Infamous: Second Son Review: Sleepless in Seattle - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Infamous: Second Son Review: Sleepless in Seattle

Good and evil shouldn't be clear. To be conflicted, and still make a choice, that's hard. And also very human. One of the most compelling villains in superhero lore is Magneto. What has always made him so interesting is the dichotomy that turns within him...he's a man capable of both great evil and great good. Infamous: Second Son tries to tap into that struggle, and though it doesn't capture the complexities between heroic and villainous, it still manages to create one solid superhero yarn.

                Second Son is the origins story of superhero or villain in the making Delsin Rowe. Delsin is a brash dude who has an instinct for trouble. He finds it sure when a bus carrying a handful of "conduits" crashes into his hometown. Conduits are power-carriers that polite society turns its nose on and the government hunts down. It doesn't take long for Delsin to absorb his own powers, and for events to transpire that lead him and his brother Reggie to the expansive and beautiful city of Seattle and the Department of Unified Protection that occupy it.

                The most awing part of Second Son is the setting it takes place in. Seattle is a playground full of life and color, breathing in accurate detail and showcasing the power that the PS4 is capable of. Each region of Washington's largest city are present. From Queen Anne to Belltown, it's all there. These real-life areas work as zones Delsin must surmount and rid of DUP forces in order to progress further in the game.  The neighborhoods have a number of side missions to complete before you can take down the final wave of DUP officers in that area, a battle that will trigger at a particular location after you complete 70% of the zone.

                The side missions themselves are fun the first few times you tackle them before becoming trite. I could have used a little variation from neighborhood to neighborhood, or would have liked to be given different ways to approach each goal. Instead, I would go to the Lantern District, take care of the undercover agent and destroy a hidden camera as well as finish off a few DUP. Then move on to do the same things in Uptown. The exception, however, is the graffiti art that's included in the mission tasks. Delsin must go to locations indicated on the map and leave his mark via beautiful works of graffiti. These pieces are each unique, and I loved seeing what Delsin would tattoo onto the city next. Despite all the repetitiveness, it was still fun to clear out the zones, and explore the districts. It's not a hard game to 100%, and if you're looking for an open-world that isn't too overwhelming, Second Son is very sizeable.

                By placing a superhero fiction within a factual place, Second Son felt grounded, but by no means did having an actualized city strap down the gameplay. Gaining new powers is a great allure to any superhero fan, and Second Son doesn't disappoint with its interesting and unique arsenal. Imagining new super powers that fans of the genre haven't seen over-and-over again is no easy task. Sucker Punch dug deep and came up big. Smoke, Neon and Video are the powers Delsin gradually receives. Each one is absorbed through natural means in the environment. Smoke is found through building vents and exploded cars while neon is extracted from advertisement signs. To absorb the powers, you must use the touchpad on the PS4 controller. The mechanic is great. It felt organic within the control scheme, never coming off as gimmicky. It's exciting to see more depth added to a controller that I've become so accustomed to. I also thought the speaker was used to great effect with phone calls to Delsin ringing clear in my hands.

                The game does borrow greatly from the Batman Arkham series with Delsin swooping down on enemies hunting him from the Seattle rooftops before escaping back up the city landscape. Second Son works like a third-person shooter as Delsin shoots his powers through his hands, but his powers also come with a whole wheelhouse of capabilities. Delsin's abilities allow him to zip through the city at a wonderfully reckless speed, leaving  almost no need for the fast travel that opens up later. In addition, every new power he gains comes with a limit break-esque strike. But there's a catch. You need to do ALL good or ALL evil deeds to be able to use it. Let's say you're trying to stay on the good-guy side of the spectrum, and you are currently using Delsin's neon skills. With the neon shot, it's much easier to land one headshot, then takeout both of the DUP officer's feet. And if you do use a headshot, even accidently, then that limit breaker you've been trying to charge with your good deeds will go back down to zero.

                This is one of the biggest disappointments of Second Son; it's lousy good-versus-evil morality system. I would love to see this game use a morality scale that comes in shades of grey. Where answers to questions don't only rely on yes or no responses. Second Son rewards the gamer for solely siding with good or evil through powerful abilities. It's a reward that comes off shallow. The Infamous series would benefit from The Last of Us. In particular, one of the last scenes with the doctors. In that situation, choice carried weight, while everything I decided in Second Son felt inconsequential.

                Second Son is a great PS4 exclusive that truly feels next-gen. Its stunning graphics and style outweigh the trite missions and too-even, good-or-evil system. Those latter features only feel like a hiccup to an overall engaging experience. If you're a PS4 converter, Second Son is a game to look forward to.

 

 

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