InFAMOUS Second Son review

The dawn of a new era.

PlayStation 4 tested version.
inFAMOUS e Cole Mc Grath, Cole Mc Grath and inFAMOUS. An inseparable pair. At least until February 20, 2013.
sucker Punch in fact, he decided to amaze everyone from the first teaser trailer, abandoning a beloved hero, who in a short time had become an icon of the PlayStation world, to make room for a little boy with a slap face. Rian Fleming and his team have chosen the path less traveled, the risky one, but also, perhaps, the most beautiful one, knowing that cradling on Cole's fame would bring them no challenge, no satisfaction. The heroic ending of inFAMOUS 2, then, decreed as the canonical ending for 3 out of 4 players, gave them the perfect assist to greet old Cole: "Thank you friend, you have given us so much but now we must say goodbye and look forward". Thus it breaks into our homes Delsin rowe, a twenty-four year old with a character in many respects opposite to that of Cole, rebellious, unscrupulous and without any hesitation in using his superpowers: he is the perfect exponent of a new world, of a new generation of Conduit, of the second generation.
And in this perspective, all the accounts add up: inFAMOUS Second Son tells the next-gen, on the next-gen Sony. We are no longer in New Marais or Imperial City, a city that is somehow indefinite for an exceptional “hero”; Delsin lives in Seattle, not at Seaport. He is an ordinary boy in a well-defined city, without crises of conscience and complexes due to the awareness of being the cause of unprecedented devastation.
The bet is risky but fascinating, a risky but not unconscious all-in. It's time for Sucker Punch to reveal the cards.

Nothing will ever be the same again

Something went wrong with Cole and Zeke's plan: RFI cured the outbreak, but it didn't stop new conduits from being born; seven years after New Marais the world is panicked again and the crisis is perhaps more serious than that seen in Imperial City. The "normal" relentlessly hunt down anyone with powers and even those who do not yet have the Conduit gene active are pointed out as Bio-terrorist and sent to a cell for experiments. Behind this indiscriminate witch hunt is the DUP, the Department of Unified Protection, a government organization that has the right to apply some sort of martial law on the territory and to use any means to discover possible sympathizers of these dangerous "criminals".

It is in this reality that we get to know Delsin rowe, a young Akomish (fantasy Indian tribe) who lives in the reserve near Seattle and who likes to "tag" any wall that seems suitable for hosting his graffiti and giving free rein to his creativity. Delsin is therefore a thorn in the side of his brother Reggie, a respected cop who finds it embarrassing to have to continually arrest his little brother. Despite these premises, the relations between the two are far from deteriorating and Reg does everything to protect his brother and his tribe, even when their world is upset by a tragic discovery: Delsin is in fact one of "them" and his Conduit gene was activated by contact with an escaped Bio-terrorist following an accident.

From this incident, which will immediately give us a way to direct our adventure towards infamy or heroism, starts the mission of Delsin and Reggie in Seattle, looking for a way to "cure" Dell and save their tribe. , endangered by the boy's new condition. The narrative, as it should be in a free-roaming, is not very intrusive, but its progress is better organized than in the previous chapter. The reactions of the characters to the choices of the Delsin are more accurate and, for what little we have seen of the heroic campaign, more meaningful and consistent than in the past.

During our race towards the acquisition of ever greater power and the realization of our intentions of revenge, the real engines of action when taking the path of evil, we have encountered moments of good narrative; the bad ending, however, did not fully convince us, even though it was totally coherent with the events that our choice triggered. Keeping in mind the predisposition of the players to the way of the hero, also confirmed by the percentages of the trophies obtained in this chapter (also this time it seems that only 2 out of 10 players have so far reached the bad ending), it is however possible that the developers have focused more their attention to the plot with positive karma.

Editorial needs unfortunately force us to postpone the complete analysis of this aspect to a later time since it would not have been possible to complete the adventure a second time in the short time allowed to the press to test the full version. At least not without heavily sacrificing the overall game experience: aiming to complete the plot twice would have meant indiscriminately renouncing to evaluate the AI ​​in the various difficulty levels and, above all, avoiding any deviation from the main tracks, neglecting two of the fundamental aspects of the title, namely free-roaming and the increase of the new powers at our disposal.

Smoke, neon and ...

We are dying to reveal to you which others powers will manage to absorb Delsin during his stay in Seattle, but we believe that their discovery was one of the most exciting moments of the gaming experience and we do not want to spoil the surprise in any way. Like the Neon and the Smoke, however, we can tell you that the other powers also have their specific utility both to face certain enemies and to change our approach during the exploration of the city, nor is there a great imbalance in favor of a power. rather than another as it seemed to us during our test in Rome (in which we faced a mission immediately following the acquisition of Neon powers and which was therefore aimed at learning how to use these new abilities). Each power then has different realizations depending on the key used: remaining constant R2 and L2 respectively for the basic attack and the zoom on the target, as well as square for the physical attack and R1 for the devastating missiles of smoke, neon, etc. , L1 always hosts a different special ability, while the circle button allows us to move using the environment and the peculiarities of the power in use. There are also some combos (such as the now classic shockwave triggered by pressing square during the fall or after a jump), but many skills will be unlockable only by using the fragments of the explosion scattered around the city. Depending on our karmic level, we can then access exclusive parts of the new enhancement diagram (a sort of very simplified spherography), very useful for filling the renewed karmic indicator faster and unleashing the power of the karmic attack, that is a devastating special attack on the which it will be possible to access by supporting the predominant nature of our choices. In addition to being damn powerful, these shots also have a high rate of showmanship and it will be difficult not to activate them as soon as they are available when the strategy dictates to save them instead for a big chance.

