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Review

Infamous: Second Son Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS4

Can't find a better man.

Seattle is a police state. Department of Unified Protection director Brooke Augustine has set her fascist government organization loose on the God-fearing populace, abusing her power to round up those with mutant abilities. Unmanned drones patrol the skies, invasive checkpoints detain suspected bio-terrorists, and high-tech surveillance cameras monitor everyone's actions. It's a city built upon fear. The citizens willingly accept their new overlords because so many are scared of their friends and neighbors who are now imbued with superpowers. So when protagonist Delsin Rowe finds that he is able to absorb others' powers, he enters a society ready to pour their hatred upon him. Do you fight those who loathe you? Or free Seattle from the chains of an oppressive dictatorship?

The world of Infamous: Second Son plays upon the recent changes that have taken place within our own society. By offering an exaggerated viewpoint of the safety-over-freedom measures that are now a part of our daily lives, we see how dangerous such a path could be, and how few people rise up if their lives remain comfortable. It's an intriguing setup, but one that fails to stir a strong emotional response. The binary morality doesn't show a balanced angle that could have made you sympathize with the government's actions, even if you disagree with how those rules are enacted, and that one-sided viewpoint turns what should be a hard-hitting situation into one that's difficult to relate to.

You see the situation through the eyes of Delsin. His youth was spent spray painting cartoonish doodles while avoiding the wrath of his older brother, Reggie, a police officer with a firm belief in what's right and what's illegal. Delsin's immaturity is immediately an annoyance as he spouts terrible one-liners while shirking any responsibility. During the first hour of Second Son, you're stuck watching cutscene after cutscene establish the fiction, and that uneven pacing feels like shackles preventing you from exploring this gorgeous world. However, once you're set loose in Seattle, the narrative problems that haunted the early moments fade into the background as you flex your elemental muscles.

Once you're set loose in Seattle, the narrative problems that haunted the early moments fade into the background.

Delsin has a run-in with the escaped conduit Hank, who has smoke coursing through his veins. That chance meeting transforms Delsin from just another forgotten screw-up into the potential savior of a beautiful metropolis. Through the power of smoke, you can turn into a translucent wisp at a moment's notice. Float through air vents to propel yourself from the rain-drenched streets to the striking rooftops or drift like an ethereal shadow among the citizens compelled to fear you. The empowering sense of freedom worms its way into your heart once you realize your unbelievable potential. The slow-paced, methodical movement that defined the two earlier Infamous games has been stripped away here, replaced by a frenetic speed that has you rushing through this open world like a sentient lightning bolt.

Fights are structured for you to take advantage of your extraordinary abilities. Snipers perch upon billboards, armored vans carry reinforcements, and helicopters patrol the skies. Troops have the power of cement to complement their standard arsenal. They construct concrete walls and dive upon you with deadly might, so standing still is an easy way for you to meet a quick end. So you show off your quick feet, drifting into and out of fights, peppering aggressors with flaming missiles while you dance just out of their deadly strikes. Take too much damage, and your view becomes oversaturated while an angelic voice scores the soundtrack of your death. Unlike in previous Infamous games, your health regenerates over time, so knowing when to seek shelter and when to stay aggressive forces you to fight thoughtfully.

Like a neon flash through Seattle.

Second Son has a binary morality system that mirrors the black-and-white decision making from the previous games. If you're a callous jerk, for instance, you can choose to forsake your Native American heritage to avoid punitive measures from Augustine. If you'd rather sleep with a sound conscience, take responsibility for your actions so your tribe doesn't suffer. Without a moral gray area, these choices filter reality through a cartoonish prism where only pure good and unadulterated evil exist. Though these extreme decisions feel totally disconnected from reality, the manner in which this dichotomy exists within the framework of combat adds serious weight to your every action.

The empowering sense of freedom worms its way into your heart once you realize your unbelievable potential.

Delsin earns a single-use, screen-clearing attack no matter which side of the morality coin you fall on. When you play as a hero, you must tread with a light touch. You need to subdue enemies with smoke handcuffs instead of killing them off, and make sure you direct your attacks away from ordinary citizens. If you fail to follow these basic rules, your chain breaks, and your chance to use your most powerful attack disappears. On the villainous side, chaos is the key to earning that most treasured of prizes. Not only must you kill every attacker, but you must do so as quickly as possible. If you spend too much time between conquests, your multiplier vanishes, so you must act as aggressively as possible, indiscriminately exterminating anyone who moves.

