InFamous: Second Son is an absolutely gripping open-word adventure that will thrill fans of the series. It outdoes everything its predecessors did in every department, but still leaves room to explore next-gen gameplay a little more. This matters not though, as everything Second Son does, it does in an outstanding manner.
Developer: Sucker Punch
Distributor: Ster Kinekor
Reviewed on: Playstation 4
If we had to give it a numerical score: 9.2/10
What I loved
- Sublime audio/visual effects
- Sublime texture and overall graphical quality
- Crisp platforming mechanics
- Narrative by far best in series
- Best PS4 experience yet
Not so much
- Leaves room for more on next-gen gameplay
I normally never read reviews before playing the game that I am to review. With Second Son I just had to know on release day, the day we received our copy, why the overall. Metacritic score was sitting at less than a ninety average, which I assumed it would achieve. I just had to know why. So after booting up the game, playing for a few hours, I could not agree that this wasn’t the most dramatic jump in “next-gen gameplay,” as some reviewers critisised.
After more than a couple hours into it though, I will sort of agree that more could be done in terms of pushing the gameplay mechanics with the Playstation 4. However, that’s as far as I will comment on that, because it simply did not matter to me as what Second Son does, it does brilliantly. And frankly, Second Son does improve on gameplay mechanics from the previous gen, it’s just I’m sure more is possible.
What I immediately noticed is the precision with the platforming. Delsin lands so perfectly, exactly where you wish and on whatever you wish. The series has always been great in this department, but this one is just so crisp in its movements. I do warm you though, this means bashing away on the controller results in clumsy movement. The input is so precise, so remarkably well crafted that it shows off not only how talented Sucker Punch are, but the prowess of the DS4 controller.
The gameplay as a whole makes parkour throughout Seattle an absolute delight, and it just gets better and better as you upgrade Delsin’s powers. Scaling objects or buildings, aiming and shooting off powers and nades, hanging off objects, or the most basic of movement mechanics – everything happens so naturally and in such an impressive manner. Second Son, especially once I got acclimatised with the precise mechanics, is easily my favourite open-world game to go running around in. I could go minutes without fumbling or fighting with the mechanics. Again I have to say, the mechanics were masterfully put together, making for some graceful gameplay.
What is totally, totally “next-gen” is the visual quality of Second Son. The detail in the fairly large Seattle is astounding and gorgeous. Simply put, long gone are the days of texture-lacking graphics in open-word environments. Seattle is detailed, well textured and beautiful. The basic (stunning) graphical layer is then eclipsed by the lighting effects. The incredibly realistic lighting effects set new standards, certainly better than anything I’ve ever seen on consoles, and the result is incredible. The sunlight, shadows and general contrast of lighting effects make for not only a submissive visual experience, but also a very realistic-looking, vibrant or “alive” atmosphere.
And then night falls a few hours into it and you’re blown away even more. Not just because of the fancy neon theme of Delsin’s powers, but again, for what is now capable with lighting. I will remember a moment I stopped amongst the traffic, with the glow of streetlights on vehicles and the wet street. I honestly can’t remember being so impressed with how realistic everything looked, especially at night. The game as an audio/visual treat is a hell of an impressive tech demo for the PS4, and more importantly, for the talent that is Sucker Punch.
Finally, in terms of production qualities, and again another benchmark, is the emotion depicted by realistic animations. The story-telling capabilities are take to new heights with how realistic the characters’ emotions are depicted by their animations. For me, until now, no game could match the animation quality of Rockstar made games. Sucker Punch and its new-gen game engine managed to produce that quality with Second Son, and for this reason, I bonded more with the narrative and its stars. A special mention to Troy Baker, who topped off his incredibly comprehensive an impressive list of starring roles. Delsin is a lovable character, with his cool “rebel with a cause” attitude, and Baker’s voice-acting remarkably compliments Delsin, making him one of the most memorable characters games have seen – I certainly won’t forget him.
I began the review with the science of it all because it’s how the game feels, looks and sounds that impressed me the most. There is however a great narrative here to, and the gameplay design was as engaging and enduring as I would want. The story sees Delsin becoming a Conduit – basically, a human with powers. Unfortunately the powers that be have outlawed these powerful beings and labeled them as Bio-Terrorists. His brother, a wound-tight Sheriff, who together need to fight against the corrupted powers that be, guides Delsin. His brother constantly serves as the voice of reason, not all together for the Conduits, but will use Delsin’s profound abilities for the good, against his better judgment. The two couldn’t be more different, and the narrative follows a constant moral battle. You the player can take the moral high ground or revolt, and thus shape the narrative according.
Delsin receives two major powers, which in turn offer a variety of attributes and capabilities. Smoke powers allow Delsin to boost around for periods, while Neon allows Delsin to travel at insane speeds, running up walls an such. Both powers are coupled with attacking capabilities, and both feature a super power that requires building up to. Smoke for example requires you to subdue a certain amount of enemies, building up to a massive orbit drop that guarantees mass destruction when engaged. The gameplay offers good variety and a descent progressive system, keeping you upgrading Delsin’s extensive capabilities.
InFamous Second Son was an absolute pleasure to play thorough in a large’ish gaming world. There is plenty to leer you astray from the main objective, plenty of side-missions. And the fact that you can take either the moral or immoral path means a second playthrough is justified. And you will definitely want to playthrough again! Sucker Punch is also releasing weekly additions to the game, so Second Son a substantial offering too.
So to sum up have – Second Son not only serves as a great tech demo for the Playstation 4, but also as the most impressive piece on Sucker Punch’s resume. If you didn’t pay attention to the studio before, you should now. The gameplay is impressive, while leaving room for “more”, and the production quality is of the highest we’ve seen. Most importantly though, Second Son is the most fun I have had on Playstation 4!
Read about our ratings here.