Why inFAMOUS: Second Son Falls Short – Game Review

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WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD

Certain things that I covered in my First Impressions article will not be repeated here so I strongly suggest you read that first before you read this Full Review.

infamous-second-son-ps4-wallpaper-1080pEver since it’s announcement at Sony’s Playstation 4 Press Conference back on February 20th, 2013 many gamers have had “inFAMOUS: Second Son“on their radars. Rightfully so the game shows just how powerful the Playstation 4 really is. Next to the stunning visuals, strong gameplay mechanics, open world environment, and characters that you become so invested in due to their strong characterization “inFAMOUS: Second Son” is a very strong all around game. Although it lacks some key elements which bring down it’s overall value.

inFAMOUS: Second Son” takes place in Seattle, Washington. In itself, the city doesn’t have much variation. It is split into two sections, with each section having multiple districts you can clear the D.U.P (Department of Unified Protection,, you’ll learn more about them later) out of . The city is comprised of mostly buildings which makes getting around the map fairly easy and quick as you can hop on top of the roof of a tall building and then dash your way across to the next rooftop without anything, except the D.U.P, really getting in your way.

The basic premise of “inFAMOUS: Second Son” is you start off as a normal human being by the ams of Delsin Rowe. He likes to cause mischief, but is overall a good kid. Delsin soon comes into contact with a “bio-terrorist” or “conduit”, which is pretty much a human with superpowers. When Delsin grabs a hold of this conduit’s hand, he absorbs his power. Now being a “New Born” conduit, Delsin goes out to Seattle in order to track down the director of the D.U.P, Augustine., in order to absorb her concrete like powers in order to save his tribe, the Akomish people.

The controls of this game are fairly simple. There are four different power sets you can switch too throughout the game. You start off with smoke, then later on you unlock neon, video, and finally cement. You unlock cement during your battle with Augustine, so the only times you get to use it are during your fight with Augustine and for any side quests you didn’t do. In order to switch powers, you must absorb the corresponding power source. For instance, you absorb smoke from a car to gain your smoke powers, neon light from a sign to gain your neon powers, the electrical current from a satellite to gain your video powers, and the cement from one of the D.U.P to gain your cement powers. Each set has it’s own 5 unique abilities. All 5 abilities have something in common to the 5 other abilities on the other 3 sets, therefore they are all bound to the same button. For instance, the smoke power allows you to shoot fireballs out of your hand by pressing the R2 button on the controller, the neon power allows you to shoot neon balls at your opponent by pressing the R2 button. You can increase these powers by collecting blast shard that are scattered around Seattle.

Now that all the introductory stuff is behind us I can start talking about the core game mechanics that makes a game memorable or not. Contradictory to what I said last time, after finishing the game I had some real issues with the story. It’s way too linear. It falls into the trap that most open world games do, go do this for me, follow this person, kill this guy, meet me here, and then some unappealing boss battles. Although, I will say there was one boss battle that I real enjoyed out of the 3 total boss battles in the game. I will get more into why I disliked the story late, but for now lets talk about what makes this game special.

The game has some really strong foundation to it. This drags players into the game and makes it feel like your really in the game. That aspect of a game really makes a game memorable and worth playing multiple times in my opinion. The three elements that need to be strong in order to accomplish that is the outstanding visuals, a strong story, and memorable characters. “inFAMOUS: Second Son” has two of the three criteria, in my mind, to be a memorable game. Like I said previously, it lacks a strong story. This game has outstanding visuals and extremely memorable characters though. The visuals are top notch and show just what the PS4 is capable of. You often forget you are playing a game and you get more of the feeling that you are controlling a real person in a real environment. Moving on to the characters, Sucker Punch, the game developer, did an amazing job with how they developed the characters. The characterization was spot on. By that I mean they built the characters from the ground up, with problems and characteristics relatable to the player. Making the player have a connection to the characters, building a stronger bond to the characters and the game overall. Unfortunately, Sucker Punch really screwed up by not interjecting some of the side characters more. The initial meeting with all the characters was strong, but Sucker Punch didn’t build strong character – to – character bonds. Abigail “Fetch” Walker, one of the four conduits Delsin meets and takes their powers, is a character I really wanted to see more. You immediately notice a bond between her and Delsin, but after you finish the short 2-3 missions in which she actually has any relevance, she disappears until the end of the game. That’s the same with Eugene, another conduit Delsin meets and takes their powers. Sucker Punch could’ve made a strong connection with these characters, but ultimately they just served as short “highs” in the story. There was one point in the game where you feel a strong sense of emotions between two characters though. Throughout the entire game Delsin builds a strong bond with his brother Reggie. These two are the only two reoccurring characters that play a significant part in the story. Well, near the very end of the game, Reggie dies right in front of Delsin. Augustine was the cause of this death and as soon as it happened you could see the anger in Delsins’ eyes. This part made me tear up and at the same time fueled my hate for Augustine even more. Sharing the same emotions as the characters in game is a very important thing which makes the game extremely memorable. This is something few game can do as well, so I commend Sucker Punch on their strong character building, even though there character interactions were disappointing.

