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Infamous has always brought an interesting take on superhero games that expands beyond flying and blowing stuff up. The series has given players a chose in their own morality; something no superhero game has done before. Instead of playing the role of the typical good guy, the player can choose how to handle every situation. Most superhero games have leaned over the subject and simply focused on the players having fun, all power, no responsibility. Infamous never grazed over that. Every action the player takes will have backlash. This hasn’t changed in Infamous Second Son.Set seven years after Infamous 2, Second Son follows a new protagonist, Delsin Rowe. Living as a carefree graffiti artist, Delsin constantly gets into mischief as he tries to spread his art to the world much to the annoyance of his brother, Reggie, a state police officer. One day, the brother’s lives take a turn for the worst as a truck containing three conduits crash near their Akomish tribe. In this moment, Delsin comes into contact with a conduit and discovers he can siphon their powers to use as his own. This sets Delsin apart from the series’ previous protagonist, Cole, in a big way: Delsin gains new powers as the game progresses and is not limited to one. Within this opening moment, Delsin is also hit with a bombshell of a choice involving the people in his life. The choice is left up to the player and determines Delsin’s path to becoming a hero or a villain, creating the backbone for the story to come. After this, the game transitions into the same game fans are familiar with. As Delsin steps further down his path, he will encounter the likes of different conduits, gaining new abilities. The further you get within the game, the more of a weapon wheel Delsin becomes. From various powers such as smoke and neon, the powers are unique and very creative. I would’ve never thought smoke could be used so effective until Delsin has it within his grasp. When Delsin phases into a cloud of smoke and passes through a ground vent leading to the roof of a building, gaining a sniping advantage at the D.U.P.s below, you feel powerful, you feel in control. All of the powers are fun to use and have their own unique play style, from the smoke’s shotgun like blasts to the neon’s super speed.You are limited to one power at a time, however. You can swap powers by draining from an appropriate source, such as a smoke stalk or a neon sign. This can prove annoying in the heat of battle since some sources are more common than others. There will be times where you want to keep sniping them with smoke pellets but have to swap to neon since there are no smoke stalks close to the action. This will come to a more common effect later in the game when more abilities open up to the player.The combat is still as fun as ever. Delsin controls the chaos with his wide variety of attacks and movements. Chaining together smoke grenades that stun the enemies, while quickly dashing into a vent for an aerial comet drop is as satisfying as ever. Conflicts also showcase high levels of environment destruction. If a sniper is making you feel anxious during conflict, you can quickly send a rocket hurtling towards their tower and watch as their perch crashes down onto his allies. Car’s explode, D.U.P. walls crash around them, bodies ragdoll, and ash flows through the air with beautiful particle effects. This is the battlefields that take place within Seattle, all without a single hiccup in the frame rate.Sucker Punch succeeds once again at creating a beautiful world to explore in. Seattle is full of life as you run around the occupied city. Neon signs reflect of the wet streets and rain drops leave ripples as they land on puddles. Each building has high qualities of detail and creates excellent points of view. There are several times during a play through where you can stop in awe as the sun touches the city in a beautifully rendered sunrise.The story clicks as Delsin attempts to weaken the DUP and the action is fun and engaging, but Infamous Second Son isn’t without flaws.The missions outside of the main campaign are small and varied. These missions range from destroying DUP mobile units, destroying cameras, uncovering secret agents, spraying buildings with graffiti, and finding audio files. All of these missions can be completed within minutes, even seconds, and are fully displayed on the map. With the lack of variety in missions, side activities felt repetitive quickly and leaves the experience feeling empty overall. The plus side to completing these missions however is more shards as well as new vests for Delsin to wear. More shards lead to new upgrade paths, leading to a more powerful Delsin. Another issue I had with the side activities were the lack of karma based missions as the previous games had. The karma missions in the previous games were unique and always different than the next, some of the best missions within the game. With such a strong experience, it’s surprising not to see such a big part returning to Second Son. This wouldn’t be such a big flaw if the karma choses within the story weren’t lacking as well. There is only a few throughout the campaign, leaving fans of the mortality system with a hollow experience. All of the karma is mostly based off your actions within Seattle such as stopping drug deals and silencing activists. Karma is still a big role but doesn’t fill the shoes that Infamous 2 established before it. Overall, Infamous Second Son is still the same game you’ve enjoyed in the last generation. It’s still fun to explore the city and fight dastardly villains, but its lack of variety in karma and side activities leave players wanting more in their experience. Its presentation is excellent, its gameplay is fun and unique, and its story is engaging. Infamous Second Son is a game that shouldn’t be left out in any PS4 owner’s library.
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