The month of September has brought PS Plus subscribers some pretty exciting free games. Among the current line up, inFamous: Second Son is the biggest title of them all. Released back in 2014, Second Son answered all speculations whether the series has come to an end with the retirement of Cole MacGarth, the main protagonist for both inFamous 1 & 2. As the series transitioned from the PS3 to the PS4, it went through a soft reset with the introduction of a new protagonist. Now, three years later, is it still worth it?
The game takes place seven years after the heroic sacrifice of Cole MacGarth in the previous game. You take control of Delsin Rowe, a street punk vandal, and Conduit who is going against the Department of Unified Protection (DUP). The player is also often supported by his brother, Reggie Rowe, who is a local sheriff in the Akomish Reservation where the brothers reside. The story is pretty much similar to its predecessors as Delsin is not trusted by authorities and the general population. The theme that normal humans are afraid of people with unique powers is still pretty much what the game is about. After the events of inFamous 2, Conduits are now labeled as “bioterrorists" by the DUP.
The story begins with Delsin vandalizing a billboard. The game pretty much showcases the power of the DualShock 4 in this scene as the player gets to vandalize the billboard using different gestures on the controller. A few minutes later, a military truck, carrying three Conduits, crashes on the Akomish reservation. Delsin was able to rescue two of them and accidentally absorbs the powers of one, discovering that he is also a Conduit.
As with its predecessors, Karmic choices still plays a big part of the game. From time to time, the player will be presented with two choices: a good choice, that would give them the reputation of being a hero, and a bad choice, that would make them infamous. These choices play a vital role as to how the story will progress. Aside from the choices, the player’s actions while in game will also contribute to their reputation. Do you help wounded civilians or kill them? Do you subdue enemies, or mercilessly execute them? The choice is up to you.
The core ability of Delsin in this game is to absorb the powers of other Conduits, which allows him to manipulate four elements: Smoke, Neon, Video, and Concrete. However, Delsin can only access one element at a time, but he can quickly switch powers by absorbing the proper source of energy.
Combat in this game is pretty similar as before, however for the first time in the series, the player can shoot without aiming before hand, which is an excellent addition especially when the player is surrounded by multiple enemies and would need to make a quick defense.
Blast shards are still included in this game and is easier to find, serving as the game’s currency to upgrade your powers. This makes improving your abilities easier than before as the shards are scattered all throughout the world and will even show up on the map once you’ve cleared out all the enemies in the area.
The smoke power also introduces the ability to go through vents. It is easier than ever to climb skyscrapers by simply going through the bottom vent, and ending up at the very top of the building. Exploring the city using your powers is especially fun since travel abilities differ per power and do not drain your resources.
For the first time in the series, the setting of the game is not in a fictional city. Instead, players can explore the open world of the city of Seattle. This is a great feature for those perfectionists who like to earn trophies by doing every single side quest in the game. In fact, doing the main quest alone will let you finish the game within 5-6 hours, which makes Second Son, the shortest concerning length in the main series.
The visuals in the game are stunning. Roaming around the streets of Seattle is a visual treat that fully immersed me to the game. The first time I acquired my neon powers, I felt so strong with the vivid colors designed so perfectly, especially when you use them in a dark area. Every visual aspect of this game, the city, the powers, the lighting effects, are weaved so intricately that it utilizes the power of the console to its limits.
The graphics of the game is very well utilized during combat. The fighting animations are flawless, and the visual effects, especially when I use my powers, are visually pleasing but still grounded in realism. The character animations are also improved greatly in Second Son. Different emotions and facial expressions are animated well and doesn't look awkward, giving the characters the ability to tell their stories effectively.
One of the biggest strength of inFamous: Second Son is its replay value. The Karmic choices play a pivotal role here as you can choose to be the Hero on your first play through, and become Infamous on your second. Since side quests are optional in this game, you can also do the main quest alone if the story is what you’re after, but if you’re obsessed with finishing the game thoroughly, then doing every side quest available is an option that would take you countless hours to complete. Lastly, the PS4’s trophy system is another reason to replay the game if you’ve missed a couple on your first play through.
What Could Be Better
The only downside I see in this game is its length. Second Son is the shortest game compared to its two predecessors, which puts it at a disadvantage since this is the first title of the series released on the PS4. The length makes the side quests of the game serve as more of fillers to lengthen the gameplay rather than to contribute in exploring the setting or introducing subplots for the characters. Still, even with its short length, Second Son is still a good game to play.
All in all, Sucker Punch has done a good job with inFamous: Second Son. The fresh story, the excellent gameplay, the stunning visuals, and the replay value makes the game fun three years after its release. Although the morality system may seem outdated for some, it still works well given the many strong points of the game. The fact that it is free for September is a good enough reason for those who are still hesitant to download the game even if it's three years old already. I definitely recommend the game to both inFamous fans and newcomers alike. It is definitely worth your time.
“The strong narrative, stunning visuals, and intuitive gameplay makes inFamous: Second Son a great addition to the series."