FOUR months on from the Playstation 4’s release, inFamous Second Son offers the most arresting demonstration yet of the raw power underpinning Sony’s latest console.
Game Review: inFamous Second Son - Playstation 4
Score: 8.3 / 10
Unencumbered by the need for cross-platform development, it is a resounding technical achievement and sets a new standard for environmental details on the machine while incorporating some enterprising ideas. Its claims to greatness, however, are hampered by a overall design that is not quite as progressive as it seems.
With the player taking charge of protagonist of Delsin Rowe - a ordinary man thrown into extraordinary circumstances after acquiring superhuman powers - developers Sucker Punch have created one of the most enjoyable open world games outside of the Grand Theft Auto series, in spite of the fact that the missions and various activities are not the title’s strong points.
The story, which tasks Delsin with bringing down the Orwellian state apparatus of the Department of Unified Protection can be raced through fairly quickly compared to other examples of the genre, with the main quests following a tried and tested set of tropes and a somewhat dated moral duality.
The real fun lies in gambolling around the streetscapes of a futuristic Seattle. Even without the momentum of a truly A-grade narrative, the core mechanics marry the best aspects of Crackdown and Assassin’s Creed - scurrying from building to building has seldom been such a pleasure. Some players have criticised Delsin’s movements - he glides rather than jumps - but this lends the action a rhythmic flow.
Allied to a customisable gamut of esoteric powers - the highlight of which is harnessing the force of neon from shop signs - the character has a dexterity and agility that ensures travelling on foot is never dull. Shapeshifting to squeeze into a ventilation system before spurting out of a rooftop grate in bodily form is just as riveting the hundredth time as it was the first.
Visually, the decision to jettison the more cartoon style graphics of the previous games is well-judged, with the lighting system in particular a thing of beauty. Sucker Punch also deserve praise for their innovative use of the DualShock 4, with the controller’s lightbar gradually taking on a reddish hue if your journey through Seattle is a malevolent one or tones of cool blue if you traipse a decent, law-abiding path.
Given such examples of resourcefulness, it is unfortunate that the open world itself is not so forward-thinking. Beautiful the city may be, but there is a scarcity of involving tasks and side missions and after a while, the player is compelled to plough through the linear story missions. It is a frustrating realisation given that the foundations of the game are solid.
As the biggest exclusive yet for the Playstation 4, inFamous Second Son will impress all who play it. It is just a shame that for all the graphical and gameplay accomplishments Sucker Punch have achieved, the game feels constrained not by technical issues, but by imagination - it seems next-gen consoles will have to wait a while longer for a title which truly pushes their boundaries.