Infamous: Second Son Review

Infamous: Second Son brings us to an open-world Seattle that looks incredible, but comes up short of creative ideas...

Delsin Rowe Powers

RELEASE DATE: March 21, 2014PLATFORM: PS4DEVELOPER: Sucker PunchPUBLISHER: SonyCATEGORY: Action-adventure

We’ve all been waiting for a next-gen game to blow us away. So far, all we’ve seen are titles that are a minor upgrade from their current-gen counterparts. Forza 5 looks great, but it doesn’t bring any new ideas to gaming. Killzone: Shadowfall looks great, but again, it doesn’t bring any new ideas along with it. The same can be said about the other PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titles that we’ve seen since the console launches, and the same can be said about Infamous: Second Son.

The bottom line about Infamous: Second Son is that, sure: it looks pretty damn good, but there’s no oomph. The graphical upgrade is clearly there, but the game does what so many other titles have done before it, most notably (and recently) Saints Row IV. For good measure, I’ll also say that it’s a cousin to Crackdown and Prototype. A close, kissing cousin.

Ahem…but back to how great Second Son looks. You’ll find yourself staring in an awe at the game’s use of lighting effects and brightness, especially once you acquire your Neon powers. There’s always a lot going on visually on the screen thanks to Sucker Punch’s focus on the smaller visual details—smoke rising from vents, the sun reflecting off of a metal surface, satellites with blinking lights—all create a vivid, realistic look for Delsin’s adventures.

Infamous Second Son Neon run

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The game’s story is also a noteworthy plus. Whether you choose to be Good Guy Greg or truly become a bio-terrorist, the game plays out interestingly enough to warrant a second playthrough. The simplistic red vs. blue mechanic unfortunately provides for no gray area which is clearly needed for a world filled with former humans turned into super beings. But either way you slice it, Delsin Rowe is a likable dude, even though he wears that douchey beanie cap. The struggle between good and evil for Delsin can be compared to Sylar’s from NBC’s Heroes. Why be good when being bad is so much more fun!? You’ll also meet some other interesting characters along the way, including a sexy neonist (yeah, I’m making that an actual term) and a socially awkward gamer obsessed with his own power. And, most importantly, the story ends with a gratifying conclusion (quite unlike Heroes). Sigh.

The voice acting in Infamous: Second Son is second to none. Troy Baker makes Delsin Rowe the most natural-sounding video game character to date, and Christine Dunford portrays the villain all-too-well.

There are a ton of objectives to keep you busy in Infamous: Second Son, but for the most part you’ve done them in other games. Collecting shiny orbs/shards, fetching an object for some mysterious character, shooting down helicopters and plowing through enemy bases littered with baddies all show a lack of imaginative gameplay ideas on Sucker Punch’s part. The developers did, however, include something I don’t recall doing in a game previously: creating spray paint stencil art. But, the idea feels wildly out of place with the rest of the game world, and I’m not too sure why a government organization would be driven so insanely mad over defaced billboards. Just saying.

infamous second son smoke

But just because we’ve done it all before doesn’t make Second Son a bad game—it is still worth the purchase. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the open world of Seattle, Washington, as well as a good deal to see (like an Abercrombie & Fitch store that has been clearly renamed to avoid a lawsuit). Although we’ve played countless titles that give superhuman abilities to the ordinary individual, Second Son‘s powers are the most gratifying, and the many different tactics for defeating your enemies creates for a fun experience.

Still, like Delsin looking for more power I found myself wanting something more as well. Infamous: Second Son‘s creative powers and superb graphics are enough to give it a thumbs up, but the fact that it treads too closely to all the other superhuman open-world games is disappointing and can’t be ignored. Basically Infamous: Second Son is good not great, but it’s enough to keep me looking forward to seeing what the next Infamous brings to the table.


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4 out of 5