‘Infamous: Second Son’ thrills more than disappoints

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“With great power comes great responsibility.”

The average moviegoer would likely recognize that quote from the popular 2002 film, “Spider-Man.” However, the phrase may better suit no other piece of entertainment more than Sucker Punch Production’s latest game, “Infamous: Second Son.”

On one hand, Sucker Punch was tasked with crafting the biggest and most anticipated PlayStation 4 title since its launch last November, and on the other hand stands the game’s narrative itself.

The result is an experience that is both impressive and disappointing at the same time. Yet, the game still finds a way to shine amidst a number of glaring faults, giving fans a good taste of what future exclusives may hold.

“Infamous: Second Son” is the third main installment of the “Infamous” franchise. Designed with Sony’s newest console in mind, players assume a new role as Delsin Rowe, a troubled young delinquent who accidentally comes across super-human powers that make him a “Conduit,” or “bio-terrorist” according to the public thanks to propaganda from the leader of a new government police force called the Department of Unified Protection.

As the story unfolds, Rowe must deal with the alarming threat of the D.U.P. while learning what it means to be a misunderstood misfit in Seattle by meeting others much like him.

Rather than delve into the lore of the first two titles, Sucker Punch admirably went for a new character in a new city, and it certainly pays off.

The writing of “Infamous: Second Son” is direct, humorous and emotional, aided by the jaw-dropping mo-cap of the voice actors.

The story’s most welcomed quality, though, may be how it advances the gameplay. As Rowe learns how to use and handle his new powers, the game strategically gives players new powers to interact with. By the end of the game, players will be able to look back at the evolution of their powers, how you use them and in what situations each becomes a must.

Speaking of gameplay, “Infamous: Second Son” plays silky smooth. Whether one is gliding across the city or firing chunks of rock at enemies, players always feel in control.

But all the control in the world cannot help the one-dimensional, mission-to-mission structure that this game boasts. For an open-world game, “Infamous: Second Son” feels constricted, almost as if all the action was put into a small box and dropped in a huge city.

Sure, players can traverse the recreated version of Seattle. They will be impressed, too. It’s spacious and absolutely stunning. However, there’s always this lingering sense that this Seattle is, well, empty.

There is little interaction outside the D.U.P. checkpoints, and the tedious side missions add little-to-no value to the already short eight to 10-hour campaign.

It is frustrating at times to fly across the city and not be able to truly explore it besides its aesthetics. Perhaps Sucker Punch had to forfeit some designs to get the game out in the PlayStation 4 launch window. Or maybe the “limitations” just fit conveniently in their design structure of players’ powers being within the world. But it feels like a lost opportunity.

As much as I felt held back during my time with “Infamous: Second Son,” I found myself invested equally so. The game is big and beautiful like a next-generation game should be, but its most impressive qualities are its excellent writing, performances and gameplay that almost anyone can pick up and enjoy.

Perhaps “Infamous: Second Son” isn’t the console-exclusive killer that PlayStation fans hoped it would be, but even that cannot overshadow what is an enjoyable experience. I give “Infamous: Second Son” a 3 1/2 out of five stars.

Tate Steinlage is a sophomore in mass communications. Please send all comments to edge@kstatecollegian.com.

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