Such opposing play styles better communicated who my Delsin was than the many tired cutscenes that encompass the rest of the narrative. During my first playthrough, I was as good as possible, so I fought with a methodical, thoughtful air that made me consider each flaming missile that I lobbed. I used restraint. When my health diminished, I hid in the shadows so as not to succumb to the angry forces. After a hectic victory, I would look upon the battlefield with wry satisfaction. My enemies lay prone before me, chained to the ground, left to think about the path they had chosen. I was both victorious and righteous. The citizenry recognized my efforts, and celebrated me when I walked the streets. I was a hero in action and word, and their fears of the unknown slowly dissipated.

Chaining enemies to the ground with element number 10.

It was during my second time through that I took the evil route and realized the extent of my extraordinary powers. No longer did I hold back. When an armored van would arrive, I would immediately toss missiles toward it, unconcerned about the collateral damage that would result. Overwhelmed enemies would surrender, desperate for respite, and as they walked toward me with arms raised above their heads, I would maniacally laugh as I lit their heads on fire. When bullets pierced me from every direction, I would grow angry, becoming even more reckless as I desperately tried to fill my kill quota. No one was safe when my Delsin was around. And the citizens who were taught to fear me yelled hateful remarks as I walked through the streets. The dumb ones, at least. I killed my share of loose-lipped normals.

Combat strikes a happy balance between the slow-paced affairs of the first Infamous and the overly chaotic endeavors of Infamous 2. Second Son offers speed with a purpose. So fine-tuned are your actions that you move with blinding speed and yet are always aware of your surroundings. Ensuring the action stays hectic without becoming overbearing is an extraordinary accomplishment, so much so that I happily played through twice only to still remain hungry for more. As I sprinted up the sides of buildings and called in explosive strikes, Second Son felt less like another Infamous and more like a new entry in the Prototype franchise. It's so fast, so frenetic, and so gloriously over the top that it makes the old days of Cole McGrath slowly climbing buildings seem like a distant memory.

The citizens who were taught to fear me yelled hateful remarks as I walked through the streets.

Delsin gains access to more powers beyond the smoke you start off with, and each transforms both the action and locomotion in interesting ways. You might employ a slow-motion effect to corral your enemies in a precise manner, or mix stealth into your explosive encounters to keep enemies guessing, and such twists ensure that each showdown keeps you thinking up new tactics as you revel in the destructive glory. Sadly, the powers don't branch in interesting ways depending on your moral choices, so though combat plays out in different ways, the weapons you use are nearly identical.

Somewhere in Seattle hides a mural commemorating Sucker Punch's past.

Missions present scenarios that urge you to fight in inventive ways. The myriad ways in which you flex your combat prowess left me glued to the screen as I eagerly overcame every roadblock in my way. Bosses mirror the brilliance of the normal forays by compelling you to move with speed and precision as you mount a hellacious counterattack. Fights stretch on longer than I expected, but instead of being tedious wars of attrition, they instead kept me riveted as I tried to perfect my craft. Standing up to my overpowered foes for these long battles felt like a victory well earned, and I was happy with the assortment of bosses on offer through the course of this adventure.

Second Son has top-notch combat that expertly melds substance with style. But despite the speed that separates this from previous games in the franchise, there's a feeling of familiarity that's impossible to shake. The Seattle in Second Son offers a stark contrast to the direction recent open-world games have taken. This is not a living, breathing world that you inhabit. Rather, it's a playground for you to go nuts in. The people who populate the world exist only for your benefit, so it never feels like a real city. It's an anachronistic return to what sandbox games used to be, and represents an approach that I still enjoy more than the serious options that populate store shelves. Still, I couldn't help yearning for more concrete improvements to what I've already experienced. The cutting-edge visuals are laid over a decade-old formula that is still fun though sadly showing its age.

That certainly didn't prevent me from getting 100 percent on both a good and an evil playthrough. Side missions nicely complement your story efforts so you have plenty of reason to roam if you want to spend more time in pristine Seattle. Second Son is not the tedious collect-a-thon that many open-world games are. Extra activities are clearly labeled on the map, so instead of wandering aimlessly around the rainy streets, you focus on maximizing your enjoyment. My favorite detour was spray painting inspiring messages on walls. Sure, the act of tilting the motion-enabled controller at the stencils was hardly thrilling, but seeing what artistic propaganda Delsin cooked up was always a treat.

The view from above is as dizzying as it is breathtaking.

