inFAMOUS Second Son ★ A Review

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Why yes, that is the Space Needle you see in the background, thank you for noticing. Do you know how awesome it is to play a game set in your home territory? Awesome! And long overdue, since Sucker Punch Productions is based in Bellevue, just outside of Seattle. It was also a huge surprise, considering inFAMOUS was set in the fictional Empire City (based on New York), and inFAMOUS 2 was set in the equally fictitious city of New Marais (fashioned after New Orleans). However, the Seattle in Second Son is not the real Seattle, but I won’t spend all post pointing out the differences. Though I was sad not to see the famous red Pike Place Market sign in the game’s skyline, it was still a total blast to play…twice.

Who, What, When, Where and Why?

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inFAMOUS 2’s Cole MacGrath vs. inFAMOUS Second Son’s Delsin Rowe’s Karma

Just like its predecessors, Second Son is a Karma based game (this is why we play it twice). There is the Infamous (evil) game play and the Hero (good) game play, only Sucker Punch one-upped their own style and added a few more ways your choices affect cut scenes and the way your interactions go with friends and family. That was a nice touch.

The title Second Son seems to apply not only to the fact that we’re now playing a whole new character, but a whole new kind of conduit. It’s also a nod toward the original inFAMOUS, which dealt with the secret society, the First Sons, though this is never referenced or mentioned throughout the entire 3rd installment.

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Delsin’s first weapon of destruction

Who: Delsin Rowe, a much younger and more carefree protagonist than Cole MacGrath, who was always broody and, albeit hot for a game character, needed to stress less. Delsin is pretty much a juvenile delinquent that likes to tag, has funny comebacks and is a member of the Akomish. Washington has 29 federally recognized Native American Tribes, we’re a state overflowing with tribal culture, traditions, art, namesakes (why no one can pronounce our cities or towns) and not a single one of them is the Akomish. This is a made up name – but, with real tribes like the Snohomish, Suquamish, Samish and Skokomish, I suppose Sucker Punch found it a plausible – if not more phonetically appealing – name, without risking possible legal issues.

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What: Brooke Augustine (referred to only as Augustine) and her government-sanctioned D.U.P. (Department of Unified Protection) idiots.
When: 7 years after Cole’s final chapter in New Marais.
Where: Salmon Bay and Seattle, Washington

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Why: Conduits are now labeled as Bio-Terrorists and treated as such by the government and populace with equal prejudice and fear. In short, an escaped convict tries to use Delsin as a human shield, but Delsin ends up leeching his powers just by touching him, thus revealing himself as a conduit…er, bio-terrorist. When Delsin can’t answer any of Augustine’s questions, she reveals herself as an evil conduit and uses her ability to render most of his tribe incurably injured. This happens, regardless if you choose to turn yourself in (good) or sacrifice the tribe (evil). Despite NO conduit ever having the ability to wield more than one power on their own, Delsin has the brilliant idea that he can leech Augustine’s powers, too and save his people. In other words, it was in the script, so we’re off to Seattle…

Highlights

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A lot of the inFAMOUS features we love (just me?) are carried over into Second Son. Again, you’re given the choices between good or evil reactions/actions at just about every turn. A plethora of side missions (colored red for evil, blue for good or yellow for neutral/D.U.P. related) make your trek through an enormous city far less daunting – especially, given there are no grind-wires between rooftops like Cole always got to use. You spend a lot of time chasing down ‘blast shards’ which are now inside of little drone helicopters all over the city, so you can improve your powers and take in the scenery.

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The graphics were amazing, and I was so happy this game was available on the PS4 despite originally coming out for the PS3.

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One of my favorite features (psychiatrists will have a field day with this) was the ability to completely destroy most of the D.U.P.’s structures, barricades and walls all over the city. Have I ever mentioned that I’m not a fan of the color yellow? No, you don’t get extra cool points, it’s just fun! Another add-on not featured before was the ability to ‘unlock’ different jackets for Delsin to wear. Whattaya think? I might have to get this one below in my size.

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The absolute #1, best feature of this 3rd inFAMOUS installment, was the fact that Delsin was right – he is special – and has the ability to leech multiple conduit’s abilities. inFAMOUS 2 kind of introduced this with the “Power Transfer Device” which Cole uses to gain the powers of either Nix or Kuo, depending on if you’re playing evil or good. SP kicked this WAY up a notch, introducing a total of 4 powers Delsin gets to have and switch between by the end of the game. Of course, Delsin’s smoke is going to be the main ability used the longest and upgraded the most. Even after playing the game all the way through twice, I never found any other ability as effective against defeating enemies faster, with less chance of dying, than when using Smoke. But, here’s a look at all 4:

Smoke, is the 1st ability Delsin gets thanks to the escaped bio-terrorist convict, Hank. Hank will play a larger role in the storyline later on, as well.

