Although I played and enjoyed the original inFAMOUS games, i’ll admit that I wasn’t particularly wowed by them. It was cool to exist in an open world where you had really cool powers to do whatever you wanted with, but there was something that left me feeling disconnected from all of that. Looking back, I can see the reason for that disconnect was the game’s protagonist.
Don’t get me wrong, Cole MacGrath was was perfectly solid as leading man, but he was too serious and reserved to really attach to. In a world where you suddenly have all of these amazing powers, Cole’s sullen personality made them feel far less amazing than they should have. Cole had some serious problems so obviously he shouldn’t be dancing around like an ape, but crack a smile every now and then, man.
This is where inFAMOUS: Second Son really steps up to the plate, in my opinion. As soon as we’re thrust into the world of Second Son we are in control of Delsin Rowe, a wiseass trouble maker that is simply oozing charisma. When he suddenly stumbles upon a situation that grants him supernatural powers, he’s over the moon at what he is now capable of. So, he basically reacts exactly how any normal person *would* react to having cool powers.
The supporting cast is equally as good, as you also have Delsin’s cop brother Reggie who is the polar opposite of everything that Delsin is. Where Delsin’s life is about impulsive fun, Reggie’s life is about meticulous order. Even though these two men’s ideologies clash significantly, it’s that difference that gives them so much chemistry and charm. There aren’t a whole lot of good guys in Second Son, but the few that are there are likable and really add a lot to the narrative.
However, like with any great story there is a major conflict, and in this game that conflict goes by the name of Brooke Augustine. Augustine is a lady who runs a huge unit called the D.U.P. who are aiming to capture conduits (people like Delsin) and lock them up. It’s up to Delsin to fight against what Augstine is doing by freeing all of the captured conduits and stopping Augustine from doing anything like this again. Seattle, Washington is about to get a whole lot crazier.
inFAMOUS: Second Son utilizes what is called the Karma system, meaning that there is two different paths you can go on through the course of the game that will give you two different outcomes. Your Karma is effected by both story-related decisions that you must pick between and regular actions that you make during gameplay. If you’re in the middle of a huge fight, knocking out enemies will get you good karma whereas killing them will get you bad karma. This goes the same for the citizens of Seattle, as killing them will get you in trouble and helping them will make you a hero. The system is definitely more simplistic than other games that have utilized this system in the past, but I thought it blended well with the game’s more straight-forward and crowd-pleasing presentation.
The biggest appeal of the inFAMOUS series is the powers that you are able to use, and Second Son offers the most intriguing powers yet. Throughout the game you will be able to utilize Smoke, Neon, Video and Concrete, and each one of these powers gives you different advantages and disadvantages depending on the situation. If you want to get somewhere fast you’ll want to use the sprinting ability that Neon gives you, but if you want to zoom through a building vent then you’ll need Smoke. The world around you is filled with objects that will let you absorb energy for these powers, letting you change your skill set on the fly.
The game’s world is very big and is filled with many things to do. As you wander the streets you will be able to collect Blast Shards by shooting down drones, and these shards are used to upgrade and unlock new abilities for each power you obtain. The game is very generous with how many Blast Shards it gives out, which gives the game a constant sense of progression. You’ll always be working towards a new ability or upgrade to unlock, giving you new ways to go about tackling a particular situation.
It wouldn’t be an open world game if there weren’t a slew of harmless little side quests for you to take part in, and Second Son is no different. As you make your way through the main storyline you will constantly have the opportunity to spray paint some stencil art on certain walls, bust drug deals, take out hidden cameras and a lot more. Some of these may not be the most interesting of side quests, but due to the game’s more light-hearted nature I found them pretty amusing.
inFAMOUS: Second Son succeeds in delivering the best game of the series and the first must-have title for the PlayStation 4. Everything has been improved over the first two entries in the series, with the gameplay and storyline being much more engaging this time around. Delsin is one of the best new protagonists to come along in a game in a while, and his wise cracks and antics throughout the game made the whole experience a lot of fun. If you’re looking for a reason to own a PlayStation 4, inFAMOUS: Second Son is it.