inFAMOUS: Second Son is one of the PS4 exclusives that fans have been watching very closely, resulting in a very high level of anticipation being built prior to the games launch. Many expected it to be the best of the early PS4 exclusives and to become one of the first “must-own” titles on the system, but has it lived up to the hype surrounding it?

The most impressive element of the game is most certainly its graphical performance and presentation. The environment, world design and lighting effects are some of the best ever seen in a console game, and could possibly remain the best we will see for quite some time. As Delsin pulls the energy from different sources, the lighting and particles change dynamically. This is enacted through a very smooth and impressive effect, which has clearly been tweaked to perfection by Sucker Punch. The various combat options and powers bestowed upon Delsin give the team scope to show off the raw power of the PS4 system, and its ability to render complex particle effects and animations.

Not only are the effects spectacular, but so is the world in which they appear. A phenomenal amount of detail have been afforded to the city, and this enhances the realism of the game. You can behold the stellar water effects in the small puddles present on many of the roads, the unique signs and artwork plastered over the buildings and the huge variety of plants decorating many of the public areas in the city. Many players will not notice the work which has gone into creating this deep, vivid world, as they will be too focused on the gameplay.

On the topic of gameplay, karma is one of the less enjoyable features in the game. Soon after beginning the game, you are given a choice to make. One of the options will put you on the path to good karma, while the second option will put you on the evil path of bad karma. Unfortunately, once you choose one there isn’t really any going back. To truly progress and do well in the game, you must stick with this karma option. The game punishes players who stay in between the two karma levels by not allowing them to upgrade certain attacks and abilities. The game forces you to stick with either good or evil, and it is difficult to play if you stay in between the two. That being said, the decisions to be made are very easy, and you should have no problem choosing. If you want an easier game, I would personally think the evil option will suit you.

Second Son has similar gameplay to its predecessors, and mainly focuses on you using the powers which you have absorbed. Sometimes, you will be required to find certain new powers before you can progress in the game. Outside of this, there is not much of a difference between the effectiveness of different abilities and you should be able to survive with any one of them. I was hoping for a more strategically-based system, however, it seems Second Son leaves it to you to decide which power to use in each case. I have not come across any battle which requires the use of one particular power. Nevertheless, the game is still features a fun, yet sometimes challenging combat system.

The dialogue and characters are also two high points of the game. The animation of the game’s characters has been handled very well, and their facial movements and expressions are very accurate. This truly helps add further depth to an already realistic title. Body language is another impressive inclusion by the development team. When all of these small, high-detailed characteristics come together, they make a big impact on the overall polish and presentation of the game. The dialogue is very well written and provides deep backstories, allowing you to connect to the characters.

Delsin and his brother Reggie are two great characters. They have a complex relationship which is explored in the game to great effect. We quickly learn information about their relationship and, in my case, form an instant connection with them. I was able to relate to their bond and enjoyed learning more about their past as the game went on. This profound backstory is another element which adds depth to the game. However, the other characters in the game do not demonstrate this same level of depth. They feel as if they are not a true part of the story, and were added at a later time. The game quickly branches out to include an antagonist and many other characters, and this partially damages the instant connection formed with the Delsin and Reggie.

One further negative aspect of Second Son is that it feels a bit short. It is not an extremely short title, however, it feels like it ends before you have heard the full story, and it left me with many further questions and a longing for a little more. We won’t ruin any of the story or game events for you, however, we will say that you should certainly play one playthrough on each of the different karma types if you wish to get the maximum amount of information from the game.

Overall, Second Son is a great PS4 exclusive. The graphical aspects of the game along with its presentation are outstanding, however, there are a few negative aspects which cause the game to lose the “must-own” tag. However, it is certainly among the best next-gen games so far, and is most certainly worth a play by owners of a PS4 system.