ScreenCritics Claudiu revisits one of the PlayStation 4’s early offerings – ‘Infamous Second Son’. Does it hold up several years later?
Superheroes are all the rage in the wider media right now. Marvel’s rise has given way to a huge demand for beings with super powers; mimicking those found on the silver screen. Yet in video games this trend hasn’t quite taken full hold. For one reason or another, the superhero video game hasn’t become a major feature of the AAA-gaming space. While the likes of Spiderman and Telltale’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy are looking to change this; it’s largely been left to new IP’s and a surprisingly different take on the whole thing. Perhaps the biggest of these – the Infamous series of games.
Released in 2013, Infamous Second Son was greeted with praise and success and has in all honesty aged quite well. The overall look still retains its charm and despite the lingering glitches, which are hilarious by the way, it’s still a highly enjoyable game with hours of game play that will thoroughly entice you. But I’m not here to tell you about how I played the game because everybody enjoys it (or doesn’t enjoy it) for various reasons.
Superhero games demand Superhero abilities and thankfully Infamous Second Son allows you to dive into the deep end with these. Put simply they’re great fun, with four powers in total afforded to the gamer (This is upped from the three found in Infamous 2). These are Smoke (The one you begin with), Neon, Video and Concrete. Not all of these are actually useful (Video being a complete waste of time while Concrete lacks a super move) which is somewhat disappointing. I guess it depends on how you plan to play this game – but I couldn’t find any use for them.
The most useful power is evidently Neon as the special dash accustomed to it can be used pretty much indefinitely. However personally Smoke looks the best, especially the super move, and despite its obvious flaws I found Concrete to be the most fun to use and mess around with mainly because I really enjoyed transforming myself into a pin wheel as I charged into DUP forces. Good times.
Thankfully though the overall game play is much more balanced. Similar to previous entries in the franchise, Infamous Second Son maintains a balance between projectile and melee combat however it could be argued that the ranged method is the better way to play. The game itself is wholly enjoyable, demonstrating smooth animation and visually appealing attacks. However combat isn’t the only avenue to explore. As for general mobility I am honour bound to repeat my comments about smooth animation in this topic.
Movement is actually one of the games smoother areas alongside combat although it could be argued that it is smoother than combat. Featuring a free climb system that has limitations in order to make up for the fact that towards the start of the game you cannot scale buildings with the Smoke power. This feature was incredibly useful in the early stages as despite it being quite slow it did help when evading the DUP forces.
As for music, the soundtrack is phenomenal, being both atmospheric and overall appealing to listen to. Lets just say that it wouldn’t be the first time I have listened to that soundtrack for a good amount of time. The genre of the soundtrack is clearly rock-oriented and the main theme sounds slightly similar to the track Gender by Really Slow Motion which accompanied the second Captain America: The Winter Soldier trailer. It is evident that Sucker Punch Productions spent quite a lot of time on constructing the soundtrack.
Yet despite all this praise, I feel as if they could have placed their focus on more important areas – the games story being one such area. Compared to previous entries the narrative for Infamous Second Son is incredibly short and just plain disappointing. There’s a slight sense that the game was rushed in order to appear as early as possible for the PlayStation 4 however because of the lack of development and overall appeal of most of the characters (I’m looking at you Eugene and Augustine). Perhaps if the developer had been afforded more time they could have resolved this issue. As it stands though, it’s the biggest turn-off for me.
Honestly, Infamous Second Son was a fun if slightly unfulfilling revisit. It’s nice to bounce around the world and have fun with the powers – but it never really grows beyond that. If more time had been given and more variety in the content, I might have been able to say more favourable things. As it stands, what was probably one of the better early games on PlayStation 4 ultimately feels lacking with the benefit of hindsight. More Aquaman than Superman I’d say.