Originally set for the PS4’s launch, InFamous: Second Son was pushed back to a March 21st release so developer Sucker Punch could spend more time with it. That was time well spent.
InFamous: Second Son takes place seven years after the events of InFamous 2, which (SPOILERS!!) ended with the death of prior series protagonist Cole McGrath. As a result, you now play as Delsin Rowe, a Native American troublemaker who gets in over his head when a police vehicle containing some of the last remaining Conduits (people with super powers) crashes nearby, activating Delsin’s own Conduit abilities; he can basically absorb, and then use, the powers of other Conduits. Think Rogue of the X-Men, except on a more permanent basis that also doesn’t hurt the other party.
Delsin’s a much more likable character than Cole was, as he’s more likely to make jokes and snarky comments about the situations he finds himself in as he fights his way through hostile government-sponsored anti-Conduit troops. It’s a stark contrast to the world you find yourself in: the game takes place in a recreation of Seattle, but the world’s much darker and more untrusting than in the prior InFamous games, as fear and hatred of those with super powers has grown via propaganda.
Graphically, this is one of the best-looking games on the PS4. InFamous: Second Son was built with the PS4 in mind, and you can tell, as everywhere you go you’ll find something new to take your breath away, from Delsin’s “neon” powers to the sunset near the small town Delsin’s from.
From a gameplay standpoint, it’s not too different from prior entries in the series as far as combat is concerned. The cover system is gone, though, so you’ll likely die a few times while adjusting to the fact that you’re a superpowered being who’s still not invulnerable. Climbing the sides of buildings isn’t too much of a chore now since your powers (you obtain a total of four during the campaign) make it a breeze to shoot up to the rooftops with ease. I don’t miss Cole’s electric powers at all, as the four powers to replace it are each a blast to use. Take “neon,” which features a super speed mode that convinces me a game based on DC Comics superhero The Flash could easily work.
Both fortunately and unfortunately, the Karma system returns, and is just as black-and-white as ever. It’s a positive in that the choices you’re faced with are simple yet compelling enough to make you think, but on the same hand if you want the best power-ups it’s impossible to do anything other than full on good guy or full on murderous bastard. InFamous: Second Son also gets bonus points for making a Superman reference early on.
Side missions are similar to InFamous 2, but some don’t work as well. The graffiti missions have you use the PS4’s controller as a spray can (using the PS Move tech within) to mixed results, and the “Secret Agent” missions that have you trying to track down an NPC based only on a photograph don’t work nearly as well as they did in InFamous 2… unfortunately most of the citizens of Seattle all look the same. Also, the touchpad on the controller gets used for several functions like opening doors and disabling enemy equipment, and feels hit-or-miss at times.
Overall though, Sony’s got a surefire hit on their hands. InFamous: Second Son is so good, you’ll notice the flaws, but end up not caring.