Saturday, 5 July 2014

In a second, he became the infamous son

Infamous Second Son

Platform tested:
 PlayStation 4

Prior to this third release in the Infamous series I hadn't really played them much. I recall trying a demo of the first game on PlayStation 3, but that's about it. As such my review may be slightly different from followers of the series, considering this being my first true experience with it. As an example, I have not seen previous ideas or gameplay features that may have been used earlier before.

Infamous Second Son is one of the few games truly developed exclusively for the PS4 and from the very first moment it really shows; SS is a damn good looking game. From the stunning sunsets and detailed small-town environment at the beginning, which serves as a smart little training ground for the games controls, to the huge and open world of Seattle, which once again blows your mind technically. The game looks amazing, and even more so considering it's an open world game. It looks just as good as any linear third person game.

The game looks incredibly detailed.
Seattle has some beautiful sunsets apparently!
The game follows the protagonist, Delsin, on his travel to learn an ability that will help his own Akomish, Native Americans, in his home town outside of Seattle. The game begins with him being caught doing graffiti on a billboard, by his older brother Reggie, a police officer. The setting changes dramatically when they are both witnesses to a car crash in a police escort. An escaping convict grabs Delsin and inadvertently gives him the first ability of the game.

Abilities, or more or less super-hero power, is what SS and the previous Infamous games evolve around. These abilities let you run up walls, pass through objects, glide in the air and run faster than humanly possible. The quest to level up and earn more ability points is what really makes you addicted to the game. As well as performing numerous other tasks, such as; making graffiti art (which features a really cool mini-game where your controller becomes a spray can), destroying surveillance cameras and pulling down equipment. There's a constant feeling of becoming more and more powerful and trying to reach the next power you can upgrade to. The game lets you level up by taking over areas of Seattle that are controlled by the evil corporation, the D.U.P. This organization have imprisoned Delsin's Akomish people and the whole city, trying to suppress anybody that harnesses special powers.

Besides simply following the main story missions, SS encourages you to explore and complete all the other tasks the game has on offer. Tempting you constantly with upgrades and leveling. I like the free structure of the game, and it really does let you do everything, besides the main story, in the order you choose yourself.

Delsin and Fetch, a character later in the story, hang out on a few missions.
Gameplay in SS is fantastic. Delsin moves smoothly and can traverse buildings and heights like nothing. It's so fun shooting up a ventilation shaft and popping out on the top of a building and gliding over to the next. You really feel like you're the main character of a superhero movie. Combat is based on melee and shooting, although the shooting isn't the traditional one with guns, instead you fire smoke or lightning shots and thus it feels far different than standard shooting games. I like that you can take things slowly and fight more sneaky, taking out one enemy after another or simply going full blast into an enemy quarter and blowing the hell out of everything. The feeling of freedom in an open world sandbox game should be reflected in the gameplay, Infamous SS does this well.

It's incredible to watch all the graphical effects (there are so many sparks, light sources and explosions) going on while engaging a fight. Combined with the really detailed and incredible looking city, you have one of the most graphically impressive games to date. I love the way the game changes the various times of day it plays out in in conjunction with the way the story unfolds. The neon ability, which showcases some fantastic and colourful lighting effects, is introduced at night time; a perfect setting to do so! The game runs at something around 30-48 fps, probably mostly at around 48, and it helps things look smooth and with the 1080p resolution, this game is incredible sharp looking. At times I forget it's an open world game when considering how great the graphics are!
Jumping and smashing cars never gets old.
Delsin arguing with his older brother Reggie.
There are some small issues of negativity. As mentioned I have never played the Infamous games before, so originality was not an issue for me. I can maybe see it being so for people who have played Infamous 1 and 2. However I found the variation in side-missions to be a little repetitive after a while. I would have liked some other tasks to complete. The apparantly, buzzing city, at least visually, could have done with some more detail too; like buildings to go inside, being able to use a car or buy clothes at a shop for instance. It serves mostly as a beautiful backdrop.

Although I like the storyline having two endings and the possibility to be evil or good; I do miss the choice being even more pronounced. The game feels pretty much the same and the storyline only differs at a few key points in the storyt. There's also no middle ground, and doing so seems pointless; either go for full-on good or bad when playing the game is my opinion. Hopefully next time we will see some of these issues taken care of.

The D.U.P. have taken over Seattle and have set up huge structures to survey the city.
"You talkin' me?!"
I loved my playthrough of Infamous SS, and I enjoyed playing it on hard and being evil for my second playthrough. It's a entertaining story with colourful characters and great dialogue. The gameplay is excellent and is pure enjoyment to play. The controls are spot on and using your abilities feels powerful and varied thanks to the various main ability branches. Each ability branch has it's pluses and minuses, making you shift constantly between them. This is a definite must-buy for any PlayStation owner out there; it's the best exclusive game for the system without doubt!



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