Published on March 26th, 2014 | by Thinkbad Monkey
inFAMOUS Second Son – Review
There was a lot riding on Second Son. Titanfall has just come out for the Xbox and seemed to have made a big difference to sales, at least in the short term. inFAMOUS, then, is Sony’s big hitter and the first real triple A exclusive to come to the PS4 since its launch. But was it worth that wait, and can it be the showcase the PS4 needs to maintain its dominant position in one hell of a console war?
Before getting into the actual game, one thing that strikes me is the subtext behind the games that have come out and been announced for both consoles and what they say about the strategies and maybe the gamers which have chosen their side. In a recent post on the site one comment criticises inFAMOUS for not having any multiplayer, and the same was said for the upcoming The Order. Now this comment (made by an Xbox Owner) seemed strange to me. Why would big single player experiences have a need for a multiplayer? Tomb Raider didn’t need one even though it included it and Bioshock Infinite proved it didn’t need one at all. Flipping sides, it is interesting to see that multiple, multiplayer only games are on the Xbox right now, most noticeably Titanfall, but let’s not forget Plants Vs Zombies. Perhaps by pitting Titanfall vs inFAMOUS, multilayer vs single player, both Sony and Microsoft have played their hand about how they want this generation to go. But I digress.
A lot has been made of the the look and feel of inFAMOUS and, just to start with, the game is very pretty. But I think that has been spoiled by unrealistic trailers and high expectation, as I just wasn’t initially blown away. Don’t get me wrong, inFAMOUS is still one of the best looking games I have ever played and when you get a chance to get some time with it and explore the city, you will appreciate how amazingly detailed the game truly is. If you see something, you can get to it and if you want to explore that tall building, you absolutely can. The game map may not be the biggest, especially compared to a game like GTA, but that is kind of a good thing. The map is big enough for the game, meaning that it’s easy to get around while still feeling like you are in a big city. There is no long 5 minute journeys to missions, thank goodness, and you will often find yourself in areas you didn’t intent to be in (in a good way). This all forms together to create a city that feels truly alive and populated. It’s great to see people walking around, eating, shopping – it’s all important stuff in what is essentially a super hero game. You have to have people to save in order to be a hero, right?
Having not played an inFAMOUS game before, I was interested to know whether that would hinder my experience at all. I was thankful to find that it didn’t in the slightest. If you have played 1 and 2 there may be easter eggs for you to find, but don’t worry those who are like me, you can get into this game on its own merits. The plot itself is engaging and is pretty solid throughout. It may not blow the world apart but it kept me engaged throughout the whole thing, enough so to make me want to go back and play it again. The biggest attraction to the story has to be the characters though. Motion Capture was used to get the characters looking great and my god does it pay off. The relationship you build with the characters makes the game, and the fact that you can tell what the character is thinking and feeling just from the look on their face adds a whole new dimension of story telling. There is so much subtle content behind each line and you can feel the same pain or anger as the characters show at the same time. This especially makes you hate the bad guys even more, because of the smug look on their faces. As a massive fan of the single player experience, I want to see more of this for sure.
But what would a super hero game be without super powers. I won’t spoil any of the powers that were not already announced before the game, so don’t worry about that. But I will say that it makes a nice change to have interesting abilities that aren’t just fire/ ice etc. Smoke and Neon are the first two powers you obtain creating different ways to tackle fighting, as well as moving around the environment. These powers can be upgraded, but for the most part that didn’t seem to impactful. The really cool thing is how you recharge these powers. Smoke can be drawn from vents on roofs or destroyed cars, this is particularly useful when you can blow the cars up with Neon and then draw the smoke out for a quick change of tactic. Neon then can be taken from the masses of Neon signs all around the city or even under cars. While I won’t name the other powers, when you get them, you will find yourself wondering why you didn’t think that was a power source. Maybe we have been tainted by too many years of fire and ice …
Apart from the main story there are, of course, many side missions to do. Many of these will affect a good or bad karma rating that can also be changed by choices you make in the campaign. This Karma rating will effect your powers as well as the campaign itself. Side missions include hunting down undercover agents, finding audio logs and my personal favourite, spray painting. Why is it my favourite? Well because it makes such fantastic use of the controls of course. When you initiate the side mission you will need to turn the controller on its side, shake it and spray like a real can! This integration of the tech makes for such an impressive and fun experience, it’s hard not to enjoy it. On another note, inFAMOUS also makes fantastic use of the touchpad, proving that it can be used in really unique and immersive ways.
It took me a few days and a few long sessions to complete this game, so not too bad time wise. With a second play through to make all the evil choices you can get a good amount of game for your buck. The biggest thing to take away from inFAMOUS is that it is a shining beacon of what good is to come for the PS4. A great game in its own right, its innovative use of the controls as well as its impressive characters and populated world make it a game that every PS4 owner must play and I hope they continue the series into the new generation.