Infamous: Second Son Review

Infamous: Second Son is an instantly enjoyable game. From the very beginning when you’re without a shred of superpowers, to the end when you’re practically teeming with them, Second Son is vastly entertaining. While it is not quite that “killer app” that the Playstation 4 is looking for to bring its game selection head and shoulders above the Xbox One, it provides a lot more reason to buy a PS4 than there previously existed.

secondson2 Second Son is a game that really focuses on being fun. The controls are tight, the world is highly interactive, and the powers are a blast to use. Overall, Second Son handles worlds better than its predecessors and feels refined like a next-gen game should. While I found myself using the climbing system far less this time around, I did have some mixed feelings towards the changes made to how it works. The main thing of note is the fact that it is far less “sticky” than before. The previous games seemed to hold the player’s hand a lot more, not allowing for jumping without sure intent to do so and automatically grabbing ledges with a high level of magnetism. Second Son doesn’t really do a lot of hand-holding. On one hand, this feels very freeing and a lot more natural, allowing the player to go off a flat ledge without having to jump. But it also makes climbing walls a bit more frustrating. I found myself falling down walls regularly. Overall, the refinements to the controls are to the benefit of the game.

One element of Second Son that felt somewhat uninspired was when you gained a new power. Throughout the story, as you gain new power sets (there are four, but I leave the specifics for your own discovery) you must immediately go fill out those powers. You have to drain “core relays” to give more functions to your powers and every time you gain a new power. While this works well as a tutorial, it felt a little formulaic and bland.

I’ve heard many complain about the morality system of Infamous. It does suffer some shortfalls in that despite there being many places where the player can make different decisions, there isn’t really any choice beyond the path you start at the beginning if you don’t want to seriously weaken your powers. I can understand this is not really ideal, but it doesn’t hold back Second Son from being a fun game.

secondson4Second Son is a very pretty game. From the lighting, to the dense particles, to the high-res textures, to the animation, there isn’t anything quite like it out there. Only occasionally does it suffer frame-rate drops, when the action gets ridiculous. This is a game that is heralding the beginning of the next generation of consoles.

Second Son‘s audio is great as well. I, in particular, loved the sounds generated by the neon powers. The audio immerses the player in the game world, from the whumpf of the smoke powers, to the plentiful explosions, to Delsin’s spray cans. Troy Baker’s performance as Delsin Rowe leads a group of terrific actors that really work to bring the story to life. Baker and Troy Willingham in particular bring a lot of color and enjoyment.

secondson3I couldn’t help but feel a little let down by Second Son‘s story, though. While I loved the characters and some of the situations were genuinely great, it felt fairly bland overall. I also was rather disappointed in how much it felt like an entirely separate world from the previous two games. While much of this separation is understandable, I would have liked to feel a bit more of a connection with the other two. I think the saving grace of the story is Baker and Willingham’s performances and their characters. It’s not that Second Son‘s story is bad–it just seems quite bland next to the stellar tales of the previous two games.

Overall, though, Infamous: Second Son is a fantastic game, taking the firm foundation of the previous two games and making it to even grander scales. The new powers are fun and original. The controls feel tight. It performs well and looks beautiful. Second Son is a great, fun game, but it fails to reach the heights of the previous games.

Pros:

  • Excellent gameplay
  • Great characters
  • Great sandbox

Cons:

  • Bland story
  • New power process

Written by Trevor Franz

@TrevdawgBD has been playing video games all his life. You'll often find him playing Minecraft, anything by Rockstar Games, or some game with lots of explosions. Follow him on Twitch!