Neon, is the 2nd ability Delsin gets and the one you’ll use the most outside of smoke, if for nothing more than the ability to run faster than the speed of light through the city. Did I say grind wires between rooftops? Boooorrrriiiinnng! Del gets his neon ability from another escaped bio-terrorist who calls herself Fetch, though her real name is Abigail. First you have to catch and then defeat Fetch, before you can use her powers.

Video, is the 3rd ability Delsin gets and suddenly all of those satellite dishes atop every rooftop makes perfect sense! While it’s a little badass having digital angels and demons come to your rescue and the ability to fly, or feed yourself through the airwaves – it just wasn’t that effective of a power against enemies. Like with Fetch, Delsin has to first find, then defeat Eugene in order to gain his powers.

Concrete, is the final power Delsin gets and it is also at the very end of the game – so, if you finished all of the side missions prior to this, there’s really no reason to keep playing other than to see just how far you can upgrade your new abilities. While I liked the concrete better than the video, it still never became my go-to power when up against a swarm of D.U.P. soldiers and their merciless machine guns.

Downsides

The annoying as hell sidekick: In InFamous, we had the insufferable chatterbox, Zeke, who was like a man-child unable to let go of his glory days, while simultaneously suffering from cock-envy. In InFamous 2, Zeke was far less annoying, but then we got sidled with Nix and Kuo, who were like the angel and devil on Cole’s shoulders – the living embodiments of his good and evil choices – but at least they were passionate and believable in their personalities.

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In Second Son, your A.A.H.S. is Delsin’s older brother, Reggie – the sheriff for the Akomish – and about the most prejudiced character I’ve ever had to listen to for that many hours. All of the characters in S.S. were rather flat and didn’t evoke any emotion from me. Delsin at least had witty comebacks and when he goes evil, he doesn’t go halfway. The lack of characterization in this game was further amplified by the pathetic dialogue. There was no depth or even likeability – especially, for Reggie. That was just a bad character all around. I got more emotion out of the conversations we had to find the right signal to eavesdrop on from the faceless, nameless D.U.P. soldiers. Yes, that was another downside. I wish I could’ve made Delsin throw that damn walkie-talkie off the roof a thousand times.

Final Conclusion

Aside from the horrible dialogue and flat sub-characters, inFAMOUS Second Son was still a kick ass game that introduced many more conduit abilities and harder to beat enemies. Hell, even just defeating Fetch and Eugene – who end up becoming your friends – was extremely tough! I loved that the amount of side missions were both plentiful and different than inFAMOUS 1&2. The only one I didn’t care for that much was the tagging. It was just kind of a blahzay thing you had to do to clear the areas.

What did I miss? Believe it or not – I missed the public throwing rocks! LOL In inFAMOUS 1&2, if you were evil, you had to dodge bad guys AND mobs of pedestrians who would throw rocks at you, even as you were scaling buildings. In Second Son, they cheer and crowd around you when you’re good (so irritating when you’re trying to move fast) but they scream and run from you when you’re evil? C’mon, Sucker Punch! Where’s the passion?

With all that said, I’m not sure I would play another inFAMOUS installment, unless the character depth could be reintroduced into the storyline. Second Son was fun. inFAMOUS 1 & 2 were epic. Something got lost in between…

Currently Playing: Rise of a Tomb Raider slowly, but surely. So far, I’m on the fence…it’s bound to be an interesting review when I’m all done. 😉

All images were found on the internet and I do not own any rights to them, the story, game or characters mentioned in this post. No copyright infringement intended.

 

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#Uncharted4: Is This a Movie?

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Yeah, I did it. I commandeered the new PS4 and spent time I should have been writing or blogging giving into my gaming needs – I have needs, people! And I can usually rely on entities like Naughty Dog to fulfill them. After the satisfying installments of Uncharted 1-3, did they come through with the supposed series finale? Let’s see…

Who, What, Where, Why and When?

