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Infamous: Second Son Review

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Friday 4 April 2014Comments Off

Available on PS4 l Published by Sony l Developed by Sucker Punch l Classified M l Supports 1 player

REVIEW IN BRIEF > If you’re looking for a game to show off the power of the next gen then Infamous: Second Son is it. The graphics are simply breathtaking. Don’t fret about the gameplay, either. Beneath the beautiful exterior is the best Infamous gameplay yet. Despite being a little on the short side, this is a must buy for PS4 owners.

REVIEW IN FULL > The Infamous series has always been something of a minor hit for Sony. While the series hasn’t set the world on fire in terms of sales, its distinctive brand of superpower-fuelled open world mayhem has attracted a dedicated fan base. I have certainly enjoyed my time with the series and have been eagerly awaiting the third instalment. When I found out that it wouldn’t continue the story of Cole (the protagonist from the first two entries) I was a little worried. Well, I shouldn’t have been, because it turned out to be the best Infamous game yet.

Each of the new powers offered a way of scaling buildings and gliding through the sky, making traversal of the city much more enjoyable than it was in past games.

Before I knew it, I was slapped in the face by the stunning visuals. Screenshots and videos simply hadn’t done the game justice. From its amazingly detailed depiction of Seattle to its exceptionally complex facial animations, Second Son never failed to impress in the graphics department. It wasn’t just the game’s photorealism that caught my eye, but also its bold use of colour and light. This was most evident when I gained the Neon power. At times, I simply stopped and stared at the way Sucker Punch had incorporated these bright fluoro colours into their world.

While I could quite easily write a further thousand words about how good it looked, this certainly wasn’t all the game had to offer. The story wasn’t complex by any means, but some well-written dialogue and great voice acting really brought it to life. I did have a small issue with new protagonist Deslin. For about 70% of the game, he basically behaved like an unlovable tool, which made it harder than it should have been to connect to his story.

The gameplay was everything I had come to enjoy about Infamous. It had me exploring a real world city (a first for the series, as the first two games were set in fictitious cities), attacking control points, completing exciting side missions and basically fighting the good fight. As with previous entries, I also had the option to be a jerk and kill everything that moved, but I just don’t roll that way (not until my second play through at least).

The biggest change to the Infamous formula was the presence of three new and distinct abilities. Each of the new powers offered a way of scaling buildings and gliding through the sky, making traversal of the city much more enjoyable than it was in past games. Despite having access to a fast travel system, I more often than not found myself making my own way across the map.

I found switching between the three powers to be the best way to approach enemies. The Smoke power was great for immobilizing large groups, the Neon power perfect for sniping and the (strangely named) Video power was ideal for sneaking up on and taking down flying enemies. I ended up with a massive toolset of powers, which ensured that my battles with the game’s fairly competent enemies never grew stale.

I was never bored during the time I spend with Second Son, but it would have been nice to have a few more missions to tackle…

I was a little disappointed by the game’s length. It took me about 12 hours to reach 100% completion on my good aligned playthrough. This felt a little short to me so I fired my PS3 up and checked my old Infamous game saves. Unfortunately, I was right. The first two games had each taken about 18 hours to finish. Don’t get me wrong. I was never bored during the time I spend with Second Son, but it would have been nice to have a bit more of a playground to explore and a few more missions to tackle.

Length aside, Second Son is the best Infamous game available and probably your best bet for a triple A title on the PS4 at this time. The English language doesn’t contain the words to accurately describe how good this game looks and luckily it is backed up by some great gameplay and a solid story. It really is just more Infamous though, so if you didn’t find yourself warming to the previous entries in the series, this probably won’t change your opinion. For the rest of us, this is a sensational superhero fantasy.

One final suggestion: make sure you mute the credits so you don’t have to listen to a terrible cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box. It almost ruined the entire game…

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