inFamous: Second Son Review – Come as you are


By Darryn Bonthuys on Thursday, March 20, 2014
"Yes, I chose the evil side first"

inFamous: Second Son is one of the few new games for the PlayStation 4, built on a franchise that isn’t shared with other platforms. It’s a game that is meant to be a bridge between generations, while drawing in new fans and keeping the old ones from moving on as the game shows off what the PS4 is capable of. And it succeeds in all those departments magnificently.

Infamous son (9)

A new generation of consoles calls for a new hero. Whereas inFamous 1 and 2’s Cole McGrath was a free-spirited blue collar electrified Joe, Delsin is a rebel to the core. Headstrong, aimless and ready to buck any authority figures in his life, he’s a shiftless graffiti artist until that fateful day that he winds up with powers.

Delsin soon finds himself caught up in events, that necessitate his journey to Seattle, now under firm lockdown by the Depart of Unified Protection. DUP patrols the streets, everyone hates Delsin because of his status as a hipster Conduit and his long-suffering brother Reggie has come along for the ride.

Infamous son (25)

Starting out with Smoke, Delsin becomes a one-man army with a set of powers that are defined by his attitude. All the old inFamous regulars are there: Fast healing, infinite stamina, high jumps and some wall-scaling parkour.

Smoke gives Delsin more of an edge however, bolstering his mêlée attacks with some tobacco and ember power, allowing him to fire deadly bolts, charge them up for a shotgun-like spread, fire heavy-duty missiles and throw bombs that’ll suck the air right out of a hapless goon and leave them with nicotine poisoning.

Serve the servants

The real fun however, is in using these powers to navigate around Seattle, flying through vents in buildings to instantly ascend, blasting through the sky and hovering around. It’s not dissimilar to the electricity that Cole used in inFamous 2, but that’s the thing about Second Son; it sticks very close to the formula laid out in that first sequel.

But that’s not a negative really. Controls still feel tight, combat is varied and the game is a challenge on any difficulty setting as gamers get a massive sandbox to romp through. Feeling like a very refined version of inFamous 2, the game offers all the action from the previous game, with a few new additions.

Infamous son (38)

City blocks need to be freed from DUP control, a feat that can be achieved by engaging in several smaller side missions. Find a DUP secret agent, disable security cameras and tag some walls with graffiti, and you’ll drop their influence in that block and eventually initiate a showdown between Delsin and the remaining DUP forces in that area.

It won’t be easy though, as DUP agents come in several granite-flavours. Run of the mill soldiers will come at you with guns blazing, heavier augmented soldiers will chase you up rooftops, super-heavy troopers will require tons of firepower to bring down as they attempt to see if firing the contents of a small nickel mine into you will result in your death and specialists will attempt to contain your movements.

Infamous son (34)

Throw in turrets, APC vehicles and outside interference depending on how you play the game, and you’ve either got to plan your attack or be quick on your feet. Thankfully, you wield enough power in the game, quickly unlocking Neon powers after you gain your Smoke abilities. As a power sponge, Delsin learns a few more tricks, but I’m not going to spoil that here.

Each of the powers that Delsin assimilates also share a few similarities to one another. Quick blasts, heavy duty missiles and augmented melee attacks all feature in the package. Key differences though, would be that while smoke provides a quick and versatile manner with which to inflict some damage, Neon allows for more precise action, as it targets vital areas that help Delsin to extend either his good or evil alignment.

Drain You

Infamous son (26)

Each ability can also be unleashed with one ultimate attack, leveling the field of any and all enemies in a cavalcade of explosive colour and, er,um explosives. They’re rather pretty to look at when you seem them in action.

Powers can be further improved with blast shards, found throughout the game. Mobile drones litter the skies of Seattle, and shooting them down will allow Delsin to absorb the energy inside their sensors. Once you have enough shards, you can focus on the powers that you want to improve on. Want to absorb smoke more quickly and efficiently? There’s a skill tree for that.

Infamous son (8)

Or you can choose to increase the damage you deal, or unlock new moves such as teleporting behind a DUP soldier and face-planting him. Certain skills will be off-limits however, depending on your current karma. Dip too much into the dark side, and certain light side skills will be out of your reach. And in inFamous: Second Son, there’s no grey area wiggle room here.

You’re either good or evil, a path that you decide to embark on early in the game. Some might bemoan the forced morality, but at the same time, it gives Second Son the replayability that it needs, so that players can experience a different side of the law for themselves, with varying consequences.

And yes, I chose the evil side first.

Infamous son (1)

Keeping in tune with previous games in the series, inFamous is a challenge no matter which difficulty you play it on. DUP agents are relentless and boast an improved AI that makes them look for cover, dodge your attacks and blind-fire at you. What really ups the ante however, is how certain agents will use their abilities to create teamwork. You may find yourself picking off one agent, when all of a sudden you become encased in concrete while another agent rallies the rest of the troops and they start introducing your face to the friendly side of a rifle smack. As I said, a challenging game.

