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April 15, 2014
inFamous: Second Son - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
21/3/2014SonySonySucker Punch1None
Media HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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Delsin; the new hero in inFamous Second Son.
inFamous is one of those franchises that reviews well, is loved but almost everyone that plays it, but has never really cracked massive sales (well the first game called inFamous is approaching 3 million sales, but compare that to over 17 million for Grand Theft Auto V on PS3 and there's a clear disparity). Sony will be hoping that changes for this third installment which is a PlayStation 4 exclusive - and is an amazing game.

Set seven years after the events the occurred in inFamous 2 the world has turned to a point where society fears the superhumans. The D.U.P. (Department of Unified Protection) is tasked with hunting down and caging these superhumans so when Delsin Rowe discovers his powers he's forced to run, searching for other superhumans in order to save those he loves from the oppressive D.U.P., and himself. The choices he makes along the way change the future of everyone around him.

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inFamous Second Son is a PS4 exclusive.
The first thing to know about this game is that Cole McGrath, the hero from the first two games is gone and has been replaced with 24 year old Delsin Rowe - for newcomers it means we have an entirely new storyline, but franchise fans need not fear as Delsin's powers offer a lot more variety then Cole ever could with his electric powers and yet the gameplay will be quite familiar. After an initial prologue and travel segment the game shift to an open world Seattle setting and it's a sight to behold with a gorgeous city to explore and complete a variety of missions, side-tasks and items to discover.

One of the great things about this franchise from the very first PS3 title is the Karma choice you can make to be good or evil. This occurs at certain key events during the game or with different missions but even when you graffiti walls you can choose to make the artwork good or bad. One big upside to this of course is that a second play through brings with it the opportunity to play as the opposite of your original choice and by doing so you will encounter new missions and abilities for Delsin.

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Despite a stealth focus, there is action.
As mentioned earlier, unlike Cole who was stuck with a single electric power Delsin has the ability to absorb powers from other superhumans which he can then use against his enemies. The four powers which Delsin gains throughout the film are based around Smoke, Neon, Video and Concrete and each of these has a range of abilities to unlock by spending shards of power throughout the game world and then master and upgrade these abilities.

While we love this game there are a few minor niggles that hold it back somewhat. First of all, we find it rather disappointing that there is no multiplayer modes at all in the game - surely it couldn't be too hard to implement some small maps and allow you to battle against other superhumans - or perhaps a mode where each side has to destroy the others D.U.P. styled security van.

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Delsin can drain powers from others.
In terms of the actual single player campaign we did feel that despite the very wide range of powers for Delsin the game does become repetitive - destroy the D.U.P. security van, chase down someone, fight your way through a bunch of enemies. Perhaps, with a little more thought, more variety could have been included. Indeed the downloadable "Paper Trail" mission - which combines the need for in-game gameplay and web based sleuthing - is a great example of where the game could have expanded.

We also felt that while Delsin has the option to make choices to be good or evil, the gameplay isn't massively varied as a result. Sure there are some different powers (bad karma has more destructive powers), and some different missions, but by and large it's a very similar game. Finally we have to mention that we did struggle a little to click with Delsin's brother Reggie - a cop who always seems to get in the way of Delsin and can be a bit of a prick, but he does come around and grow on you during the game as his acceptance of Delsin's powers grows.

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Visually Second Son is a gorgeous title.
Make no mistake about it, the first time you load up inFamous: Second Son you will be gob smacked. This is almost certainly one of the best, if not THE best looking video game ever seen. In fact when the game first starts and Delsin is spray painting a billboard you will assume it's pre-rendered, but a few moments later you will realise that, in fact, they are in-game visuals. Character models are simply gorgeous and while there are occasional moments where the uncanny valley is hit (that being when CG models look realistic, but just very slightly off being perfect and therefor perceptible as not quite real to the human brain), they are still fantastic to look at. Environments are large, realistic, and look stunning while the effects from Delsin's powers always manage to impress.

If we do have a complaint about the graphics it's to do with the city itself. Despite being broken up into districts controlled by the D.U.P. there is little variety between them making it hard to see where you are without checking the map. Perhaps that's how Seattle is, albeit with some modifications to streamline the game, but when you compare it to a game like Grand Theft Auto where there are distinct areas within the city limits it's mildly disappointing. Still, that's more of an artistic issue rather then anything technical. Actually, speaking of a technical issue, the frame rate is pretty solid, often well above 30fps, however the game does suffer an occasional stutter due to the inconsistent frame rate, but it's hardly noticeable and doesn't impact on gameplay.

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Delsin fires on enemies from behind cover.
Audio too is impressive across the board with some wonderful music from composers Nathan Johnson and Marc Canham which is perfectly suited to the mood of the game while the sound effects are also impressive with constant use of the surround sound channels. Special mention needs to go to Troy Baker who provides the voice for Delsin. Many of you would be familiar with him due to other roles including Joel in The Last of Us, Booker DwWitt in Bioshock Infinite Snow in the Final Fantasy XIII games and The Joker in Batman: Arkham Origins. His work here is probably not quite as memorable or enjoyable as Delsin can come across as a bit of a tool (that's intentional), but the delivery of the lines is superb. Secondary characters are also well scripted and delivered for a solid level of voicework across the board.

If you own a PS4, this is a no brainer. inFamous: Second Son is the first game that truly shows the power of the PS4 with a stunning audio visual experience. The game itself is very good, but just misses the mark on occasion, however this should not stop you from purchasing this title. Stunning.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSNow this is next-gen. We've seen some solid PS4 games in the past but inFamous: Second Son takes the visuals to jaw dropping levels.
SOUNDSound too is superbly implemented from the music, to effects and dialogue.
GAMEPLAYWith four differnt powers there is plenty to learn and master here, but the missions are a little too similar in nature.
VALUENot a very long game, but incentive to replay a second time, no multiplayer disappoints somewhat too.
OVERALLinFamous: Second Son is an audio visual stunner and is backed up by a very entertaining game. If you own a PS4 then there is no question, this is an essential purchase.

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