LOOK IT: A dreamy knit-capped graffiti tagger with a chip on his shoulder accidentally acquires strange super powers and fights against a hateful world that won’t accept him. A diabolical villainess willing to do anything to stop our heartthrob hero.
Oh, and did I mention that his older brother was a cop?
Add a self destructive love interest and quickfire banter worthy of “Gilmore Girls” and you’ve got a sometimes cheesy game that is part open world superhero adventure, part morality tale.
But Second Son's biggest contribution is the cutting edge visuals it brings to console gaming. Graphically, Second Son, the third in the inFAMOUS game trilogy, is magnificent, showing off the technical capabilities of the new Playstation console.
The game makers at Sucker Punch Productions not only painstakingly recreate Seattle in great detail — from landmarks like the Space Needle, to its light rail system — they also include an insane level of visual detail. Designers, for example, put 168 virtual skeleton joints in the main character's face alone.
Second Son represents Sony's first major game release of the year, less than two weeks after arch rival system Xbox One released Titanfall, which it hoped would boost sales for the lagging system.
In Second Son, you control Delsin Rowe, a young Native American tagger from a reservation outside of Seattle, who after a chance meeting with a super-powered enemy of the state, known as a conduit, is somehow endowed with the same elemental power and the ability to add more.
With these powers, Delsin takes on the heavily-armed government officers charged with killing or controlling conduits, or the army of drug dealers holding court in alleys and under bridges all around the city.
Delsin's brother AKA the voice of reason and others he meets along the way help guide him through both main and side missions.
Second Son retains its karma-based fighting system. In short, gamers get to choose whether Delsin takes the high road and only injures and subdues his foes, or if he goes rogue and violently slays them with his powers. These decision will affect Delsin's karma, determining whether his powers take on a positive (non lethal, though powerful) or negative (death and destruction) slant.
Some side missions, like players creating Banksy-style graffiti lampooning the government troops, are interesting, but pointless. Delsin spray paints a child with an ice cream cone or a two-tone image of old man with an lawnmower. Take that, society!
Second Son eschews some of the more graphic novel elements from the previous games in the series for a more teen soap vibe.
Delsin, with his hipster attire, tattoos and generally rebellious attitude, is clearly aimed to tap into general feelings of teen angst and alienation. It's quite easy to imagine Delsin being played by some Hollywood newcomer with Bieber hair.
That isn't to say there aren't instances of genuine emotion and humor.
While you may find yourself rolling your eyes at the more formulaic dialogue, or gritting your teeth at the awkward camera angles, you will find yourself playing on, not only to see where the story goes, but what other powers Delsin gains.
This game has a high replay value, even if it doesn't break new ground in storytelling.
Buy this game.