by Alessandro di Fraio
In recent years I have seen a massive growth in the superheroes market. At least half of the movies or games now have some kind of connection with Marvel or DC. The world of superheroes has been explored and refined and there is not much to add at this point. From Lego to Telltale, everyone is jumping onto the train. A train that, I will be honest, I am not too keen of taking but I decided that, maybe, for once, I could try.
InFAMOUS Second Son is the third instalment of the inFAMOUS franchise. Developed by Sucker Punch, known mainly for the Sly Cooper series, this action-adventure game tells the story of Delsin Rowe, a 24 years old vandal, with the gift of absorbing powers from other conduits, people with the ability to bend unique elements to their will. The story is set seven years after the event of inFAMOUS 2, which led the army to the creation of a special force called D.U.P. (Department of Unified Protection) in order to control the last conduits remaining. Delsin, after absorbing smoke powers by accident finds himself tracked by the leader of the D.U.P., Brooke Augustine, a conduit with the power to control concrete, power that she uses to torture the Akomish tribe, the native American community which Delsin and his brother, Reggie, are part of, in order to obtain information about our main protagonist. The only way to remove the concrete, doctors say, is the same way it went in. Delsin and Reggie set out to Seattle, where the D.U.P.’s headquarters are located, in order to absorb Augustine’s powers and save the tribe.
The plot is very well told if not a bit rushed. Apart for Delsin, we don’t get to know any of the other characters that well so whatever happens to them doesn’t feel important or significant. Delsin, on the other hand, is a lovable protagonist and his charisma and charm make the story much more enjoyable. The jokes are not particularly clever but they are very well delivered, this could be said for all dialogues, in fact. None of them shines for brightness but they are amazingly delivered.
Like in every inFAMOUS game the plot changes based on the player’s choice. This means that every now and then you get the chance to choose between good and evil, quite literally. The karma system in this game is based on two opposites, “Infamous” and “True Hero”. This karmic system has a fundamental problem: it is not interesting from a story standpoint. Delsin quickly becomes too good to be true or too bad to be real in a matter of seconds. There is nothing in between, no struggle. On the other hand it really helps diversifying the gameplay. Playing as the bad guy incentives the player to get closer to the enemy and deal massive damage in large areas while good Delsin gets rewarded for being fast, precise and take out enemies one by one. This change of pace is extremely healthy for the game, especially when one of its major problems is how repetitive it is.
inFAMOUS Second Son follows the same scheme as Assassin’s Creed, the old and so popular “climb the tower, do the same quests over and over”. It is a terrible and boring mechanic and it is also a lazy way to artificially lengthen the game by shamelessly reusing content. Luckily the powers that Delsin obtains are incredibly fun if not, again, a bit recycled. Although they have unique and different abilities they all follow the same scheme. Every set of powers has a grenade type ability, a mobility based one, a rocket, a jump related one and so on. All these abilities do different things but all in the same way so even if they feel different they are all basically the same.
The game is not particularly long, especially for those who are not interested in the one-hundred percent completion but this is honestly not a bad thing considering the repetitive nature of the title. Second Son is, as a whole, a nice experience and it is probably the best entry in the franchise so far. With a bit more effort from the developer I can see some potential. There is a good game under the lazy and lifeless map, the schematic game mechanics and reused content but as it is now inFAMOUS Second Son is a mediocre, yet casually enjoyable and visually impressive, ps4 exclusive.
Second Son was tested on a ps4 Pro with a Pal copy of the game.
Video courtesy of: PlayStation