Save the Native American tribe to which we belong, or sacrifice them all. Not an easy choice, but nonetheless a choice that will define our experience in Infamous: Second Son. Thanks to Sucker Punch we're once again endowed with powers that would make the X-Men green with envy, and we constantly have to decide whether to use them for the right or wrong reasons.
Both options may have their allure, but this time we decide to let the series' new protagonist Deslin Rowe play Mother Theresa with his superpowers. The game's background is that the U.S. government tasks the Department of Unified Protection to deal with bio-terrorists; people with super powers who, like the X-Men, are misunderstood by a fearful populace. Rowe has no idea that he belongs to them until the game's start, when he absorbs the abilities of one - much like X-Men's Rogue, he can use the powers of other Conduits.
It comes in handy, because the DUP has transformed the U.S. into a fascist society in which the state has far too much influence over people's lives, and monitoring them has reached unprecedented levels. Despite the DUP being created to do away with people who have remarkable abilities, they themselves have people with powers in their ranks. You can sense an incipient conspiracy story brewing, but also realize that if we are to defeat an army of superheroes, we'd better start boosting our arsenal.
That sums up much of the grandeur of Infamous: Second Son. We quickly get more and more abilities and after only a few hours can transform into a cloud of smoke and, at supersonic speed, move between Seattle's skyscrapers, every now and then raining down death on unsuspecting DUP soldiers plus... paint graffiti. Rowe never forgets his heritage and his actions are often tied to that. It gives the story an extra dimension that is aided further by well executed cutscenes and great voice acting.
Just like in WWII title Saboteur, it's satisfying to kill off the rabble from each place, and as you move around you always have a number indicating how much control the DUP have in the area. By destroying their cameras, blowing up radars and demolishing their provisional bases in the streets, you can loosen their grip on each neighbourhood.
Unfortunately, this is also one of the bad things with Infamous: Second Son: you're expected to do the same procedure a few too many times.
There is not enough variation of enemies, while missions are often the same but in different neighbourhoods - destroy the DUP, kill off the drug dealers who do not like your presence and find shards that give you new abilities.
As your superpowers enhance, battles become more dynamic than in other sandbox games. It's more fun to get around in the city and you never want for things to do. Like in Crackdown, it's fun to create your own challenges and check out what weird stuff you can pull off. Also plus points for the faithful recreation of Seattle - the artistic take on the city is still true to reality.
Having visited Seattle several times it's a pleasure revisiting the real world locations recreated here, climbing up the Space Needle gives you a brilliant view of one of the best cities in the world (according to us). However, the city could have done with more life, pedestrians and cars and for those who are there to react more to what's going on around. It pulls you out of the illusion of patrolling a living, breathing city every now and then.
The story in this third Infamous title is clearly the best in the series and we find ourselves actually caring how everything ends. Coupled with the fact that Rowe becomes more powerful with the additional superpowers, we found it difficult to put the controller down and stop playing.
Sure, it would have been better with more varied missions, but ultimately Infamous: Second Son lives up to and surpasses its predecessors.
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