4014_infamous_second_son_delsin-dup-attackThere were a few things in this game I was not sure about and/or did not like. One thing I was confused about was Delsin. During a lot of the cut scenes you get the feeling that Delsin is not bad guy. Which is why I felt weird playing as “Evil” Delsin. I mean the entire story is built off the fact that he wants to save his tribe that was hurt by Augustine. If that’s not a heroic action I don’t know what is. I just never got the feeling Delsin was truly evil. Another thing I had a problem with was the parkour. Parkour was a huge part in the first two games. In the first two games when Cole, the main protagonist in the first two “inFAMOUS” games, jumped to grab a wall it felt like he was sticking to the wall. I don’t know what it is about when Delsin grabs a wall it feels like he’s grabbing nothing. It’s a weird phenomenom to think about. You may be asking yourself how can you feel if a character is truly grabbing something and I couldn’t explain it to you. I can only tell you that if you’ve played all three “inFAMOUS” games you’ll know what I’m talking about. Luckily parkour does not have as huge of a role in “inFAMOUS: Second Son” as it did in the first two games. Another minor issue I had was how when you’re doing the secret agent mission for each district, they use the same 3 or 4 pictures for the secret agent. It makes no sense to me why they would do that when each time you kill the secret agent and unless there are multiples of each agent then it jut shows that this game isn’t perfect. Which gets me to my biggest problem with this game, the story. At first I was going to explain the entire story, but instead I figured I’d leave it up to the reader to find out what I’m talking about on their own.

The story is extremely repetitive. Even the side quests are. Every district has the same exact things to do. Spray paint a few walls, find x amount of blast shards, find a hidden audio log, find a secret agent and kill them, destroy the D.U.P command center in that district, find the hidden camera, and do the district showdown. After doing that 3 or so times it just gets boring. Especially if you’re playing on expert. On expert difficulty you almost have to clear the districts ahead of time because otherwise you may find yourself having to catch someone and at the same time you’re getting assaulted by AI that are apart of the mission and you’re also getting assaulted by AI that are part of the region you’re in making the mission almost impossible at some points. This makes side missions, well actual missions which are a pain and take a good 45 minutes per district and there are 13 total districts. That takes up almost 10 hours worth of your time, on top of the 6-7 hours it takes to finish the main quest. Even though it’s good the game isn’t short, it’s extremely annoying to have to take 4 hours to clear a set of districts just to be able to more easily complete a main mission. Moving on to the main story, it is extremely predictable. It plays out like every other open world game. It fails to innovate on what other successful open world games and instead stays to a very formulaic like story. This really gets me mad because of the fact that everything is near perfect in this game.

inFAMOUS: Second Son” unfortunately falls short of perfect. The story hinders it to the point where in order to replay it you should wait long enough until you’ve forgotten the story. I am suffering through my second playthrough, this time I’m playing as “good” Delsin, because of how bored I am getting. The only reason I am doing this is for the platinum trophy. Although this game isn’t anywhere near being a bad game, it’s just disappointing to see the potential this game had. Although I do not retract any of the statements I said in my first impressions article. I feel like the majority will fell exactly the same as I did through the first 6 hours and then come back and read the full review when the finish the game and feel exactly the same way.

Before I finish this review I wanted to do something different and compare it to a certain game. That game is”Titanfall” . “Titanfall” is the Xbox One’s new first person shooter that Microsoft hopes will be able to push system sales even further. That is the same for “inFAMOUS: Second Son“. Both are incredibly similar despite the fact that they are on different ends of the game spectrum.  “Titanfall” is a first person shooter with no single player campaign while “inFAMOUS: Second Son” is a single player open world game with no multiplayer. I know these games have no reason to be compared, but I just wanted to say that both have had exceptional hype and they both ultimately fall to do what they were supposed to, sell consoles. Although I believe “Titanfall” is the better game because it is more enjoyable, it too gets stale at times because there is little variation once you’ve played a few online matches.

inFAMOUS: Second Son” is a good game. If you enjoyed the first two or you own a PS4 I strongly recommend you buy this game. It is definitely worth the 60$ price tag. However if you were thinking of buying a PS4 just to play this game I would hold off. Although I would definitely buy a PS4 if you had the chance because there are other game that will be coming out that wil be PS4 exclusives. Ultimately I did not get the feeling I did when playing “The Last Of Us“, a PS3 exclusive. I am comparing these two games because I went out and bought a PS3 and sold my Xbox 360 to play “The Last Of Us” after reading reviews about how good the game was. I was hoping I would be able to get the same feeling with “inFAMOUS: Second Son” but it fell short of my expectations. I would score “inFAMOUS: Second Son” a 7/10, memorable yet forgettable at the same time. Until next time Uzer’s – Mike