Year one of a console generation is essentially a write off and I hope that this generation is the last one with this kind of ramp up. Sucker Punch’s inFamous was an eye opening title for me and the sequel expanded many of their original ideas. InFamous: Second Son felt like a reboot for the franchise. There were core elements that were brought over from the PlayStation 3 games, however most of the ancillary niceties were no where to be found.
I was very impressed after my first play session. Sucker Punch’s rendition of Seattle was convincingly beautiful and it ran extremely well for that level of visual fidelity. I was wooed by the new fangled bells and whistles that a new generation of hardware enabled. I welcome pretty graphics but that alone can only take me so far.
It didn’t take long before I saw beyond the visuals and into the checklist of randomly placed guard towers and side quests. I felt like I was playing an Ubisoft open world game and it saddened me. Second Son’s predecessors had more interesting locales and placed their objectives with more purpose. I still remember the Dust Men and the giant prison which they inhabited. The Seattle Space Needle wasn’t nearly as stimulating from a gameplay standpoint and I doubt I will remember any of this game’s antagonists.
I liked Delsin and his brother. Their relationship was stereotypical but their voice and motion capture performances were amongst the best I’ve seen in video games and it warmed my heart. I just wish other characters were as convincing. I didn’t care for anyone else because I didn’t feel they were given enough love or attention. They seemed disposable after a brief encounter. And could Sucker Punch design anything more trite than the basement dwelling “gamer” and ex-junkie? C’mon. What happened to the awesome superhero origin stories of the original game?
I really enjoyed the narrative of the previous games and I was hoping to see those story threads continue in more spectacular ways. inFamous: Second Son acknowledged the past and nothing more. Deslin’s story was more personal and although he succeeded in dismantling the “evil” force in the end, the consequences of his actions were glossed over. I was hoping there was an end credits hook for the next game but nadda.
The D.U.P were an interesting force to reckon with for about a half hour. After that, I was looking for new and crazier opponents but they never showed up. I was hoping to encounter Neon wielding factions or a gang of hackers who terrorized people with digitally inspired powers. Instead, I fought teenagers and more generic soldiers.
The highlight of the game was traversing the city with Delsin’s powers. Sure they didn’t integrate into the fabric of the world as well as Cole’s electricity powers but I enjoyed using them so much, I didn’t care. I was especially enamoured of the neon and smoke powers. The “video” power “jumped the shark”.
I let the previous two inFamous titles entertain me whereas with inFamous: Second Son, I had to seek out ways to entertain myself because I found myself losing interest quickly with what was offered. The side missions were not varied enough. The city, while visually stunning, became a bore to explore and experience. (They really need to amp up the audio ambience.) And I just didn’t care for the majority of the characters nor the story they were telling. So what was left? I had fun free roaming from rooftop to rooftop and pretending the ground was lava. I discovered how graffiti artists used cardboard stencils. And the Trophies were easy to obtain. If those aren’t compelling, I’d look past this one.
For more information on inFamous: Second Son, visit the official website.