Tuesday, 25 March 2014

inFamous: Second Son: PS4 Review

inFamous: Second Son: PS4 Review

Released by Sucker Punch
Platform: PS4

It's your choice to be good - or evil.

The first two inFamous games were excellent fun, a heady mix of wanton destruction (if you so desired) or the chance to follow the path of righteousness as you guided Cole McGrath around the world.

But the final game in the series ended somewhat definitively, so there was no way another game could be anything but a reboot. And here it is...

Seven years on after the events that ended inFamous 2, you play Delsin Rowe, a Native American kid, who's prone to beanie wearing and street tagging. That puts him into conflict with Reggie, his brother and also the local sheriff (so, in effect, Delsin's moral compass). When a truck carrying three Conduits crashes in Delsin's reservation, he tries to help one who's trapped, but inadvertently gets given powers. Which, if you're a street kid, is a great idea - but if you're a hunted Conduit, pursued by the Department of Unified Protection (DUP), it's not such good news....

Confronted by the leader of the DUP, Augustine, Delsin's forced into a battle to save his people who are being tortured by her power. With time running out, he's got to find Augustine and save the day. Or wreak havoc, whichever you choose....

Delayed at the launch of the PlayStation 4, there was much hope for inFamous: Second Son. And a demo that I played recently seemed to indicate that action and fighting were the MO for this latest, with developers Sucker Punch choosing not to veer too far away from the things that made the other entrants into this series so damn popular.


But what the demo didn't really show was the depth of the gameplay - it certainly showed the fantastic visuals of the open world gaming, with HD and Next Gen firmly coming into its own. Certainly, visually, it's never looked more beautiful - particularly once Delsin comes into contact with fellow conduit Fetch, the neon glows look stunning. In fact, the open world of Seattle where Delsin ends up is wonderfully crafted - from night time scenes to the daytime and the Space Needle, there's so much effort gone into the world around and it lends itself to simply hurtling around the skies or running up buildings to sample the designers' delights.

Yep, you can run up buildings in this new game - with a burst of vibrant neon stripes, Delsin can circle tall buildings in one bound. Other smoke powers mean he can use vents to zip from base to top - all without a hint of a glitch in the graphics. Which is good, because there are occasionally some glitches in the game - particularly at the start. In some parts I was able to walk through solid objects ( a pole in a street, a building wall) which was a real concern. A patch appeared to take care of that, but you'll have to remember to do that at the start or you'll suffer. And conversations on screen appear to conflict too, with some over-running on each other, making messages a little garbled. (The patch didn't appear to fix that and unless you have subtitles on, it makes it difficult)

And it's the powers which make inFamous: Second Son the fun that it is - sucking up smoke and absorbing neon ( as well as one other, which is equally as fun) mean you can blast the pesky DUP as you hurtle around the city (and you'll need to do that to free districts from their grip). Combat can be quite hard with some powers not quite cutting it at the start, but again, collecting blast shards from around the city will help you boost those powers the more you play. Initial fighting is with a chain (a la God of War) but upgrading to neon gives you a kind of light sabre lance that's great to use on unsuspecting baddies.

There's a feeling of familiarity though - it's very similar to the other inFamous games but just with the next generation elements thrown in to showcase the fact that it's on the PS4. That said, you get a chance to improve Delsin's street art by turning the DualShock into a spray can which is done by turning the controller on its side, shaking and spraying. (On a side note, keep an eye out for other street tags around the city - so far I've found Sly Raccoon - but who knows what else is out there)

Side missions keep you amused as you go from district to district, but they're very familiar as you usually end up in some conflict with the DUP - thankfully though the story missions prove engaging as you choose whether to corrupt or redeem fellow Conduits. This gives the game the chance to get a second run through - and it's up to you whether you come back to it.

The initial patch also brings up the PaperTrail missions, a side game where Delsin has to follow another Conduit and work on some murders, submitting evidence which is uploaded to an online profile. While it's not exactly multiplayer (and really how would that work in inFamous), it's an engaging enough activity.

While inFamous: Second Son may appear to have a degree of familiarity in terms of gameplay, there's no denying this latest is a lot of fun. It's a solidly playable open-worlder that is entertaining, engaging and a good showcase for what the PS4 can do - from impressively detailed cut scene animation to great time-wasting, there's definitely the feeling that inFamous: Second Son is an essential title and a sign that greatness is to come on the PS4.


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