Creating graffiti isn't the only way an unusual control scheme is used. During context-sensitive situations, you must manipulate the touchpad, and though this sounds incredibly gimmicky, it actually added to my immersion. Swiping to open a door to free those suspected of being conduits engaged me more than pushing a button could, as did holding my thumbs firmly on the pad as Delsin grabbed a generator he was trying to destroy. Employing controls different from the norm is always a tricky endeavor, and Sucker Punch did a great job of ensuring these little moments added to the experience rather than distracting from your actions.

Second Son focuses on pure enjoyment. It communicates that through the excellent combat that forces you to concoct crazy tactics to overthrow the invading forces. It draws you in further through its incredible visuals that not only hint at the PlayStation 4's impressive power, but employ a sensible artistic touch that makes Seattle a place you want to explore. It uses a complementary score to underline dramatic moments, and the sound effects pop with flair. And yet, for all of the elements in which Second Son excels, the narrative fails to carry its share of the weight. Still, don't become mired in the negativity as Delsin so often does. Instead, just laugh at the cheesy dialogue and chortle at how extreme the morality system is. Second Son is a great game that knows exactly what it is, and sucks you in with its unfiltered fun.

The Good
Dynamic, fast-paced combat
Breathtaking visual design
Side missions offer a fun diversion
Exciting boss fights
Moral alignment determines how to excel in fights
The Bad
Black-and-white morality is overly simplistic
Delsin is an annoying character
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for inFamous: Second Son

About the Author

Tom adores the chaotic frenzy of the Infamous franchise. He played through Second Son twice for this review, getting 100 percent both times. It took him 16 hours his first time through as a good Delsin on medium and 10 hours the second time as an evil Delsin on expert.

Discussion

2469 comments
dmblum1799
dmblum1799

You can get the game for pretty much half price and it's worth it if you have a ps4. I had a bit of trouble getting into it but the combat is key. Very worth my 30 bucks.

rebfaction
rebfaction

I love this, once I got into this game it's a great game fan to play. love the characters, graphics, and story 

daviz88
daviz88

good game but a step back from its prdecessor

jellyman68
jellyman68

Really enjoying this game at the moment. I think it's a bit cheap of the reviewer to state that he finds Delsin annoying as he's a character that's clearly aimed at a target audience, and as far as I can tell it worked very well and most people like him.

It's a game that certainly rewards people for sticking with it too. I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it for the first 4 hours or so but it got better and better as I played on. Now having fun sprinting through the city at light speed, turning invisible, fighting beastly DUP agents with my digital sword, etc.

yamahagr
yamahagr

if this game take 8 nad if this game is next gen game then iam the anticrist

supersonic125
supersonic125

Play it for a day , didn't hold my interest, took it back the next day.

tim1935
tim1935

Loved this game!!!  Got all the trophies.  I think it deserved a 9.  I would give a 10 if there were more variety in enemies and things to do.  I don't particularly like the Papertrail missions though (neat concept but takes you away from the game way too long digging through monotonous webpages).

GWA17
GWA17

You need to give this game a bit of time before you give up on it and then it gets extremely fun. Great game and Delsin is NOT annoying in the least I like the character he's entertaining. 

jecomans
jecomans

How do the boss fights count as exciting? They are the worst part of the game, especially the finale. I can't think of many other games so thoroughly nerfing their strengths to force in some boss arenas like SS does. It would have been good to have a longer campaign; maybe utilize the interesting side-kicks they spent all that time introducing. It seems to me that a little too much of the budget went to making sure it looked amazing. It's so much fun to play, though, when they unleash you upon the city, it's a shame SP dropped the ball at the end. 

lithium023
lithium023

I can honestly say this game blows goats, you get tired of your little powers for your weapon preaty fast and realy just want a gun and for that I give this piece of garbage 1 out of 10   

RyogaRod
RyogaRod

Game has gotten better as it goes along.

windzorite
windzorite

As I was playing I tried looking for how delsin was so annoying but didn't find it. Likes his character Closest I cam to disliking him is when I played as a evil delsin.

sullvader
sullvader

Yeah I really don't get what people dislike so much about Delsin I got the game expecting to have a problem with the character but I don't see what the problem is I quite like the guy! Also the paper trail fee DLC is possibly one of the best things I have ever played on any platform, if you include this in your rating there is no way this game scores less than 9 for me its a 9.4 far more than expected. 

anarky23
anarky23

Not liking the main character is subjective and should not be a reason to take off points!

