Ever since the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (okay, I guess the Wii U as well) were first announced, gamers were filled with mixed emotions. Yes, new games and new consoles are always exciting, no doubt, but when the majority of the games available are just rehashed versions of games that people can already play on their current systems, the excitement is hard to sustain. I was pretty vocal about the fact that I did not think either platform was worth buying at launch (and I think virtually all of my points were validated) but most of those concerns have been totally revoked now. The Xbox One has a great shooter than can’t be found on the PS4 and the PS4 now has a decent small library of exclusives, indies, and quality third-party content. The crowning jewel of that library now, is of course, Sucker Punch’s inFAMOUS: Second Son. Not only is it a great game, but it’s the first truly next-gen experience available on either console – let’s discuss why.
Microsoft and EA’s Titanfall is a pretty great shooter, no doubt, but what makes that game next-gen? Does the fact that it simply can be played on the Xbox One constitute a next-gen experience? If so, I suppose Escape Plan on the PS4 is a next-gen game as well. For me however, the answer is no. Titanfall is also available on PC (and arguable better on that platform) and is soon to be released on the Xbox 360 as well. This game may have been marketed and touted as the big killer app for the Xbox One, but the fact of the matter is that you don’t have to own an Xbox One to play the game.
In the case of inFAMOUS: Second Son however, unless you own a PlayStation 4, you will never play it. This game won’t and can’t be ported to the PS3 or PC, there is no comparable alternative on other platforms, and it’s very likely the start of an even more expansive universe of games to come. While Knack, Resogun, Killzone: Shadow Fall, and other currently available games meet this criteria, many of those were launch titles that lack the originality and polish of Second Son. Believe what you want and I hope you’ve been enjoying your PS4 version of FIFA, but March 21, 2014 was the real launch date for the PlayStation 4.
The PC Master Race will obviously disagree and point to their screenshots of a fully modded Skyrim, or talk about Crysis 3 on max settings, but you can’t deny the beauty of inFAMOUS: Second Son. Everything from the environmental design, to the art direction, to the particle effects, to the character models is absolutely top notch. There was never a moment where the camera swung around to an awkward spot and I saw an ugly texture, or an area of the city that looked unfinished.
Each and every moment I felt like I was stumbling across a new and stunning part of the game that I had never seen before. There is no exaggeration when I say that inFAMOUS: Second Son is the best looking console game I’ve ever played, personally. Anyone that says otherwise is either blind, biased, or bullshitting.
I’m usually not the type of person that really digs gimmicky features that utilize things outside the normal realm of gameplay, but I found myself absolutely enthralled with some of the things that Sucker Punch did for this game. When submitting to a fingerprint scan near the start of the game, you have to actually press your finger on the controller’s touch pad. When spray painting walls, you have to literally turn the controller sideways and shake it like a paint can (complete with the sound emitting from the controller’s speaker) and aim at the screen while you spray. My favorite feature, however, is how the controller’s light bar changes colors based on your Karma alignment. Heroes are blue, while evil characters get red.
The almost complete lack of a dead-zone with the Dualshock 4’s analog sticks and the fantastic new L2/R2 triggers make this entire game a complete package for showing off why the new controller (and system) is so great. Usually when playing a game I like to forget I even have anything in my hand so I can get totally immersed in the experience, but this time I was constantly reminded how great of a time I was having specifically because of the controller that I was holding.
On a moment-to-moment basis, inFAMOUS: Second Son just screams polish and fluidity. Whether I’m wreaking havoc on entire city blocks with my destructive smoke powers, or sprinting across rooftops with my neon abilities, the game is always smooth and reactive. When there is this much going on at one time, most games on previous generations or even games on other current platforms, tend to suffer in terms of performance and variety. On its face, it may seem like there isn’t a big difference between inFAMOUS 1 & 2 when compared to Second Son, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Both of the previous games relied almost entirely on a single set of powers: electricity. Cole received either fire or ice augmentations eventually in the second game, but it was hardly an entirely new set of powers. In Second Son on the other hand, the player is treated to a whopping total of four entirely original and fully functional powers. You upgrade each of them independently, you can swap between them using power sources spread across the city, and most importantly – they are completely unique. The sheer breadth and depth of gameplay variety is consistently astounding – particularly due to the fact that it never chugs or slows down at all, but instead delivers some of the most intense and jaw-dropping moments I’ve seen in recent years.
inFAMOUS: Second Son is not a perfect game. There were a few things I wish had been more thoroughly explored, I found a few bugs, some of the characters could have used more development, and the side missions grow repetitive after a while. Ultimately though, none of that really takes away from the fact that, in virtually every way possible, it justifies the purchase of a PlayStation 4. This is both a game you’d want to dedicate an entire weekend to just for fun, as well as have on when friends come over to show off the power of your new system. For better or for worse, this is easily near the top of the list for the best games available on this latest generation of gaming consoles. Make sure you read our inFAMOUS: Second Son review for the full breakdown.
What are your thoughts on inFAMOUS: Second Son so far? Are you having a blast like me, or is it leaving you less than impressed? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!