conduit power within Delsin awakens.
Infamous: Second Son takes off from this point. You discover that Delsin doesn’t have just one innate ability, but rather he can absorb the abilities of other Conduits. This is different from the previous games where Cole Macgrath had the ability to control lightning. This adds many new dynamics to the game. Different powers may be more useful in different situations and Infamous: Second Son does a wonderful job of introducing you to each new power you acquire. It leaves it up to the player to decide what you want to utilize in the arsenal, but you can only use one power at a time. The idea of being able to use multiple powers would be great, but it’s obvious how overpowered it would make the character.
The player is challenged with finding different sources to absorb power. If you want to use smoke, you’ll need to find an exhaust port or blow up a car. If you want to use neon, you’ll need to go raid some open signs at a store. This can be challenging if you find that the power you’re using doesn’t apply to the situation you’re in, but there is plenty of open world to escape and find what you’re looking for.
Infamous: Second Son still utilizes the karma system from the previous two games. There are certain instances where you will need to make a choice that gives you good karma or a choice that may give you bad karma. How far you are on the positive or the negative side of the karmic scale will effect what abilities you are able to unlock as well as how different situations play out. Your choices are always crystal clear as to their effect though. I would have liked to see more complexity to the decisions. Granted this is a video game so reality doesn’t play that much into it, but in the real world we rarely know whether a decision will be positive or negative and how it effects the long term. Your decisions in Infamous: Second Son have no effect on long term situations in the game.
Not all of your karmic decisions are made through the main story of Infamous: Second Son. You can travel through the open world and earn karma points for participating in random events. Bust some drug dealers or save other Conduits, positive karma. Destroy protesters against Bio-terrorists or smite the innocent, you’re a naughty Nellie and get some negative points.
Speaking of the open world, it’s large and spectacular. Infamous: Second Son focuses on the city of Seattle. While an exact mock-up of the city would have been cool, it likely would have taken a lot of time. In place of that, they took some historic landmarks of the city and filled in the rest, but it definitely feels like walking through some of the streets of the actual city. Climb the Space Needle or go down to the Waterfront. There is a lot of area to explore. You can do a number of side missions to change territory control against the DUP. The missions are similar to many of the side missions from previous game, but they have a different mask on them.
Graphically, the textures are smooth and vibrant. The color pallet plays to the effects of the character style of Delsin. He has a bit of the punk/grunge look going on and the city speaks to it. When the sun is shining the city sparkles with the day, but when it rains the gloom swallows the joy you once had. The weather effects function true to the nature of Seattle.
Mechanically, Infamous: Second Son, functions very smoothly. There were some issues when trying to climb building or poles. The camera angle would get in the way or even stuck because of where the character was standing. It didn’t hurt the games overall fun factor, but could be a nuisance when it occurred. You can move anywhere and load times are fairly non-existent.
Overall, the story is engaging and interesting to see unfold from a different characters eyes. I felt that Delsin Rowe filled the shoes of Cole Macgrath evenly and is an equal competitor within the franchise. He also shares my name-sake, so I gave points there. The only problem with Infamous: Second Son is that it doesn’t expand on anything it’s predecessors haven’t already done. If you’ve played the previous games, you’ll be able to pick this up in no time with little difficulty. If you’re new, then you’ll enjoy this game on the same level players enjoyed the previous two.