Unfortunately the balance of difficulty level in the version we tested it is not yet optimal and, while on easy difficulty everything will be as simple as drinking a glass of water, the normal level does not add much to the overall challenge making us feel the need to upgrade only a limited number of skills during the our run. At the Expert level, the game becomes more interesting right away and the shots of the enemies have forced us more than once to seek more conservative approaches. Fortunately Sony has informed us in advance that the level balance will be subject to the corrections of the patch 1.01 from about 300 MB available on Day One, which promises to increase the difficulty of the Normal level and to ensure a greater balance to the "Expert" one.

We could actually say that we have tried a sort of beta of the game, since even the boss-fights and the amount of secondary activities at our disposal will be modified by this update, which seems to be really aimed at correcting the defects found during our game sessions. . In fact, we were able to see how the karmic opportunities were present in excessively fewer numbers than those available in inFAMOUS 2, while the clashes with the bosses have put us more than once in front of some problems in their artificial intelligence and in the arrangement of the covers, allowing us to make them capitulate almost without damage to our protagonist. 

Good then the arrangement and variety of secondary missions: although we are faced with certain types of almost standard activities in every district, the increasing level of complexity of the missions makes it always interesting to challenge the DUP and the new features of the DualShock 4, such as the touchpad and the integrated speaker, allow you to insert some original and particularly fun activities. For example, we found the possibility of leaving the marks of our passage on the walls of Seattle very interesting, a practice that already amused us in GTA San Andreas but that in inFAMOUS Second Son reaches a level of involvement and, above all, a much higher level of art. , beyond any scale of comparison.

Finally, an aura of mystery envelops the Origami doves, which we met and chased up to some crime scenes without being able to discover the mystery behind their presence: in fact, we were asked to connect to the online servers that will be available only from tomorrow. In this regard, we take this opportunity to remind those who managed to have the Collector's Edition of the game in advance that the additional content (such as the Cole's Legacy DLC) will be made available only with the D1 patch we talked about previously.

The first PS4 game?

That the technical sector of many of the previous non-cross-gen titles released so far on PlayStation 4 had disappointed expectations has never been a mystery, just as it is evident that in the collective imagination inFAMOUS Second Son must be the title capable of scoring a turning point for the new generation. Did he succeed? Well, if he didn't quite hit the target, he came very close.
The game runs, as repeatedly stressed by Sucker Punch, a 1080p and 30 fps: we did not encounter any problems with fluidity, the loading of the intermission scenes was always fast and the visual impact with Seattle is impressive, a sign not only of a great ability to exploit the hardware but also of an excellent artistic direction. We confirm the exceptional nature of facial expressions, which flawlessly exploits the 168 markers used to capture Troy Baker's 75 different facial expressions for Delsin.

The great attention to detail, each recreated individually, emerges at every moment and it is no coincidence that 7500 triangles were needed to build the protagonist's hat alone: ​​from the characterization of the NPGs, to the variety of cars (which will still be increased with the first patch) all contributes to greater immersion in the game world. Even the rain, omnipresent in Seattle, as well as the particle effects, are positively affected by this obsessive attention to detail, with the latter always being fluid and defined even when a considerable number of particles are involved: just think that every single the stretch of smoke released by Delsin is made up of 11 thousand “bits” of ash to get an idea of ​​the great work done in this sector. Contrary to what we saw in the demo where they seemed absent, the management of the shadows during the day, as well as of the lighting effects, is very good. As announced by the developers, the day / night cycles and weather conditions will not alternate based on the actual game time, but will always be associated with the moment of the story and the place where we are thanks to theAmbient Adaptive System: We would have liked to try to tackle various missions in different weather conditions, but it is understandable the team's choice to try to associate the most suitable climate to the circumstances and atmosphere of the moment.

Is everything perfect then? Not exactly, because even on a technical level we found small flaws and bugs. Leaving aside to blame Sucker Punch for the impossibility of seeing for the moment hair subjected to the laws of physics (which had so much importance for the Definitive Edition of Tomb Raider), it struck us to see that some defects seen at the event of presentation were still firmly in place in the full version. The patch seems to be providential also in this case and we hope to make some annoying effects of polygonal interpenetration and other small graphic bugs that we encountered during the game disappear: it did not happen to us as in the demo to fall into the water through a pier (and no , we didn't use any power to do it on purpose), but it was embarrassing to get stuck in a road sign with no chance to move or throw lightning bolts to somehow break free. We sadly had to save and reload the game on the fly, with all due respect to the poor wretches agonizing on the asphalt to whom we wanted to give the coup de grace to alleviate their suffering.

Final comment

inFAMOUS Second Son it is exactly the game we were waiting for and that will manage to make us lose track of time during each game session. A vast and fun open-world title, with a good plot and some finally innovative gameplay elements, able to take advantage of a more powerful hardware to allow us to do things that on the older generation we could only dream of; the excellent acting and a more than discreet dubbing in Spanish give a little something more to a narration that is still above average for the genre to which it belongs. The longevity of the main mission alone is nothing exceptional (the “bad” story is completed in less than 10 hours), but it is offset by excellent replayability and a city full of activities and all to be explored. Finally, an important artistic direction is the icing on the cake of a technical sector which, although not without defects, promises to be perfected as soon as the game arrives in stores.

sucker Punch he hit the bull's-eye and for Fleming and his team it's time to collect the winnings.

For Cons 
- fun gameplay and not without novelty
- Delsin's power doesn't make Cole regret it
- high level artistic direction and acting
- the Day One patch should solve most of the cons
- poorly balanced difficulty levels
- some annoying graphics bugs
- main plot not very long
  Overall rating: 90 
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