Xero1246
Xero1246

well that's your opinion Mr Reviewer, Delsin is a brilliant character

Oinker
Oinker

Does this game have rag-doll physics (or any kind of equivalent)? It doesn't seem like it does, which makes me want it less.

thecman25
thecman25

"Delsin is an annoying character" that's just stupid Delsin is an amazing character

Feeder16
Feeder16

Echo the it's a short game comments, managed to platinum it fairly quickly. Not to mention it's the first game I have ever got a platinum trophy on. If you could skip the cutscenes I bet you could finish this in four hours.

Dragerdeifrit
Dragerdeifrit

good game but i finished it the same day i bought it... and i dont even play that much, and i couldnt care less about repetitive sidemissions, please revert back to ps2 graphics but give me a 20 hour game... please ; ;

Xirtahm
Xirtahm

I hit Platinum in less than 3½ days.  Great fun, I won't argue that, but this is definitely the easiest, tiniest game in the series.

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

Right now I got about 70 percent of the trophies. Gonna do that evil expert run now probably. Excellent game all in all. Very similar to the previous entries in core gameplay (whether that's good or bad is for you to decide) but huge graphical boost obviously. There isn't a ton of freedom and sometimes doing side missions straddles the line between fun and 'just going tnrough the motions' but when its all clicking this game is a blast. I'm just hoping I won't have to do all the side missions again now. I think they could have either sped up the tagging or made it more complex and the other side quests are not too original. I actually enjoyed the hidden camera ones. Coles legacy was decent and you get his jacket which is cool. I started really enjoying paper trail and then it ended! I will have to go online to check that out.

chitosan87
chitosan87

I don't why so many people love this game. This game is slight different from its prequel and quite similar with Prototype. I played the first game, took me 15 mins to ditch the game. So boring ...


Perhaps I put so much expectation to it. But somehow, it doesn't feel really Fresh

sampson3121
sampson3121

funny, the other day i watched a live stream of some guy with about 500k subscribers play second son for the first time.

he ran around the first base like a chicken with his head cut off looking for smoke to suck up. people were telling him to go on top of the roof, and he didn't even read his chat room. he put the controller down and said he gives up, and that he wasn't impressed by the game. my 10 yr old son finished that base in 5 minutes. it was painful to watch. he came on about 10 mins later with titanfall. are all titanfall xbots that stupid?

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

How is the content? Will I be bored in 3 days. I was considering a PS4 but I have been trying to find a game that could sell me. I didn't like Uncharted because I finished it in 3 days and did almost everything possible in the game. I was told by my buddy it was too short. I want to hear more opinions?

Coldpain
Coldpain

*Possible Spoiler Alert* I'm doing my expert run as "good" Delsin. I think the extended duration of invisibility will ultimately make it easier to complete.

epicdrome
epicdrome

Game lacks. I compare this game to prototype. Why give the enemy guns and show the weapons on the ground after killing them whithout the ability to pick up and use them. Prototype you had super human powers but could still use enemy guns as well. Really was not worth the money in my own opinion. Hopefully watchdogs will be good. Just seems next gen games are trash right now. Developers just wanted to rush games out for the console not using it's full potential. On another note. this has to be the only game I have ever played that does not utilize every button on the controller. How do you make a game using only 80% of available buttons? As I said.. Just a game to put out on the market for PS and nothing more. Good games will arrive in a few years using the PS4 and xbox1 full potential. 

blackzio
blackzio

i was expecting to get bored near the end. but i just wanted more. now it's time to play evil on expert. is there any word on dlc for this game? 

ninboxstation
ninboxstation

is anyone else having troubles, with the "connecting to the Paper Trail Part 1"??... (after the "crime scene")

ninboxstation
ninboxstation

they should have made two Infamous SS versions, one with Deslin and on with Fetch.... (and with the Limited Edtion version with Fetch, instead of getting Deslins cap, you get a pink wig...)


you can only start one version with one character, but after finishing it (maybe on expert?), you can then play the other characters too..

ninboxstation
ninboxstation

I prefere sofar fighting with the "smoke" powers  (good Deslin), but fooling around with the "neon" powers is cool... (it'sjust OO watching him "neon" run anywhere....)

lyncer777
lyncer777

At least in terms of graphics/visuals, inFamous SS does not disappoint! what you see is what you get, unlike Watch Dogs... 


~I dont want to set the world on fire~ 


Peace brothers... and sisters.

Virdentaucent4
Virdentaucent4

@sullvader  The reviewer is a bit melodramatic. Some people's thresholds are just miniscule for certain aspects of a character, such as how cocky/sour they are. What I really hate is the reviewer proclaiming WE will hate the character, instead of objectively stating what the character's personality is like. It's fine for a reviewer to state THEY do not care for the personality, but to make a proclamation what other people will feel is as cocky and arrogant as this reviewer seems to feel about the game's protagonist.

