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PS4's Best Tech Demo

            The inFamous series has always focused and excelled doing two things: moral choices impacting a great story and awesome powers. Unfortunately, Second Son sacrifices the former in order to focus on the latter. Feeling rushed to make it into the PS4’s launch window resulting in cutting some corners, Sucker Punch’s latest installment is fairly barebones. While the gameplay is by far the most innovative and entertaining out of the whole series, the story and side content is extremely minimal and mostly forgettable, resulting in a game only worthy of a rent..


            Second Son is obviously a game to showcase the PS4’s hardware with its beautiful lighting and jaw dropping particle effects for the player’s powers. There were rarely any texture pop-ins, which is impressive given how fast navigation is around the city this time around. Load times are also altogether absent, aside from an initial load time. Even with fast travel, the screen just fades away for two seconds and the location is all set. Everything is extremely polished when it comes to presentation, making for a great game to show off what the PS4 can do.

            Even more so impressive than the presentation is the gameplay. Taking the multiple powers idea inFamous 2 brought up and running with it, Second Son has four powers to swap between, with each of them being extremely well balanced and very fun to play. Forcing the player to look around to find power sources such as neon and smoke instead of electricity in previous titles adds a whole new level of gameplay. However, as much fun as the powers are, there are just not enough activities to do with them. There are literally no side missions aside from Sucker Punch’s odd online Paper Trail missions, only repetitive side activities to take control over various areas of the city. A 100% game could be accomplished in around 7-9 hours due to the lack of content. With these four varied powers, Sucker Punch could have sucked out around 20 hours of gameplay without the player being bored. Playing through the game again on the opposite moral side is a valid option, but the only reason for doing so would be to experience different augmentations on powers. Unlike inFamous 1 and 2, Delsin always has the same powers regardless of morality, only unlocking different augmentations. Different moralities barely effect the story either and the moral choices are incredibly shallow. These simple choices were passable back at the start of last generation, but the gaming industry has come a long way in terms of player choice since the first inFamous.

            Replaying the game with a different morality would not even take very long due to the five hour story. There is nothing wrong with having a short story as long as it is short but sweet, but that is not the angle Second Son tries to take. The story is set up to be fleshed out to be much longer than it is, like the development time was drastically cut. There are many interesting characters introduced, but some of these you only do one mission with and then it is goodbye until the end of the game. Imagine if Nix from infamous 2 was only around for half an hour. That happens to two characters in the game, which are arguably the most interesting characters in the plot. In terms of plot the story is enjoyable, but nothing close to what the previous two games had. Sucker Punch attempts to look at Cole’s world from another point of view with Delsin, a jokester, who does not have the fate of the world resting on his shoulders. They succeed in making a more light hearted game that still maintains the tone of the previous two, even with a completely different cast of characters.

            Second Son feels like a game built around an extremely good tech demo. While its limited amount of content, passable story, and bad moral choices may make the game seem unworthy of a playthrough, the polished gameplay by itself is deserving of anyone's time. Second Son may not be a system seller, but it sure is a great game to show off what fun gameplay and graphics there are to look forward to in this generation.

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