I’ll start by making a confession; I’ve not played the previous titles In the Infamous series. So Infamous: Second Son is all new grounds to me. I don’t know if the previous titles followed the same premise as SS in that Seattle is on lockdown while trying to recover and lock up escaped Bio-Terrorists or Conduits.
The first thing you’re doing on Second Son is escaping to safety after being caught ‘tagging’ and your thrown into particular route you have to navigate in order to flee. The first thing I did though was just stop in awe at the environment around me.
This game promised big things visually and within the first seconds just scanning around the area it’s oh so apparent to see that. It looks stunning. I spent a long time making my way to safety as I found myself stopping and scanning the area just to look at the world. I found myself taking a lot of screenshots in the opening stages as it really did strike me the first time seeing it. Killzone: Shadow fall impressed me on launch night, and Metal Gear equally impressed me on first playing that, but this was something altogether.
Anyway once the views and beauty of the game finally sank in I progressed with the game.
You play as Delsin Rowe a Native American from the Akomish tribe who is a street artist who comes across as a fuck the system type of character; he is caught plying his trade by his brother Reggie who happens to a sheriff. Delsin makes his ‘escape’ only to be caught by his brother in what Delsin would have assumed a safe spot. The brothers witness a D.U.P truck transporting 3 Bio-Terrorists crash and in the franticness of it all 2 of the conduits escape leaving the 3rd Hank stuck behind. Delsin attempts to help free Hank from rubble only to be taken hostage and a standoff taking place between Reggie and Hank. During the struggle Delsin ‘absorbs’ Hank’s powers and after an adjustment period to get use to his new abilities tracks down Hank. In the pursuit of Hank he drives him out and into the hands of D.U.P searching for him. Their leader Augustine interrogates Delsin into how he kept up pursuit of Hank with Delsin refusing to admit he is now a conduit himself. The lack of co-operation results in Delsin being knocked out for 2 weeks and Augustine spreading terror to the Akomish tribe members resulting in many deaths. Delsin awakes to find members of his Akomish tribe that have survived are covered in concrete from Augustine, and the only way to heal them is for him to absorb Augustine’s rock power to revert the damage on them all. So Delsin’s bright idea is to travel to Seattle, take down the D.U.P with his one power and absord Augustine’s. I’ll leave the story from there and go onto thoughts of the game.
This game implements a moral system and you have the choice to follow good or bad actions to result in the story out come. There are numerous decisions you can make throughout the game.
The easiest path would be following the evil side as civilian kills rack up bad karma, and it can be all too easy creating civilian casualties as your fight against the D.U.P progresses throughout the game. To further fill your bad karma game bar you can kill street musicians, kill D.U.P agents with headshots, kill gang members and as mentioned numerous innocent bystanders. However if you are chasing the path of righteousness you can bust drug deals, free trapped suspects and stop D.U.P agents with leg shots rather than the headshots.
You can level up your powers through clearing D.U.P out of the numerous districts in Seattle. I found myself clearing as many as I could first and found I built up a lot of powers rather early into the actual story line.
I won’t spoil all the powers you receive, but I’m almost certain you would have all seen the Neon power from various previews around. This power is awesome and it is again a massive showcase as to just how stunning this game looks in motion.
On my play through on bad karma, I found myself clearing out all the districts I could in the first Island, and then upgraded and progressed the story enough to reach the second island. Here I again cleared the districts first to ensure I could reach maximum skills for my powers I had, then progressed with the story.
Each district has the same objectives. Clear out a mobile power unit, destroy numerous cameras, destroy numerous surveillance bots, kill an undercover agent, find a hidden camera, find an audiofile, destroy signal blockers in some districts and do some impressive graffiti. Once enough damage is done you can have a final showdown with the D.U.P of that area to wipe them out.
It doesn’t get boring or repetitive at all, or it didn’t for me anyway. I found myself as it was getting later into the night telling myself I’d do “Just one more district” and once that was clear telling myself the same thing again.
While clearing the districts takes time, I found the actual story and story missions to be rather short. At one point checking my percentage I was at 73% game completion, this was after clearing all the districts on the first and second Island bar one and not starting a story related mission on the 2nd Island. But despite that I still really enjoyed the missions.
The “Boss” battles if you can call them that against other conduits were entertaining and at times tricky, especially the conduit you fight against to gain your third power (which is AWESOME for the record). And the gradual increase of different types of D.U.P agents at each district as you progress made each one a challenge to clear.
Aside from the stunning visuals of the game, another thing that really impressed me with this game was the use of the DS4. SuckerPunch really made use of the features the DS4 has to offer. The change of the light bar colour as your karma changes from one side to the other (blue for good, red for bad). By the end of my play through my fingers were glowing red. And the speaker is put to good use as a ringtone for your phone when receiving calls or when absorbing a source for your powers. It also managed to incorporate the touch pad. While not as much use came from it as in Killzone, it was still a nice feature and a nice way to blow up gun turrets or power cores around the city.
But of course the most fun use is when it comes to actually ‘tagging’ environments with a Banksy style piece of street art. The first time I did this I was useless at it, but I still loved it. Hold the controller side ways ala holding a spray can, and shake it. Sound affects again through the speaker while you shake it resemble the noise you’d hear if you were shaking a real spray can, and the applying the paint to the wall by holding the R trigger, again while holding the DS4 like a spray can and using your own motion and movement to spray over the stencil on screen. It’s a great touch and put a massive grin on my face once I’d got the hang of how to do it properly. And once again the colour bar changes colour to the paint colour you are spraying, Just nice little touches.
While it may not be a game selling feature, it’s still a nice touch.
All in all it’s a wonderful looking and incredible fun game to play. The incentive is there to go for a 2nd play through after to try completing it on the other side of the karma bar and seeing what effect your choices has on the story from the good side. As mentioned the district clearing despite a lot of them being there, never feel repetitive or boring, and the story while a little short, is a blast to play through with some very energetic characters to meet along the way. The use of the controller will bring a smile to your face the first time you experience tagging.
A great post launch first party title, I truly anticipate what Sony’s other first party offerings are after the blast I had with Infamous: Second Son.
If you have a PS4, and don’t have this yet (highly unlikely) then be sure to pick up a copy.