Infamous: Second Son is still good. Yes I know this review is later than most my reviews by a lot but screw it. Infamous has always been a good series but Second Son actually used what the PS4 had and made actual improvements with it. Visually it was a very stunning game when it first came out, especially compared to the previous Infamous games which were akin to rubbing dirt in your eyes. Of course now everyone has picked up on the high end graphics craze and it doesn’t seem so special anymore. Not to say that it isn’t still one of the best visually, comparing with games like The Order: 1886. The appearance of each character is especially well crafted and can actual use emotions beyond mad or stupid. The landscape is also well designed compared to newer games and really brings a lot to the flow. I assume Seattle would be larger though because the game map felt extremely small but I suppose it would compared to say Batman and Unity. I also very much enjoyed the stunning appearance of the new powers even if I have trouble excepting neon and concrete as viable super powers. Mainly in the case of neon and TV, while fictitious they still have some resemblance to the real thing.
Plot is something I have always struggled with in Infamous games; mainly because it forces me to play twice just so I can be a hero one time and a dick the other. I can already guess five minutes in how each path will go I don’t need to pad it out. It is irritating because the story changes very little regardless of which path you choose and there is no point to switch between good and evil once you start one. If you mix it up you just end up missing the benefit of having full power for one side or the other. Just having good and evil is also kind of boring as well because it is obvious what will happen. At least similar games like Fallout and Mass Effect mix it up with some kind of grey area. Sure I’ll save everyone in the Mojave and be praised as a saint but don’t get too surprised when I use a robot army to take over. The good path was rather boring but it offered some excitement. The bad path though was dark, like super dark. I caught myself wondering more than once how I had become such an evil bastard. The problem though is that I just didn’t buy into it. Besides the cut scenes directly affected by the evil path the game stayed the same and evil Delsin just didn’t fit in with that image; it became rather confusing after a while.
Combat was just sort of meh, like a simplified Batman combat system it didn’t really wow me but I suppose it gets points for being functional. It does get more interesting though as you unlock new moves but some powers have clear advantages to others. Combos can be fluent but again it depends more on the power you are currently using than anything. Smoke, at least for me, was the most useless which I assume is why the game kept forcing it on me at the most critical times. Neon and TV are the obvious powers since you can move so much faster with either of them and in harder difficulty being able to escape up a building is more important than combat. Besides the main story there is not much else to do though. There are plenty of side missions I suppose but they don’t offer much and it kind of leaves this game rather transparent. On my evil run through on explicit difficulty I skipped everything that wouldn’t make me evil, including upgrades and even with the difficulty jump the game became much shorter. The spray painting missions are annoying but the end result is intriguing but I couldn’t help but feel the evil choices were far better.
Infamous: First Light was a DLC following the neon Conduit Fetch and frankly I found it far more interesting than the plot of Second Son. Instead of being the sudden hero she was just a character with flaws trying to fix a bad situation. A character with depth is far superior to any simple stock character, something other games like Call of Duty haven’t figured out yet. I also preferred the lack of a good/evil system, I’m working for drug dealers I don’t really need the extra judgement. Even if the plot turned out how I knew it would it was still interesting. The time jumps just to shove in another arena here and there were annoying but brief.
Besides that the game is just a smaller version of Second Son; half the map and only one power instead of four. I do prefer her ability to run without stopping which makes things much faster. There are more useless side missions although I admit her graffiti missions are far more interesting with much better results. Her neon combat has some upgrades compared to Delsin but they seem to be cosmetic at best. The only new feature would be the half dozen or so arena challenges. While challenging they can become over whelming very fast, especially on survivor because hostages are pathetic. It was only frustrating when doing the Delsin challenges. I believe this is because Delsin starts with smoke and he can’t move fast enough with smoke and survivors die before you can switch to a new power. I also found the sudden lack of Fetch’s ability to slow down, aim and enslave enemies rather vexing.
For fans of the series they may enjoy this DLC, others may find it lacking. All together Second Son is kind of simple, so perfect for new players and may offer some challenge to more experienced players. By no means was it the top of my list of games to play but it was still on it I suppose. It still beats the hell out of the first Infamous though.