Thursday, March 27, 2014

inFamous Second Son review! (spoiler free!)

OK! After 6 days, I beat this game. I played with evil karma on my first run (as always) and will be revisiting it with good karma in the future. This is the first big title I was actually looking forward to on the PS4, and I was very excited to finally have something I felt was worth owning the new console for. I was a little skeptical about the new protagonist, but I warmed up to the idea almost immediately. I unfortunately missed out on the collectors edition which turned out to actually be limited. Generally collectors editions I'm on the fence about I end up seeing on clearance at Walmart a few months later. I was genuinely surprised when the gamestop employee told me they were all gone. Oh well.

I'll start by saying the game looks and runs incredibly smooth. The neon effects are very pretty and displayed flawlessly by the new hardware. Load times are all but non-existent, and I never found myself getting frustrated with the performance of the PS4.

The story is top notch, exactly what you have come to expect from the inFamous series. I have to admit that making the evil karma decisions actually did have me hesitating more than once...they're pretty damn evil this time around. I thought I'd miss Cole and Zeke, but honestly, this game left me asking "Cole and Zeke who?". The other characters (including the antagonist) had some excellent background. Everyone was significantly different, and had believable histories. The antagonist is a good one. And when I say "good", I mean "awful". She will make you actually hate her. 

Game play is snappy and effective. Every time you get a new power, you'll enjoy it more than the last.  Nothing feels particularly tacked on (even the somewhat frequent usage of the touch pad!) except for maybe the graffiti side quests which have you holding the controller sideways. Even so, those side quests were fun and I was always excited to see what the stencil art I was painting would look like. In the beginning I was left wishing for more fast travel locations, but as your powers evolve fast travel becomes mostly useless. I don't think I actually used it more than once the entire time. Blast shards are back, but are much easier to hunt down this time around. Combat is mostly the same as the first two games, sniping from the roof top and using missiles on the bigger, badder enemies. Everything you know and love from the first two inFamous games returns with an enhanced flair. I got a lot of time out of this - I realize it only came out 6 days ago, but I had 6 fairly solid days of playing. I set aside my entire weekend to play, and I played for most of the day before going to work. I'd give a rough estimate of about 20 hours, start to finish...and this is a game most people will definitely want to play through twice (since your karmatic decisions genuinely effect the way the game unfolds.) 

My only real complaint is that the main story is somewhat short. I played the game a little bit differently than it was probably meant to be played. I ran around clearing all the districts and enjoying the open world rather than doing story missions. By the time I had cleared the top half of the island and couldn't clear any more without progressing the story, I had finished 45% of the game. I hadn't done many story missions, so that meant roughly 30% of the game was doing somewhat repetitive side-quests. If you had done maybe one district, one story mission, it would have seemed more diverse, but I chose to play differently (and there is nothing stopping you from doing so). There were a number of neat (non-repeating) bosses, and every story mission was pretty diverse, so it is a small complaint but a legitimate one.

I do feel that I should mention- it isn't really required to have prior knowledge of the inFamous games to hop onto this one. It will probably make you appreciate (and enjoy) the scenario presented in Second Son a lot more, but don't let that stop you from giving this new one a play. I'm willing to bet it will make you want to go back and play the first two (which I highly recommend anyway). Whether you're new to Playstation or just new to inFamous, this will be looked back at as a classic some day, and I urge you to get in on the fun while everyone else is. 

My final verdict is that this is obviously by far the best game for the PS4 to date. The library is still a little small but that is to be expected in the first few months of a new console. (I believe we're still technically in the "launch window" until April) If you already own a PS4, there is nothing better you could spend your money on to expand your library than this. If you don't own a PS4 and were waiting for something great to play on it before buying, this is probably the first title that makes the system worth investing in. I have to take the somewhat short story and bordering repetitiveness into account, so I'm going to give this one an...

8.5 out of 10.

Here is a small sampling of gameplay, recorded by me, myself and I.


And as always, don't forget to check out the facebook for updates and photos. 

More retro playthroughs and mini-reviews coming up very shortly! Stay tuned. 

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