Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Infamous: Second Son Review

Review of Infamous: Second Son

Well the eighth generation of video game consoles has officially begun, and now that we’re more than four months into the thing, now seems like a great time to take stock and see what they have to offer!  Microsoft’s Xbox One is as big as 12 science textbooks and about twice as expensive, Nintendo built an iPad into the Wii U’s controller, and Sony’s PS4 has one good game.  Oh I can just feel the money loosening from my wallet already.  But thanks to the people of the O’Donnell family (who leave their door unlocked and don’t have a security system), I was able to play Infamous: Second Son on PS4.  Had to delete the kid’s profile and make my own, though.  I think his name was Dom.  More like DUMB am I right?  I’m sorry.  It’s not nice to joke about dead kids.

Infamous Second Son tells the story of X-men meets Avatar: The Last Airbender.  There are people with special powers called conduits who can manipulate certain elements, and some guy in a stupid hat named Delsin discovers that he is not only a conduit, but that he can take the powers of other conduits as well.  Then some mean lady from the United States Conduit-Imprisoning Asshole Administration comes to his home, puts evil magic conduit rocks in all of his friends’ legs, and he has to track her down and stop her.  The plot is pretty thin but it does the job.  It’s well acted, it picks up quickly, and it keeps a decent pace throughout.  Kind of like how little Dom O’Donnell kept a decent pace as I was chasing him through the woods with a rusty chainsaw.  What was I talking about again?

Oh yeah, the gameplay.  This is where Infamous: Second Son really shines.  I expect that after finishing Infamous 2 a few years back, the dev team went into the conference room, drank a whole lot of coffee, and then wrote the word “VARIETY” in big letters on the whiteboard.  Delsin picks up four powers over the course of the game, Smoke, Neon, Video, and Concrete.  They seem to be stretching the definition of what qualifies as an element a fair bit but they’re all fun powers so I’ll let it slide.  The mean ol’ government has taken over Seattle, so you use these powers to quickly traverse the Seattle sandbox, fight off evil concrete powered government agents, and blow up their massive, concrete, and rather phallic bases they put all over the map.  Gross.  The powers all feature some kind of mobility, (e.g. smoke gives you a short range dash, video gives you pixelated wings to glide around on) a blast to shoot from your hands (e.g. big concrete blasts or neon sniper beams) and some other extra power (neon shoots a grenade that makes people float when they get hit).  Every power is unique, incredibly fun to use, and the visual effects on all of them are absolutely stunning.

But while the powers are all fun to use, some feel a bit haphazardly designed.  If I said “invisibility” for example, what power would you expect that to correspond to?  Smoke, right?  But nope, they gave it to video.  Or how about slow-motion?  I would think video because of the prevalence of slow-mo in games and movies.  Nope!  Neon has slow-mo.  Additionally, the concrete power is completely underwhelming.  It functions essentially the same as smoke except that the mobility power it gives you is to jump a little higher.  Yippee. 

Another issue is that beside the main story missions and then clearing out the city, the side missions leave a lot to be desired.  “Find the hidden cameras!  Pick out the secret agent in this crowd!  Feed the ducks!” Riveting stuff, Infamous, now can I please murder some people?  It’s been a week since the last real life one and I need some virtual violence to keep the voices at bay. 

But most of these are just minor nitpicks surrounding a very solid core.  Kind of like how Jeremy Barnes has a big nose and a gargantuan adam’s apple but it doesn’t really detract too much from his overall sexiness (hey Jear-bear, call me.)  Overall, Infamous Second Son is lacking in a few areas but makes up for most of its faults through sheer variety and fun.  All five of you on campus that have a PS4 should go buy this game now. It’s more fun than a barrel of monkey brains.  That’s how the saying goes, right?
(No seriously Jeremy, call me.  I need your help, this kid I adopted from the liquor store parking lot keeps crying about missing his parents or something and it’s really loud and annoying.)