Monday, 12 May 2014

inFAMOUS: Second Son - Review (PS4)

As regular visitors will know I was lucky enough to get a PS4 for my 40th Birthday last month. The timing couldn't of been better as the following week INFAMOUS SECOND SON arrived on PS4. Now if you look back at this site you can see one definite trend and that's I am a sucker for a superhero game and in recent years have been spoiled for choice. With games like Lego Marvel, Lego Batman, Spider-Man and the amazing Batman: Arkham series has given me some of my fondest gaming moments of recent times.

Outside of the recognised superheroes, there is INFAMOUS, released on PlayStation 3 in 2009. It was a showcase for the PS3 at the time and allowed you to mould your hero through moral choices, without having to be tied down to the restrictions of years of storylines. Rather than rambling on about it, why not look at what I thought about infamous here! Infamous 2 followed and improved the visuals to a huge extent and allowed us to see the completion of Cole Mcgrath's tale.

Infamous Second Son is full of new beginnings. A new console generation, a new setting based in reality and a new protagonist in Delsin Rowe. Second Son follows the good ending from inFAMOUS 2, in which **SPOILER ALERT** Cole sacrificed himself and thousands of Conduits by activating the Ray Field inhibitor, but saving millions of humans from the beast and also curing the plague that was threatening mankind. Not bad for a days work! **SPOILER ENDS**

Set seven years after this event. A world where conduits still exist with more waking all the time. Eager not to have a repeat of the Empire City and New Martin incidents. The government has tasked the DUP with the task of tracking down and detaining conduits due to their threat to the greater populace.

Enter Delsin Rowe, graffiti artist and thorn in his brother, Reggie's side. Delsin and Regime's lives are changed forever when an accident triggers Delsin's dormant conduit powers. After a narrow escape from the DUP and their leader,  Brooke Augustine. The brothers head off to Seattle to save their injured townsfolk after the DUP attack.

Pretty puddles is so Next Gen

Delsin's particular power is actually the ability to absorb the powers of other conduits just by touch,  starting with the smoke powers he inherited during the accident that awoke his powers. As with the previous games these powers can be expanded by absorbing the energy from blast cores,  unlocking new abilities. These abilities can be upgraded by collecting blast shards from tracker drones. As the game progresses you unlock completely new powers with their own unique abilities. With each power comes a new traversal ability from the smoke dash to neon sprint. These have been cleverly balanced so that as the city opens up,  you never feel that getting around it is irksome.

Sucker Punch have not tried to reinvent the wheel as far as game play is concerned. Second Son sticks to the same template that its PS3 predecessors used. As a fan of the series, this is good news for me, but I know there are some who wanted more from this Next Gen entry. Where the next generation does shine through is in visuals. Second son is a beauty to behold. Running at 1080p (Sorry, Xboxers couldn't resist) and running at a unlocked frame rate above 30fps, the engine never seems to chug or stutter, even under pressure. The immediate thing that I noticed was reflections and how every bit of light is captured in puddles and the beautiful rain effects. Second Son is the game that shows off your PS4 and hold make you happy to be on the next gen train early on.

Gameplay wise it's still inFAMOUS, so fans of the series should feel right at home. Combat is a mix of shooting and melee, although it is heavily slanted towards the shooting. Each new power you gain gives you the standard shot and a powered shot that differs for each power. Smoke power gives a spread shot which can smash through objects. Neon power slows down time and allows to focus on individual areas of enemies. This ability is brilliant as it is tied into the morality system of the game. Target the head for evil karma, target the legs for good karma.

Karma still plays a large part of the game with the streets of Seattle full of opportunities to show your true nature. Whether that be healing an injured citizen (good), executing a DUP solider (bad) or beating up a street performer (mmm... Bad?). These actions add to your Karma level and unlock upgrades on your skill tree. Also performing certain actions raises your Karma bomb meter. Fill it completely and can unleash the full fury of your powers. These special attacks really show off the game engine as particles, destruction and lighting go into overdrive . The resulting devastation always leaves you with a smile on your face.

inFAMOUS Second SON is a amazing game and if you don't already own it, you need to give it a try. It moves the series on and improves on so many aspects. It is a game that is focused on power, not only the powers that are in the game, but also showing you the power of this new next gen console. Cannot wait for the sequel to this one.

Also, having a cover of Nirvana's Heart-shaped Box as the end credits song... bravo, Sucker Punch, bravo!

Since the release of Second SON and since I started writing this review, Sucker Punch have patched the game and added one of the coolest features to an already amazing game. Photo Mode is now available in game. Whilst playing the game a quick click of the left stick pauses the game in action and allows you to control the camera position, the colouring, lens focus and hide the hud and save your work to create stunning screen grabs from right inside the game. The work that people have created already is incredible and even I have tried my hand at it with some success. Combine this with the option to change the world to different times of day (upon completion of the story) and you have the tools to create and share your experience of the game.


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