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InFamous: Second Son is dull.
Sometimes, it’s arduous. At almost all times, it’s underwhelming. The only innovation to be found is in its knack for being somehow less than the sum of its parts.
It’s also the best InFamous game.
Bald Man is gone. Instead we have Hat Man, who’s much more fun to be around. He yelps approvingly when you make him do something cool. He’s as much a tourist of Sucker Punch’s superhero Seattle as you are, and he’s loving every second. It’s difficult for such enthusiasm to not be infectious.
It gives you everything the best open-worlders give you, too. The orb collection gameplay loop of Crackdown, the aerobatic thrills of Assassin’s Creed, the world map with its districts and attached percentages denoting how many of the ‘Things you have Done’, yearning to be brought down to zero, the cutscenes to justify it all. Right components, all present.
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And yet, though it now makes a much more valiant attempt to earn your attention than before, it’s still making the same mistake.
Six out of ten.
Then, something wonderful happens. A cinematic with a girl. She shoots pink lasers from her arms. And all of a sudden, so can you. The power set completely changes after the first quarter of the game, from ‘smoke’ – dull, jumpy shooty smoke – to something called ‘neon’.
You suck the very photons out of lit-up signs, and shoot them at people. And then you can RUN. Oh man, can you run. A couple of well spent upgrade points later bags an infinite dash that has you swooping over obstacles, running up skyscrapers, leaving a brilliant hot-pink trail in your wake. The chore of getting to activities becomes the thrill of aiming vaguely for a map marker and dive-bombing some gits in a fabulous fluorescent explosion of justice. Hundred-percenting an area no longer takes frustrated hours, but exhilarating minutes.
It utterly changes the game. Arduous no more. Underwhelming no more. Fun. Joy. In InFamous. The novelty alone is worth a punt.
It took about 6 hours to get Neon powers.
Seven out of ten.
Played for 6 hours. Then another 10.