For years Sucker Punch games were known for the Sly Cooper Series. But after the release of Infamous, they gained a strong foothold in the triple-A video game market. Infamous gained enough praise that they released a sequel, Infamous 2, and an accompanying DLC for the ps3. The third installment in the series, Infamous Second Son, was for the PS4 and came out shortly after the release of the console.
The Infamous series is about a character that has abilities. The first two games are about Cole MacGrath, his powers involved him being able to control electricity. But we are not talking about those games today, we are talking about the third installment. Second Son puts you in the shoes of Delsin Rowe, a young rebel type character that you get introduced too by him vandalizing a billboard. He is known as a conduit but doesn’t know that until later in the game. His powers consist of smoke, neon, video, and concrete. Pretty cool right? Now that you have the basics, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of this installment of the series.
‘ll be honest, the story is very stereotypical of a hero story and doesn’t really offer that much. But that isn’t too safe that it is necessarily bad. The story starts off with Delsin vandalizing a billboard and his brother, a sheriff, catching him. While driving Delsin back to their village a military truck crashes in front of them. This military truck houses conduits, conduits are individuals who possess powers. Among the prisoners is a man who possesses the power of smoke. Delsin touches this man and gains the power. Shocked and confused, Delsin chases the man to learn more about the powers he just gained. After Delsin catches up to him they are cornered by Augustine, the main antagonist, and leader of the D.U.P. forces. The D.U.P is a group tasked with hunting down the last of the conduits. Augustine has the power of concrete and encases the man while questioning Delsin. This part introduces the morality system in the game. You can either choose the good option or the bad option. Both choices will change the outcome of the story.
After all of this Delsin wakes up in his village and discovers the worst. Augustine infected the people of his village with a concrete virus that is slowly encasing everyone and killing them. This starts Delsins journey through a D.U.P controlled Seattle. Through this journey Delsin will acquire three more powers, we’ll talk about these later on. His main objective on this journey is to acquire the power of concrete from Augustine. During this, you can decide to be a hero or a villain, through decisions and gameplay elements you can decide this.
The gameplay can be divided into powers and movement.
All the powers have nice particle effects and are really satisfying to uses. Each power also has a skill tree where you can purchase new abilities for your powers as you advance through the game. The first power you get is smoke. This gives you the ability to glide, shoot smoke balls out of your hand, and shoot yourself up smoke pipes for quick access to rooftops. When going up vents you turn yourself into smoke in a beautiful effect that combines red embers and black smoke. This same effect is present with all smoke type moves.
The second power you get is neon. All powers share the same shooting with your hands, but each one also their own unique abilities. Neon lets you turn into light and run around and up buildings, this makes it easier to maneuver the city. The same particle effects are present in this power, but instead of ember its fluorescent particles of light.
The third power is video. The unique abilities give you a video sword that acts as a melee weapon, and video wings that you give you temporary flight. Instead of particle effects, the power gives off a digital effect instead.
The fourth a final power you get is concrete. This power acts as the heavy by giving you a heavy melee attack and concrete body armor. Similar to video there are no particle effects, instead we get a dust effect with concrete.
Each power set also has an accompanying super move that deals massive amounts of damage, except concrete. Smoke has a super bomb drop, Delsin fly’s up high and hits the ground like a nuke in a huge explosion of smoke and particle effects. For neon, you float and shoot neon out of your hand like a machine gun. And lastly, video has you summon digitized angels that rain down on enemies.
The powers you have are not infinite and require you to replenish them from resources found around the city. For smoke you need, well, smoke; found from smokestacks, cars, and fire. The city has an abundance of neon signs for your neon power, you can also get neon from some cars. Video is acquired through TVs and large format displays found around the city. However, you can only get concrete from fallen D.U.P officers, making it one of the hardest powers to replenish.
A returning feature from the previous Infamous games is parkour. This way of maneuvering the city is slow and time-consuming, you just grab on to each ledge on a building and hop up until you get to the top. But each power gives you a new way to get around.
As talked about before smoke gives you the ability to go through smoke pipes and glide using smoke. This makes it really easy to get to the top of buildings.
Neon gives you speed and the ability to walk up walls, pretty much the go-to power to get around the city. Video gives you temporary flight but is kind of useless. As for concrete, you get a similar move to the neon dash but you can’t run up walls.
This is where the game truly shines. As shown with the GIF above, the particle effects are unmatched in this game. From the fluorescent particles from the neon to smoke and ember effects. Second Son, in my opinion, sets the standard for particle effects in a video game.
The lighting in this game is also something to gush about. Colors are ultra-vibrant to help the neon power really standout, especially at night when everything reflects beautifully off of wet surfaces. And during the day when the sun is high in the sky and basks the landscape in an orange glow, truly breathtaking when combined with everything else. You can probably already tell I’m a sucker for some good eye candy in a game. Words simply don’t do justice to just how amazing this game looks, and how the use of color just makes your mouth water. Here are some sample images that I picked out.
Infamous Second Son is easily the best in the series by a long shot. With an excellent selection of powers and abilities to keep combat fresh and exciting. And an impressive display of lighting and particle effects, you would be surprised that this game came out only four months after the release of the PS4. The story, however, leaves you feeling bored at times, with the characters not being very interesting. Second Son will remain one of Sony’s best-looking games for years to come. My only hope is that they continue to develop these games for the next generation of Consoles.