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When Delsin Rowe, the antisocial graffiti artist and star of Infamous: Second Son for PlayStation 4, receives a new upgrade in his ever-expanding arsenal of superpowers, he wears a devilish grin that reveals the essence of the game — it’s a lot of fun to fly, shoot smoke and lasers out of your fingertips, and transform yourself into a devastating bomb.
And as you play Second Son, you’ll find that you’re constantly smiling with him.
What You’ll Like
An exceptional story
Infamous: Second Son (which Sucker Punch Productions developed exclusively for the PS4) is the third entry in the Infamous series of open-world action games, but you don’t need to have played the first two to follow the story. In fact, Infamous: Second Son feels like the big-budget X-Men movie that everyone wanted to see in theaters.
In Delsin’s world, the emergence of a genetic strain of superhumans known as Conduits (or bioterrorists, according to the government) has led to the formation of the Department of Unified Protection, an antimutant military organization that locks down Seattle. After a vehicle transporting three prisoners crashes near his Native American tribe’s longhouse, Delsin comes into contact with a Conduit firsthand and learns that he has a special ability.
Like Rogue from X-Men, Delsin can absorb the powers of other mutants and make them his own. Afterward, the sinister head of the D.U.P., Brooke Augustine, visits Delsin’s tribe. She uses her own mutant powers to injure innocent people with spontaneously summoned blocks of concrete (you have to fight mutants with mutants, it seems), leading Delsin to track her down, absorb her powers, and undo the damage.
A lengthy movie-like setup shouldn’t be this exciting, since it’s all a prelude to the open-world combat the series is known for. However, an outstanding level of facial animation, top-notch voice acting, and gorgeous backgrounds make every cutscene riveting. The characters are all naturally expressive, with especially fine details around their eyes and mouth. If this is the level of storytelling that we can expect from the new generation of games, the bar has officially been raised.
Later, Delsin’s brother and other companions communicate with him through his phone, so the cutscenes become less prevalent. By then, you’re already invested in the characters and can focus on Infamous’s next major accomplishment: a flurry of superpowers that will blast you back like a laser cannon.
Most video games tend to rely on a few tropes when it comes to special powers: fire, ice, and lightning are all overused elements that have become clichés. Thankfully, Infamous: Second Son introduces four powers that feel original. While they share some traits with traditional abilities, they’re integrated into the world in a completely natural way.
Smoke is Delsin’s first ability, and it’s the one he uses the most. He’s able to hurl charred ash at enemies, build it up for a bigger blast, and shoot missiles that can blow up armored vehicles. He can also travel through vents and teleport like X-Men’s Nightcrawler, complete with a “bamf!”-like sound effect.
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