Title: inFamous: Second Son
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Price: INR 3,999
[dropcap]E[/dropcap]very now and then I wonder what it would be like to have super powers. You know, run amok with fire blazing from my fingertips, soaring to the skies with a single leap and then inevitably get hunted down by fangirls and the government for a DNA sample or something akin to that.
Over the years, the Infamous series has satisfied those fantasies to an extent (barring in-game fangirls).They were great superhero narratives, in the mould of what you’d expect from the house of Marvel if they were to take video games seriously. You’re Delsin Rowe, a delinquent turned conduit – people blessed with super powers.
What makes you special (over and above the others with extraordinary talents) is that you can absorb powers from other conduits. Much like Rogue from the X-Men. You have a score to settle with the government organisation in charge of dealing with conduits and along the way you’ll liberate parts of Seattle, rendezvous with other conduits and be a complete bad (or good) ass. More on that last part in a bit.
Aside from a distinct X-Men vibe, there’s more than a hint of Uncharted to boot. No, you won’t find Nate, Sully or Chloe making an appearance. Rather the production values are of such high standards that you’ll wonder if this wasn’t made by Naughty Dog instead. From character animations to the slick and snappy dialogue, there’s a sense of polish and craft that makes the world of Second Son insanely believable. Even when you’re being chased by helicopters and government agents across rooftops, pelting wisps of smoke every chance you get.
That’s not to say this is not a Sucker Punch game. Far from it. The game world is replete with Easter eggs galore, electronic signs referring to Sly Cooper, Cole McGrath’s (hero of the first two games) name peppering business boards, fantastic sense of humour and of course the ability to turn an entire city for or against you in a matter of minutes.
At the core of Second Son’s summer blockbuster coated shell is an intricate bunch of systems that do a solid job of making you feel like a superhero or villain, if you like. Hate the music a street performer plays? Hit him with a bolt of neon light to let him know how you feel. Think that local peddlers need to be put in their place? Rain hell and fury on them. The choice is yours. In making these choices, you’ll be shaping Delsin’s character. You can be good or bad and it has a drastic impact on the way the game’s plot plays out. This is one of those rare titles worth playing through once you’ve finished, just to see how good or bad you could be the second time around.
However choice is nothing without the means to choose. This is where Sucker Punch delivers in spades. Not content with giving you just one power like in their earlier titles, you absorb a whole lot more. Without spoiling much, there are an ample number of powers to keep your interest piqued, with acquiring them being half the fun. You’ll chase down convicts and battle psychotic junkies in order to do so. In spite of being an open-world game, there aren’t as many characters to interact with, but the ones available are good enough to be remembered.
But that isn’t all, there are a slew of skill upgrades and a vibrant city to traverse. Second Son’s stress on verticality is not only welcome but necessary. Your enemies attack you in hordes, swarming from every possible direction. Not only would you have to be adept in using your powers keeping the area of effect in mind but you’ll find yourself swooping to ground, taking as many foes down as possible in a single motion.
Sooner enough you’ll be able to subdue or execute opponents. Subduing them grants you good karma points while the latter adds to your pool of bad karma points. Getting enough of either allows you to unleash a massive area of effect attack. A sort of orbital drop if you will. Regardless of the power you have, it looks flashy and does a great job of thinning the enemy ranks. Before you know it you’ll find yourself trying to subdue or execute any and every foe or citizen you come across to build up your karma so you can unleash this amazing triple scoop of overkill.
Second Son isn’t exactly flawless though. For one, veterans to the series will soon realise that the world of Seattle is a lot less dense compared to the earlier games. It feels a tad empty especially in a post-GTA V world. Furthermore, the mission variety outside the main quest isn’t as much either. Though the latter should change thanks to the free Paper Trail DLC that’s out now. After playing through the first mission, the potential to keep this going past the announced six weeks of episodic content seem rife.
All in all, Second Son is fantastic addition to the series and well worth looking into even if you haven’t played any of the previous titles. There’s enough for newbies and veterans alike to make it worth bothering with. If you own a PS4 or plan on buying one, this is one game you should not miss out on.