There are quite a few spoilers in here, proceed at your own risk
My first Infamous game as I missed out on the two on PS3 and my first Sucker Punch game too, I had heard good things about Second Son, it was certainly one of the launch window games I was interested in for PS4.
Infamous does a lot of things right, the core gameplay at its heart is good and enjoyable, I liked the different powers; smoke, neon and video, concrete comes along too late in the game to really consider in the same way, moving around Seattle is improved significantly by getting neon and video further makes its easier and these were definitely needed as while I enjoyed the Cinder Missile it wasn’t great for moving around quickly and easily, even with the smoke vents.
Neon was the power I used the most, it was a big upgrade as I said over smoke, the Phosphor and Neon Beams felt powerful and I felt I could do more damage with them, being able to dash up walls was fun and helpful, I can’t say I used the Stasis Bubble very much though I liked to do mêlée kills as well which were fun to just beat down enemies with. I have similar impressions of the video powers too, I thought the video torrent attack seemed quite powerful as well although it unlocked video a bit too late in the game for me.
The city makes it easy to do things, once you do get the better powers for moving around you can start to ramp up quickly where you go to do the “side” missions, there aren’t many missions per se, shooting drones and scanners gets your shards, it doesn’t take too long to make a dent in taking back the areas from the DUP, destroying mobile commands is the hardest one but overall its fun to do and I got quite absorbed into doing it.
For a big open world game it looks great too, the cutscenes in particular are well captured with facial expressions and everything, it just looks really good. The effects on using your powers are very nice as well and generally its a really nice game to look at, not much in the way of aliasing and no frame-rate issues to speak of, it’s an impressive technical achievement to make such a big open world as a launch window title.
There is a big city in Seattle too, I do wonder if perhaps its a bit artificially bigger than it needs to be in terms of splitting it up into sections of DUP control, I assume its been done like that mirror what Seattle is like in the real place but at least it was enjoyable to do the side stuff.
Saying that about the city though, there are a few issues I had with Infamous and the first one is that the city does feel dead, like nothing is going on in it, I don’t quite know what the formula success of that is but I don’t feel like that way about other non-apocalyptic open world games, there is little in the way of personality too it. I have seen others say that the first two Infamous games felt the same but as I haven’t played them as I mentioned earlier it seems it might not be a Second Son problem specifically.
A popular tool for progression in games is boss battles, and all of them are absolutely trash in Infamous Second Son, all of them, so many games get them wrong and again I don’t know what to suggest for making them better, perhaps just making them shorter and take less time to complete is perhaps the best option but I did not feel the design on any of them was right.
He Who Dwells was I assume intended to be some sort of meta cool video-gamey boss but even worse than the Augustine boss battles it was based on lava which made it awkward to get around, constantly bombarding me with attacks when I need to stop and get smoke or neon and all the moving platforms, it was probably intended to be one of the highlights of the game and it was, a highlight in terrible design.
The Augustine battles happen twice in quick succession and were exactly the same except that in the second one they decided that there weren’t enough powers and forced in the concrete ability too, now this isn’t particularly a problem or a surprise, with the way the story went you knew it was going to happen sooner or later but doing almost a tutorial and having to wait for the core relays to be delivered by Eugene was annoying and just another pretty poorly designed battle that was overly long. I’ve finished the game now and I don’t generally hang around after I’ve finished a game (entirely my decision) so I won’t even get any use from the concrete ability either.
The story was fine, a couple of cheesy moments but I quite liked Fetch and I like that First Light is about her I will definitely check that as I got it free on PS+ which is a nice bonus.
Upgrading and some RPG-lite character progression is a key part of the game and as you will know if you’ve read any of my other stuff with games that have a similar thing I’m a sucker for it and seeing as it was so easy to get shards from the scanners, drones and mobile command I liked doing that where possible and upgrading my powers etc, developers should take note that I enjoy that.
Infamous Second Son is certainly a good game and one I enjoyed a lot, it looks nice and has fun powers which improve through the game although some pretty bad boss battles are a shame as they don’t add anything to the game for me and seem pretty poorly designed. I like Sucker Punch though and I am definitely in for what they make next, after 3 Infamous games and various add-ons I do hope they try something new, I’m interested either way though and I will definitely try out First Light at some point.