When it comes to exclusives, Sony's Playstation brand has never really had much trouble, all the way back the PSone era, and following it's heritage, the Playstation 4 has kicked things off reasonably well. Killzone: Shadow Fall was a deliciously good looking launch game, even though the 'razzle - dazzle' wore off pretty quick. Fast forward a few months and now we have inFamous: Second Son.
Those of you not familiar with the Playstation 3 exclusives inFamous 1 and 2, the series is an original comic book themed third-person action game, conjured up by Sucker Punch. Whilst the first two games saw you control Cole McGrath, a bike courier, who gained his electrical-based powers after surviving a large explosion in Empire City caused by the package he was carrying containing the Ray Sphere, Second Son, however, see's you control a new character named Delsin Rowe, who, unlike Cole who could manipulate electricity ,Delsin's power allows him to absorb the powers of other Conduits.
Minor story spoilers aside, the real shining star of Second Son is the graphics. It is truly a beautiful game, with the PlayStation 4 showcasing its raw power from the off. Street-side puddles reflected in the light, swirling tufts of smoke surrounded my forearms as I attacked enemies (and civilians). The whole city is beautifully realized, and every inch of it is jaw dropping, be it on the ground, in the air, on top of buildings, or even transporting 'bamf - like' Nightcrawler through air vents; each and every part of Second Son looks divine.
Story wise, Second Son takes a grittier, more realistic route than its two predecessors, which isn't a bad thing, it's a much more grounded and weightier approach, whilst still keeping in tune with its comic themed routes, but more importantly, it pays off, even if the story quality does dip in and out from time to time.
Veteran fans of the series and newcomers alike will instantly be at home with Second Son, which, aside from the aesthetics, is down to the great performance of Troy Baker.
Baker’s motion-captured performance as our new Conduit, Delsin, is tactfully believable, whether he’s being a sarcastic, destructive super villain, or a plucky, all round do-gooder, but whilst Delsin is not universally likeable, the chemistry with his law-defending brother, Reggie, makes for some decent familial banter as the two struggle to air their views.
As a character, Delsin is filled with equal parts angst and rebellious idealism, bundled in with the fact that he now wields such overwhelming destructive power and Bakers mo-cap makes that inner conflict tense, and interesting in all the right ways.
The powers you unlock as you progress are utterly brilliant, with the skill trees now offering more options than previous inFamous games, now granting you the ability to either concentrate on one power or split your resources between multiple paths, with the unlockable powers now differing based on your moral alignment.
Speaking of which, the series famous morality system is the one thing that sticks out of this next-gen title, as it seems horribly outdated, with the more 'good deeds' you do filling your blue metre, whilst more 'evil deeds' fill the red. Sure, it works, but up to the point where Delsin gets his powers, there's literally no indication that he'd want to harm, or even kill, nearby civilians and seeing as he's still a plucky guy after, there's no indication he'd want to after the incident.
It's a minor niggle and one that doesn't ruin the story or any of the gameplay by an means, but a more robust morality system wouldn't have gone unwanted.
Is inFamous: Second Son perfect? No, not at all, but it's defiantly one of the best next-gen titles that's come out since launch day and although a few minor parts hold it back, it's still an utterly astounding game that's worthy of your time.