Karma Bomb: Infamous: Second Son game review
PlayStation 4's first high-caliber exclusive is heroic continuation of beloved series
Game: Infamous: Second Son
Platform: PlayStation 4 (PS4).
Developer: Sucker Punch
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA)
Released: March 21
Power consumes and corrupts. Power attracts and creates. But for Delsin Rowe, power transforms.
Power transforms Delsin (voiced by Troy Baker) from a graffiti artist who vandalizes the American-Indian reservation where he lives to a super hero, or villain, capable of remarkable feats.
It doesn't take long for Delsin's transformation to take place and for him to realize what he can achieve with his newfound power. Delsin absorbs other conduits' abilities like a sponge, which is triggered when he comes into contact with a conduit or bio-terrorist - people with superhuman abilities - toward the onset of the game.
Since the events of Infamous 2, conduits have been branded as bio-terrorists who are tracked, hunted and imprisoned by the newly formed Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P) - led by its concrete crazed leader, Brooke Augustine.
And Delsin uses his ability to absorb other conduits' powers to wage a one-man war against the agency that imprisons his kind. But he isn't alone for long - power attracts.
As the third game in the Infamous series, Second Son is a magnificent game driven by the upgraded power of PS4. The game is by far the best Infamous yet and manages to cram a remarkable amount of character, life and beauty into the series' first departure from Cole MacGrath's electric tale and the hectic chaos that ensues when Seattle is put under martial law by D.U.P.
But as magnificent as it is, Second Son still feels like a familiar, safe continuation of the series and is weighed down by its controller gimmicks and the series' binary decisions.
The game picks up quickly and never falters in momentum through its conclusion - even as players spend hours exploring the city with Delsin's various abilities (completing side missions and finding blast shards, which can be spent to allow Delsin to improve his abilities). But generally, the player just causes mayhem and destruction.
The different sets of abilities that Delsin absorbs throughout the game grant the player multiple ways to traverse the sprawling Seattle landscape and approach most combat situations. Although most of the game allows for player's choice, some confrontations only allow the player to use certain powers.
Nothing in Infamous matches the thrill of unleashing Delsin's full power through one of the game's "Karma Bombs" like the "Orbital Drop" - earned through either heroic or villainous deeds.
There are a few boss fights, a few emotionally charged moments - in which the visual fidelity, audio quality and character rendering capabilities of PS4 shine - and, as always, there are key choices in which the player can choose whether to continue along a gallant or infamous path.
These decisions still feel too polarizing like previous games of the series - you either choose to do something monstrous or something good. And switching your path midway through the game can irrevocably tarnish your progress within it. But seeing Delsin's alteration from start to finish as both a hero and an infamous villain is as satisfying in previous games, if not more so.
Infamous: Second Son not only transforms Delsin, but it also transforms the player. The choice of what to do with this power is up to you.