‘INFAMOUS: SECOND SON’ (T)
Sony Computer Entertainment
The Infamous games are all about the thrill of exploring a vast open city while simultaneously exploring an expanding set of superpowers. As graffiti-spraying-delinquent-turned-super-powered-mutant Delsin Rowe, you’ll have the entire city of Seattle as your own personal playground and the handy ability to absorb the powers of other “Conduits” like you. These powers include turning yourself into a wisp of smoke or zapping enemies with neon beams of energy — both of which make gorgeous use of flashy particle effects graphics. And as Delsin’s powers evolve, so too does his freedom of movement, with the parkour of the game’s earlier levels eventually developing into the full-fledged ability to soar from skyscraper to skyscraper. Ultimately, the shape your superpowered skillset takes depends largely on whether you use if for good or evil. And there’s pretty much no middle ground there.
Second Son features a series of extremely unambiguous morality choices, and whether you choose to do the right thing or the wrong thing, you should continue to do so consistently. If you take care to incapacitate people without harming them, you’ll unlock more nonlethal powers that’ll allow you to do that more easily. Likewise, if you kill indiscriminately, your new powers will cater to that kind of approach. Because of this, the game warrants two play-throughs — once as a superhero and once as a super-villain. Either way, the narrative will offer plenty of melodrama. Second Son takes itself far more seriously than its predecessors (and far too seriously, given the corniness of the dialogue). But as long as you can ignore the weaker elements of the story, Second Son offers addictive action, a beautifully detailed cityscape to explore and an almost unprecedented sense of freedom.
‘DYNASTY WARRIORS 8: XTREME LEGENDS COMPLETE EDITION’ (T)
Tecmo Koei Games
The king of all button-mashers makes its first appearance on PlayStation 4, and it’s essentially the exact same experience that it was on PlayStation 3. And PlayStation 2. And PlayStation. Limitless hordes of warriors swarm over your ridiculously overpowered avatar as he slices through them like a flaming battle-axe through butter. The roster this time around includes an excessive 80 playable characters — most of which handle the same and all of which can level entire armies with their eyes closed. Though it includes all expansions, this is otherwise the same Dynasty Warriors 8 that hit PS3 last year, and it looks it.
‘TOWERFALL ASCENSION’ (E10+)
Matt Makes Games Inc.
Sort of a 16-bit Smash Bros., TowerFall Ascension puts you and three plat-forming buddies in a 2D arena to frantically battle to the death. Each character is armed with a bow and a limited number of arrows, so you hop from platform to platform, firing at your friends while dodging their shots and rushing to pick up and reuse every arrow that failed to hit its mark. It’s a simple premise, and it’s absurdly fun. In keeping with the retro style of the game, there’s no online multiplayer, so you’ll have to squeeze three friends onto your couch and let those arrows fly. CV
Matthew Scott Hunter studied video games extensively while attending the University of Nevada Reno and Vancouver Film School (despite the fact that video games were not part of either school’s curriculum). He has been writing Sore Thumbs since 2004.