Like Tomb Raider, which Uncharted was fashioned after, each new Drake adventure takes us to different areas around the globe – some real, some mythical – in search of a particular treasure. So here’s the basics:

Who: Captain Henry Avery
What: The combined treasures of every pirate from Cpt. Avery’s day
Where: Panama, Malaysia, Italy, Scotland, Madagascar, Libertalia, New Devon
Why: To save Sam Drake’s life
When: Nate at 10, Nate in his 20’s, Nate & Sam present day

Highlights:

Nate has an older brother, did you know? Neither did I! In the style reminiscent of a daytime soap opera, we learn that Nathan had an older brother, Sam, who he thought died 15 years ago and that’s why we never heard his name until now. 4 games later. Yeah, I rolled my eyes – but, this is how the writers chose to get a ‘retired’ Nate back into the game of treasure hunting.

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The graphics were BREATHTAKING! The attention to detail was unparalleled by any other installment. Uncharted 4 went Skyrim for their open world platform this time, which was both amazing and really distracting. With much broader areas to roam, and less ‘blocked off’ avenues to ensure Nate stays on course, it made relic hunting both daunting and time consuming, but I also enjoyed it so this is a middle-ground feature for me.

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Introducing Stealth! I quickly grew addicted to the stealth feature that plays a HUGE role in this installment. I loved the ability to use tall grass to sneak right up behind my enemies and take them down quietly. Tomb Raider introduced this in the last PS3 game, but it was too much like Assassins Creed, which I can’t stand. I find it extremely boring. Naughty Dog bumped it up a notch and made Nate’s stealth successfully engaging. Of course, there’s a lot of it, so you still have the option of running in with guns blazing if you get bored or impatient.

Downsides:

Waaaaaaay too many cut scenes. Seriously. I spent more time watching Uncharted 4 than playing it. Is this a movie or a video game? Normally, the cut scenes and play time are nicely balanced, so gamers aren’t just sitting there doing nothing, but not this time. Ugh. I just want to play already! Okay, we’re playing…annnnd it’s another cut scene… 😐

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Driving, grrr! Lookit, I have an impeccable driving record in real life, but I can’t drive in video games for sh*t. I personally hate it, but gamers who love driving will love this feature, because there’s a LOT. Then there’s the driving while shooting and fighting all at the same time – I almost threw the controller.

Hop, hop, hopping around. Can we stick with one character in one time line? First you’re Nate at 10, then you’re Nate in his 20’s, then you’re present day Nate, then you’re Sam, then you’re present day Nate, then you’re 10 year old Nate again and finally back to present day Nate for the 3rd time – No, this is not an exaggeration, that’s exactly how it went down.

Characters:

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L to R: Nathan, Sam, Sully and Elena

We welcomed back out beloved treasure hunting trio, Nate, Elena & Sully with the addition of Sam.

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These two were our bad guys. Nadine and Rafe. Rafe is a spoiled rich boy who wants to find the treasure so he can grow up to be just like Nathan Drake one day and has major cock…er… treasure hunting envy.

Nadine is a badass mercenary with an entire army backing her (all the Shoreline bad guys you get to take out throughout the game) no love for anyone, she just wants the money and she will kick your ass to get it. No really, be prepared to get schooled more than once in hand-to-hand combat against this chick. Your ego will get tarnished, because there’s no way to win. She wipes the floor with Nate so many times, I was embarrassed for him.

Bonuses:

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You get to play Crash Bandacoot on an old PS1. Twice!

There’s a bonus Epilogue chapter at the end where you get to play yet another character, but I can’t tell you who it is without spoiling it.

Final Review:

Good graphics, many kudos for the attention to detail. Loved the stealth and broader open world – BUT – for a Finale, this definitely did not go out with a bang. I’m quite disappointed, especially knowing that it was undoubtedly a major project to put together. Unfortunately, there were too many cut scenes and more ‘traversing’ than anything else, to include puzzle solving, which is supposed to be Nathan’s thing and the few puzzles I did come across were far too easy to figure out. Even with the help of Nathan’s journal, all of the previous game’s puzzles were quite challenging. This was a major letdown for me.

Would I play it again? Probably, because I didn’t find all of the relics and journal entries, but it will be awhile before I do that.

Next on my TBP list: Rise of a Tomb Raider (now that Xbox has lost its exclusivity) and the new Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue – which made me squeal like a schoolgirl when I saw it was coming out- and now it is! I’m so excited!!!!

But for now… back to writing, before there’s a mutiny. 😉

All images were found on the internet and I do not own any rights to them, the story, game or the characters mentioned in this post.