Post game wrap up: Infamous Second Son!
Well, as the title implies, I just finished Infamous: Second Son. It’s the must own game for the next gen right now, and is probably the one exclusive title everyone wants to play. And I can’t blame them. The first two games were stunning examples of a sandbox title with super powers, with lots of collectables, fun and varied powers, and a kick ass, if not a bit silly, story. If you haven’t checked out Infamous 1 or 2, I strongly recommend them. But we’re not here to talk about them, we are here to talk about second son, and how it does feel inferior to the older games.
Set 7 years after the events of the second game, you play as Delsin Rowe, a small town delinquent living in the shadow of his cop older brother Reggie. After a government vehicle crashes in his small town, freeing 3 conduit convicts with powers, Delsin discovers that he too is a conduit, the series version of a mutant, who can absorb other conduits powers by touching them. However, the head of the DUP( Department of Unified Protection) Augustine, captures one of the escapees with her own Conduit powers of concrete, and to be sure no one is harboring any conduits, she tortures the town for information by lodging concrete inside people’s bodies. The only way to remove the shards is the same way they were put in, which gives Delsin the idea to head for Seattle with Reggie to absorb her powers and save his village.
The story has its faults, much like any comic book does, but the story in broad strokes is not too bad… at first. We get a good sense of the way the world is now, terrified of the conduits living among them, even if they have done nothing wrong. It’s pulls a lot of its story out of the pages of any X-Men comic, but it starts strong. Delsin is a good lead, with a lot of room to grow as a person, as he either becomes a hero or a villain, depending on the choices you make. However, the game feels rushed. The story flows really well at first, by introducing new characters, and building the bond between brothers Reggie and Delsin. You get the sense that they have been at odds since they were kids, but they do love each other and trust each other, even if Reggie is a bit skeptical of this new gift his brother has. but then at about the halfway point,the story grinds to a halt, then jumps to its ending abruptly not long after, never really finishing its character building. It feels like a 1/4 of the game is missing. The morality of the game is also very black and white, almost to the point of being funny and feels disappointing compared to the last game. The morality system of the series has never been its strong suit, but this felt like an afterthought. It also doesn’t help that sadly Delsin never really changes, he starts out as a delinquent hipster bro, and finishes the game that way, more or less. You can only listen to him make fun of the gamer conduit so many times about D&D and being a virgin before you roll your eyes at the whole thing. The villain Augustine isn’t much better, who is cold bitch throughout the game, but by the games end shockingly has a good reason for why shes such a bitch. The say that the good villains are the ones that don’t believe they are the villain of their story, so while I give points for trying, the game falls way short in the story department by the time you finish it. The only saving grace is the very unique (and free) DLC called the Paper Trail, which even has some interesting ARG stuff attached to it. I haven’t finished it all yet, as it’s episodic and not all released yet, but they have a interesting murder mystery story to it, that fits in well. Hopefully it ends better than the actually story did.
Game play is where the game is both interesting and bad. One of the hand, giving Delsin access to 4 different types of powers gives him access to 4 different ways to play the game. One power set is for sniping and long distance stuff, one is meant for a bull rushing and in your face style of play, while another is stealth, and the last is a tank power set. I give the game credit for this as it allows you to play your way, with a power set that fits best for you. But the sniping power, Neon, comes away as being the most all around useful, as the other powers only really work in certain situations, while Neon can be used in a variety of ways to make it fit the situation. 2 big problems stand out as well. The first being that you cannot switch between powers at will. you have to find a power source to drain, then you can use it. This makes switching up your powers when you need to annoying at best, especially if the game puts you in a situation where it wants you to use a specific power. The second being that the tank power set, or concrete, doesn’t come until the end of the game, where they force you to use it in the final boss fight. By the time you get it, you may not even care to use it, as again, Neon is the most versatile power you have, and you can strangely only power concrete by draining baddies who use concrete powers, rather than the concrete your standing on. It’s weird, and despite the fact its plot important, feels like an afterthought, like this should not have been the final power you get.
It’s also disappointing in that there isn’t a lot of variety in either the enemies you face or the missions you do. There is only 4 different enemies types, and they never change. For the most part, any power can take them down, but one or two of them are more difficult unless you have a specific power, which you may not be able to easily find when you need to take these guys out. Every story mission is also the same, go here, kill enemies. Then go here, and kill enemies. The sub missions don’t fare much better, usually boiling down to finding stuff. Collecting stuff is also drastically reduced. There just doesn’t seem to be as much to find or see or do in Seattle as opposed New Marias or Empire City. The city is very pretty, and very well detailed, and feels like Seattle, even though admittedly, I have never been there. The soundtrack is also wicked, but there isn’t much else to say on that front. It looks good, and sounds good, but plays wonky.
Overall I find myself very torn on the whole of Infamous, and Second son feels like a lame follow up to the first two games. Maybe I’m being too hard on it, but I certainly feel let down a bit by the time I finished that one. Hopefully some of the DLC that is bound to happen will make up for it. As far as a being a launch game, its a solid release, but hopefully there are better things to come in the future.