No reviewer should tell us what we will/won't like about something particularly subjective like personality, WE the audience and customers will make our own assessments.

jecomans
jecomans

@anarky23  It shouldn't (and everyone else liked him anyway), but it evened out because he accidently gave points for the awful boss battles. 

stealthyninja81
stealthyninja81

@Oinker yes it does. its not as good as GTA5's ragdoll but you can send enemies flying and if you get blown up or smacked really hard then you go into a kind of ragdoll.

sampson3121
sampson3121

@chitosan87 perhaps you should play longer then 15 minutes, ever think of that?

watched a live stream, some guy did the same...it was painful to watch...he ran around like an idiot saying they're to many enemies and couldn't figure out that he had to go on top of the roofs to recharge. my 10 yr old finished that base in 5 minutes, and he can't put the game down...the abilities are amazing, but you wouldn't know that cause you only played 15 min.

Zevvion
Zevvion

@sampson3121 You're not great at connecting facts in a logical manner. 


First, everyone misses something sometimes that was very obvious. I bet you played a game at some point and missed something that was extremely obvious to someone else. Place, time, state of mind... all factors in your attention and focus. Because it happens once, doesn't automatically make you stupid. 


Second, the fact that the person who missed something obvious played Titanfall next is not any indication that people who play Titanfall are thus automatically stupid, if we accept your premise. It's called post-hoc reasoning and it's a fallacy.


It's about the same as me saying the fact that you got 3 likes means that at least 3 people here are incapable of valid reasoning. 

dgunnell
dgunnell

@ebookerd1  


There is replay value because you can do a good and evil playthrough, with different missions opening up depending on the path you take. There is also Paper Trail, which I think is an incredible idea. It gets the player engaged more than just playing the game. You learn more about supporting character back story and you get to play detective. Is it worth it to buy a PS4? It depends what kind of games you like. This game reminds me of Spider-man 2 (open world be the hero type games). The powers are really fun, and there is enough variety to stave off boredom, at least in my opinion. I really think they should rescore the game after Paper Trail is complete. It is so inventive. So much creativity went into crafting the mystery. Really, this is what EVERY story-based AAA game should strive to be.


Oh and a little hint for Paper Trail, the actual mystery (at least part 1) is all done on the Paper Trail website. Don't be like me and go looking around for a parking garage, jet ski or a library for an hour in game. :)

Mighty-Lu-Bu
Mighty-Lu-Bu

Prototype was a cheap knockoff of the Infamous formula to begin with. Anyways, just beat this game and it was awesome!

ninboxstation
ninboxstation

as evil Delsin it might be the other way around..(might instead. perfer to fight with neon powers as evil Deslin .)

epicdrome
epicdrome

@lyncer777  You're pointing out the most obvious. Every game for next gen consoles have great graphics.... 

ninboxstation
ninboxstation

@lyncer777  

if you play focused on good karma (on expert) and don't  try to just "nuke" enmies all the time (but collect Karma on each one possible), avoid civilian casualties, then the Gameplay delivers imo too...

(as evil Deslin it should be satisfying too, in it's own way..., and play falshier......)

chitosan87
chitosan87

@sampson3121 @chitosan87  hahaha ... Agree with you. But I'm 26 now, games like would be interesting when I'm 10 years back. Perhaps I'm gettin' used with games like Skyrim and MGS, so when I played InFamous ... well, U get the picture right? That Joy just didn't come from the inFamous.


I truly love watched it from Utube, but not experience it myself. 

gacogaco
gacogaco

@sampson3121 @Zevvion  Maybe he does not give a fuck to the chat. Maybe he was just playing, getting his pay while stupid people watch him having fun (or being stupid). Maybe, just maybe.

inFamous: Second Son More Info

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  • First Released
    • PS4
    inFamous: Second Son is a PlayStation 4 exclusive and the third entry in the inFamous franchise by Sucker Punch. The game is set seven years after the events of inFamous 2 and follows the story of Deslin Rowe, a 24 year-old who gains the ability to direct, manipulate, and even transform into smoke after he rescues occupants from a fiery bus wreck.
    8.4
    Average User RatingOut of 592 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate inFamous: Second Son
    Developed by:
    Sucker Punch
    Published by:
    SCEE, SCEI, SCE Australia, SCEA
    Genres:
    Action, 3D, Open-World, Adventure
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Drug Reference, Language, Sexual Themes, Violence