Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One have both been out for months now, and while sales have been massive for both systems (and it’s still very tough to find an available PS4 in stores), the pursuit of the first must-have next-generation game has lingered on. Each system has introduced several fun, engaging games in the past several months, but none has managed to hit all the points that might make it the go-to release.
If you listen to legions of Xbox diehards, you might think the recently released Titanfall is the game to beat in this category, but they’re wrong. Although Microsoft’s tentpole title is often innovative and a must-buy if you already have an Xbox One, it is not the essential next-generation game. It is not the game that will make you run out and buy an Xbox One just to play it, if you don’t already own one.
It’s visually stunning, incredibly entertaining, and quite poignant.
That distinction absolutely goes to Sony’s brand-new game inFAMOUS: Second Son. The sequel in spirit to the PS3’s inFAMOUS and inFAMOUS 2, inFAMOUS: Second Son is the first game for this brand-new group of consoles that will have gamers scrambling to find an available PS4 and gleefully forking over their hard-earned dough to buy one. Developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, it is visually stunning, incredibly entertaining and quite poignant at times. inFAMOUS: Second Son is, easily next-gen’s first must-have game, and here’s why.
Most next-generation titles that have been released for both the PS4 and Xbox One have been pretty great to look at. Visuals, of course, are one of the main selling points with these high-powered consoles, and games like Knack and Titanfall have done a great job of showing them off. None, however, are as visually impressive as the sublimely gorgeous inFAMOUS: Second Son. From detailed shadows and brightly colored neon streaks everywhere, the Department of Unified Protection-controlled city of Seattle has never looked so good. The open-world landscape is a living, breathing environment that makes the game endlessly fun to explore (even when missions get slightly repetitive).
Gameplay is spot-on as well. You might think that speeding through Seattle powered by neon that not only leaves streaks across the massive buildings, but also carries a moving, colorful trail of bright neon behind main character Delsin Rowe would turn inFAMOUS: Second Son into a sputtering, pixelated mess, but you’d be sorely mistaken. There’s nary a dropped frame as you jump, shoot, and glide through the city; even when you gain one of the more visually complicated powers later in the game (which I won’t spoil for you here).
Although the visuals, the seemingly endless open world and gameplay are what really put inFAMOUS: Second Son over the top as the first next-gen must-have, we’d be remiss not to mention just how well the game’s story works. Sure, there are times when it’s a bit overwrought and video-game clichés surface (the moments where gamers can choose to be either good or evil usually actually comes down more to a choice of doing the morally right thing or being the most heinous jerk in the entire world), but the overarching narrative is damned good—leaps and bounds above what we’ve seen in next-generation games. There’s a moment near the game’s end (that we won’t spoil) that we truly thought would be a false twist—one that gamers would see coming a mile away—but inFAMOUS: Second Son carries it through to its more logical conclusion and, for that, the story should be commended.
Any imperfections can easily be overlooked when you realize how effortlessly it is to play, how much fun you’re having playing it, how astonishingly good it looks, and just how much the story’s satisfying ending moved you. inFAMOUS: Second Son is, hands down, the first must-have game for next-generation consoles. Its biggest downside might be that it’s about to consume your entire life for quite a while.
inFAMOUS: Second Son is available for PS4 right now.