inFAMOUS: Second Son
It’s tough in the era of modern gaming to see a series regularly put out titles that don’t make you wait for the next generation of consoles. In the case of inFAMOUS: Second Son, the wait was worth it.
The inFAMOUS series is one with two great components that keep it worth replaying. The first is the sandbox world you live in, in which you can continue to develop yourself and your reputation in significant ways. The second is the Karma system that lets you decide what kind of person you want to be. In this installment of the series, the personal development in terms of super powers and Karma makes for the most intricate system yet. Add to that a story that evokes a whole lot of emotion, and you’ve got the markings of a good game, if not a great one.
Warning: There are some spoilers below!
inFAMOUS: Second Son Powers
As Delsin Rowe, you are somewhat of a power leech. Conduits you come in contact with loan you their power. Your first is Smoke, the power everyone is familiar with from the trailers for the game. As you progress, you come in contact with a total of four Conduits—the aforementioned Smoke, along with Neon, Video, and Concrete.
Each of these powers has their advantages and disadvantages, but your biggest concern is collecting blast shards from all over Seattle in order to expand your powers. You also have plenty of sources from which you can heal and regain some of the power you expend in battle. Smoke vents and blown-up vehicles provide you ample Smoke, and blast shards can increase your carrying capacity. Neon lights all over town help you regain your Neon power. TVs and satellite dishes help you recover your Video power.
Concrete, which is an end-game power, can be recovered by absorbing it from the enemies you fight on the streets.
Delsin Rowe, the character you play, is a small-town delinquent whose brother is the local sheriff and also more than willing to haul you to jail. When a military transport goes horribly awry, however, Delsin and his brother, Reggie, meet their first Conduits. They escaped from the wrecked armored personnel carrier. Delsin comes into direct, physical contact with one, Hank, who is a Smoke Conduit, and absorbs his power.
After a chase, Delsin confronts Hank, demanding he cure him from being a bio-terrorist or at least teach him to control his new power. Hank escapes, but is caught by Brooke Augustine. She quickly establishes herself as the main villain by inserting shards of concrete first through Delsin’s legs, then those of the old woman, Bettie, who comes to his defense. Delsin awakens later to discover Augustine tortured many in the tribe, but none of them turned on him or gave him up to her. Vowing to find Augustine and absorb her power in order to cure those she attacked, Delsin heads to Seattle. There, the Department of Unified Protection, which Augustine leads, has set up shop in a big way. Reggie, wanting to protect his brother and the tribe, as well as find a cure for his sickness, goes with him.
Along the way, Delsin gains new powers, first by meeting Fetch, a Neon Conduit. She is a junkie who regularly hunts down drug dealers and kills them in revenge for how they forced her, in a drug-induced haze, to kill her brother. He next meets Eugene, a small, nerdy, teenage gamer who is a Video Conduit. He summons Angels and Demons based on a video game.
Throughout the game, Delsin is faced with the expected trials and Karmic choices befitting of an inFAMOUS game, but the ultimate goal is to get to Augustine. How you do it is entirely up to you, however.
Pros and Cons
While inFAMOUS 2 did focus on adding new elements to Cole’s Lightning powers (Fire and Ice), inFAMOUS: Second Son gives you entirely new powers that you can switch from as you see fit. Some battles require certain elements the entire time, however, so focusing on mastering only one is a bad idea. The brilliance of this game is that you have many opportunities to test your powers and expand them so that you can be entirely certain you know the ins and outs of all of them.
One of the bigger cons in terms of the game play, however, is the speed with which you can expand those powers. Being a sandbox world, you can avoid the main missions as long as you want. The landscape is filled with plenty of blast shards, meaning you can max out as early as you want. While some powers are locked away behind Karma levels, clearing sections of the city of D.U.P. troops is something you can do pretty easily if you wanted.
Story-wise, this game, like its predecessors, focuses entirely on one villain from start to finish. There aren’t any surprise final bosses or major plot twists, but the end is just as satisfying. However, the major drawback to that is your ability to see what’s ahead of you when the end comes. Without giving too much away, the Hero’s path is one of Batman-like vengeance. Vengeance for your tribe, vengeance for your friends, and vengeance for loved ones.
While Delsin is far too delinquent to be concerned with anything remotely similar to Bruce Wayne, he can more aptly be described as something akin to X-Men’s Rogue. Power leeching, but with a permanence Rogue lacks in hers, comes at a huge price. Delsin is left greatly weakened every time he absorbs a new power. He has to find generators composed of blast cores in order to discovers his new powers. It is a great mechanism to temper the quickness with which you can master new powers.
Speaking of Rogue, one of the biggest criticisms I saw of inFAMOUS: Second Son is how much like the X-Men series it is. Conduits are discovered, they are different from normal people, there is a deep divide between them and normal people, and the government gets involved in a negative way. Despite that, there is ample enough enjoyment in this game to keep you from thinking you’re playing a knockoff X-Men game.
I am a huge fan of the series and, though initially shocked to discover Cole’s death after inFAMOUS 2 was indeed the permanent death we feared, his legacy lives on in the series’ “second son,” Delsin. Character development for the Rowe brothers in particular is some of the best you can see for their situation.
The game has definite replay potential as I now have to clear out the D.U.P. in my Good file and finish my Evil file. If you have a PS4 and want a good superhero (or supervillian!) game that you can spend hours with, look no further. Get inFAMOUS: Second Son.
Purchase inFAMOUS: Second Son here: inFAMOUS: Second Son Standard Edition (PlayStation 4)