The console wars are in full swing, and Microsoft gave gamers a lot to get excited about with the launch of Titanfall last month. Sony fired back with its own high-profile console exclusive launch last week, and it’s a fan favorite that’s sure to get PlayStation gamers excited. Infamous: Second Son is a spin-off for what is arguably the best original superhero story ever released as a video game, and it delivers the kind of appeal that could bring new buyers to a platform at a time when supply has finally caught up with demand.
Second Son isn’t tied directly to the main story line of the previous Infamous games; instead, it follows the exploits of another Conduit (Bio-terrorist to the government forces trying to stop them, or superpowered person to the rest of us) as he tries to liberate Seattle and track down his archnemesis to steal her powers. In the process, he acquires not just one, but multiple power sets, which makes it feel a bit like you’re getting three games in one. Luckily, if you’ve been exploring the open world map much at all, getting acclimated and upgraded with each new power set won’t feel like a chore, and despite being different enough, they all have enough similarities to make switching between using each natural enough.
The game is little more than an excuse to use a city as your playground for an extended super-powered romp, with a morality choice engine built in, and entertaining mini-games including the spray painting missions, which make clever use of the PS4’s motion-sensing DualShock controller to mimic using an action spray paint can to deface walls and structures.
Sucker Punch’s work on Infamous: Second Son admittedly feels familiar; you won’t find too much here that wasn’t already present in Infamous or Infamous 2, but that can be a very good thing, and in this case, it is; with strong legacy titles and characters, players aren’t looking for studios to reinvent the wheel, and in fact they mostly want another round of what worked best about the previous versions, with refinements and additions for variety’s sake. Second Son delivers that almost perfectly, maintaining the charm of the original but offering plenty of new stuff to get excited about, and doing so with a story line that’s fresh enough that gamers new to the franchise won’t feel like there’s too much of an information gap to overcome.
This is a title that’s good enough to buy a console for. That’s not to say I necessarily see huge numbers of people seeking out the PS4 just to play Infamous: Second Son, but it is a game that will make those who do decide to pick Sony in the console wars feel justified in their decision. A lot of critics have called out the lack of must-have games for this round of new consoles, but the latest from Sucker Punch should start to quiet some of those voices.