Back when the original Infamous was released I didn't really think much of it. The game looked like it could prove entertaining but justification for the $60 just wasn't there. Living as a college student on a limited budget made me evaluate and prioritize all of my video game investments. Something had to really impress to merit a purchase. Thanks to a summer job though, I managed to get some extra cash and decided Infamous was worth a shot. Turns out, that was exactly the case.
The original Infamous will hold a place on my shelf as one of my favorite Playstation 3 games. Infamous set the bar for open world immersion. The game did an excellent job of making the player feel like they were actually making Empire City a better place to live (or worse if you chose to be evil). This goes without saying that Infamous 2 had to meet that bar and excel in order to be successful. While my time with Infamous 2 wasn't as memorable as the original Infamous, it was an enjoyable experience none the less.
Infamous Second Son had some major shoes to fill. Not only to improve and push the Infamous series ahead of the competition, but also to be the first major title to be a next generation exclusive. Talk about big shoes to fill. While I cannot give a complete analysis of the game yet, I will say that Infamous Second Son was definitely a great experience and I am definitely excited to start a second play through.
For starters, the game is incredible to look at. The particle effects are absolutely gorgeous. Watching Delsin absorb energy for his powers proves to be a stunning display. Delsin also looks particularly great himself. The majority of his facial expressions and emotions really stand out and only on occasion will his expressions prove somewhat akward. This truly is a next generation game when it comes to the graphics. Other main characters follow the same suit as Delsin, usually the expressions are spot on and detailed. There wasn't much to complain about graphics-wise. Fans of the series will notice a slight shift from the comic book feel of the previous games. Seattle is an impressive site to look at as well. A majority of the city has been overtaken by a certain conduits powers, so don’t expect it to look exactly like the real Seattle. I have been told (considering I have never been to Seattle) that Sucker Punch did a great job of capturing Seattle in the game. I won’t touch on this since I haven’t actually been there to compare.
Infamous Second Son plays very similar to its predecessors. There are a few uses of the motion controls and the touchscreen plays a consistent role in the game-play. Each new power follows a similar pattern. One light attack, one strong attack, a way to maneuver buildings, aerial maneuvering, some kind of crowd disruptive technique (example: grenades), and a devastating karma string attack. While this sounds like they are redundant, each power approaches these in a different way which proves to make them more unique once you become experienced with them. Switching powers mid-fight proves useful, as it helps to deal with different enemies encountered. The game proves a decent challenge when played on expert mode (which is what I did) as enemies take a decent amount of hits to go down, while Delsin is rather fragile. This leads to some interesting combat strategies, mainly revolving around how the fight is approached and how many foes are encountered. For example, a ground battle proves easier to manage if fighting from a roof, using the buildings as cover. There are upgrades that reduce damage taken but they come so late in the game that by the time they are acquired, there is little need for them. The game limits the enemies to basically conduits; all of whom have the same power type, and drug dealer / mobsters. The conduits do vary, but it would have been nice to have more of them to add another layer of depth to the fights. The boss fights vary from human sized enemies, to being immensely huge in stature. There are a couple of battles that the power you fight the boss with is chosen for you. Not a big deal, but something that takes a bit of the freedom away. Overall, the combat system is an enjoyable one, never a dull moment when it comes to fighting. However, some fights can prove frustrating as they may take multiple attempts to beat.
The Infamous series is known for how the player can interact and affect what happens within the world. The first two games the impact could be felt directly as Cole went towards being a Hero or Infamous. The streets would look cleaner, posters of Cole would appear all over the city, citizens would shout Cole's name and praise him as he went by. These things happened gradually throughout the main story. The player could always feel the difference they were making within the world and it felt good. Infamous Second Son doesn't have the same feel as the original nor its predecessor. To be 100% fair and without spoiling the story (I hope), Infamous Second Son doesn't follow the same basic pattern. To touch on this a bit, the city of Seattle isn't in ruins. The city has been taken over by a government agency that seems to have a grudge against conduits. So in fairness, it shouldn't have exactly the same feel; however, it would have been nice to have side missions that maybe could have played a bigger role in this. Speaking of side missions, there are quite a few. That being said, they are pretty repetitive and follow almost the exact same pattern from district to district. At the time I was playing through the game, this didn't really bother me. However, after beating the game with a 100% completion percentage, I can’t help but feel that the world seemed a bit lifeless. The side missions offer no personality to the city of Seattle and the story missions followed a very structured path. By the time I had finished the game, I didn't feel like I was in a location that mattered. Any city could have been placed here and I wouldn't have known the difference except for the name and the iconic buildings. It would have done the city better justice to involve some side missions regarding more of Seattle’s iconic places. There is one mission involving the Space Needle early in the game, but after that, nothing much. Like I said, this didn't bother me until after I completed the game. I really enjoyed the time I have spent in Infamous Second Son and look forward to completing the game as an evil protagonist. Then, I finish off the review with a short summary of my final thoughts.
Anyone who has played Infamous Second Son AND lives in or has visited Seattle that thinks I may be inaccurate about some of the comments I have place, feel free to comment below and let me know. I would greatly appreciate it!