inFAMOUS Second Son: Good Karma or Evil Karma?
About a month after the release of Second Son, the big topic of the game is about the game's karma system. Many people who are about to start the game may be wondering, "should I choose good karma or evil karma?"
After recently finishing my second playthrough of the game, I have now experienced both choices first-hand and I am here to shed some light on this question with a breakdown of the differences you will experience based on your choice. I will try my best to leaking any spoilers seeing how this is intended for people who are just starting; however, this article is also useful for people who wonder what they missed by not picking a certain option.
Overall, I would say I found evil karma to be a more convenient playthrough. It is a lot easier to level up your evil karma level because anybody can be turned into an evil action. When you choose good karma, you only raise your karma during battle if you have a way to subdue enemies, and you need to find good karma actions on the map. Also, it is easy to accidentally kill a civilian or something like that and have a negative impact on your karma.
On the contrary, when playing with evil karma, all kills count towards your rampage and you can go ahead and just kill random civilians to boost your karma. Also, most good karma events on the map can be used for evil karma by just executing people you were supposed to save.
This is not to say that it is necessarily easier on evil karma. Your karma does level faster, but that does not mean you will kill enemies faster or anything like that. It just means you might not have to put in as much effort.
For the most part, the story is very similar, regardless of which path you choose. Having said that, the differences that do occur are mostly in the cutscenes and what the other characters think of you.
If you choose good karma, your tribe will generally be a lot more accepting of you. They will want you back home and rejoice when you get home. If you choose evil karma, they do not have the same reaction. I won't ruin the story here, but let's just say they are not pleased with what you have done.
As far as the other conduits go, for the most part it did not make a difference. Delsin and Fetch establish a more intimate relationship if you choose evil karma, but Eugene pretty much stays the same.
The important thing to note is that there are no major impacts on the story, there is no main character that dies only on one karma choice or anything like that. If you would like the feeling of esteem that comes from crowds cheering and supporting you, then pick good karma because, naturally, people don't like you when you are evil.
This is probably what you are putting the most weight on for your karma choice; although, it is still a fairly subtle difference. It is important to note that there are no powers that are karma-dependent; however, there are upgrades to said powers that are.
Originally, I had planned to write a list of each individual karma-dependent power upgrade and do a break-down of the two karmas; however, I soon realized that this list was going to be much more extensive than I first planned. Also, most of the upgrades actually counteract each other, to the point where they don't make a difference.
So, I decided that I will, instead, just run through a quick breakdown of the differences I found noticeable when I was playing. There are only a couple that really make a difference.
Laser Insight - Neon
While collecting core relays for neon abilities you will come across one of my favourite abilities: Laser Insight. This ability basically provides for an instant subdue or instant kill (you can do either, but you should probably do the one that corresponds to your karma choice).
To give a quick breakdown of the ability itself, when you zoom in, your character highlights weak points on the enemy. Some of the powerful enemies do not have weak points because of their armor, but most of them do.
When you zoom in, 3 weak spots appear. Two of these spots are blue, the enemy's feet, and one is red, the enemy's head. If you shoot the red spot, the enemy is instantly executed and, if you shoot the blue spots, the enemy is instantly subdued.
This is where I found evil karma a lot nicer. First off, you just shoot the head and they die; however, for good karma, you have to shoot BOTH feet before they go down. Having said that though, the feet are larger targets because it encompasses their entire boots, pretty much up to their knees. Also, the head is more obstructed of a target because there is no laser penetration, if their shoulder gets in the way then you do not get the headshot.
As a little added bonus for evil karma, though, the head is usually visible. A general rule of thumb for 90% of the time is that the head is the first body part you see. When they are behind barriers, you can acquire that headshot, but the feet are buried behind the barrier.
One of the nice things about good karma is that you get a couple of abilities that heal you. Fairly easy tasks, too, such as dashing through a vent. There is not much to say about this other than the fact that it does not make a huge difference, but there are a couple times where it saved me; however, I do not know for sure that I would have died in those situations anyways. I just know I dashed, got healed, and did not die.
So, Good Karma or Evil Karma?!
Okay, I get it, you came here for an answer, not all my blabber. The problem is, I cannot make that decision for you. If you skipped down here and do not want to read a whole article, or if you still are not sure, then do not worry about it.
Each karma has its advantages and disadvantages, but nothing is game-changing. Also, it's a pretty short game. It is not unreasonable to say that you will probably have time to try both; however, if you aren't the type to play games twice, then your gut decision at this point should be fine.
If you truly cannot decide, then I would say that the story should have the biggest impact on your decision. If you choose good karma, you will feel like a hero who is loved, if you choose evil karma, you will feel like you are powerful, in control, and despised.