One aspect of the game that hasn’t really carried over however, are boss fights. There are only four such fights in the entire game, and two of them are with the chief antagonist. The second fight is a fantastic use of the PS4 hardware and game software to create something that is visually magnificent, but don’t go into Second Son expecting plenty of epic showdowns.

Negative Creep

Infamous son (4)

What has survived however, is some absolutely magnificent acting. inFamous 1 had it, inFamous 2 excelled at it and now inFamous: Second Son has set a new benchmark. Characters have nuanced facial expressions, mouths open and purse in realistic manner and even skin wrinkles as Delsin and co experience a range of emotions. But it’s not just some great tech on offer here. It’s software that is complemented by solid voice acting and writing.

We’re in a new generation of gaming, and Delsin may very well be the first of a new breed of heroes for the PlayStation 4/ Xbox One era. Delsin feels remarkably human, and acts out in a manner that anyone of us would if we were in his beanie and had his skills. He’s not a walking tank of muscles and witty one-liners. He’s a full-fledged character who happens to be cocky, yet flawed. And one likeable bastard at that.

Infamous son (36)

Likewise with his brother Reggie, Delsin sets up a new dynamic throughout the game that echoes the brotherly relationship of Cole and Zeke from the first two inFamous games. And hot damn, inFamous: Second Son does not disappoint when it comes to visuals.

Whether you’re beating up coffee-sipping hipsters on a rainy Seattle day, or watching Delsin smirk as he launches himself into the air before he slams the ground, the game is firing on all cylinders. The frame rate is kept at a smooth 30-odd frames per second the whole time, never dipping and sometimes going up.

Smells like Seattle spirit

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Textures shine, particles explode and the game sounds magnificent. We mentioned earlier this week how inFamous: Second Son was putting a ton of effort into the audio. While after hooking the PlayStation 4 to a Dolby surround sound and turning the volume to 11, I don’t want to go back.

Smoke and the other powers don’t just have their own distinctive look, they sound unique as well, with each ability providing various audio cues. It’s an aspect of gaming that will be overlooked sadly, but audiophiles will appreciate the subtle work thrown into this department.

Infamous son (17)

As for length, Second Son proves that single-player games aren’t going to die off anytime soon. Playing through at least once and focusing on your karmic alignment while ignoring side missions will take you at least 8-10 hours, so double that and throw in a few more hours of freeing Seattle, and you’re going to be busy for quite a while.

inFamous: Second Son was reviewed by on the 20th of March , 2014 at 4:00 PM on PlayStation 4

GAMEPLAY
9.0
Anyone who played the previous inFamous game will feel at home with Second Son. Newcomers need not worry however, as Second Son provides a gentle learning curve that is balanced by challenging enemies and obstacles.
DESIGN
9.0
There are only so many synonyms for beautiful, and inFamous: Second Son lives up to all of them. A visual and audio treat, with a story that'll help you connect with the Rowe brothers as they take back Seattle, Second Son provides some powerful moments to go with its good looks.
VALUE
9.0
Hours upon hours of content here. Once you're done saving the day, you can ehad back to see what you missed out on depending on your alignment, or kill some time by freeing Seattle.
TOTAL
9.0
Infamous: Second Son wears its rebellious heart on its sleeve. Brimming with attitude, unrelenting and massive to take in, the game never forgets the most important aspect of game design however, and remains consistently fun.

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Author:Darryn Bonthuys

Because he's the writer that Lazygamer deserves, but not the one it actually needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can't take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a loud-mouthed journalist, a watchful procrastinator. A dork knight.
  • Admiral Chief of comments

    So who will invite me over for a jam session? I’ve got beer

    • Hammersteyn

      You know where I live. Pop by if you are ever in the area

  • Admiral Chief of comments

    Where is the HH 16h00?

    • http://www.lazygamer.net/ The D

      16:30 today, due to reviews and all that :D

      • Admiral Chief of comments

        Awwwww, have a good weekend all!!!

    • VampyreSquirrel

      HH LWE!!!

  • Admiral Chief of comments

    Sh!t just realised its looooong weekend and silly me still at office

    Adios all, I’m off to JAM ON MY NEW ADSL!!!!!!!!!!

    • VampyreSquirrel

      Cheers man, enjoy it!

  • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

    FFFFF……..This is the hypest review ever

  • Brian Murphy

    “A new generation of consoles calls for a new hero.”

    This is actually incorrect (no offense), Chris Zimmerman Co-Founder of Sucker Punch disclosed (during the IGN Live Stream) that the reason Delsin is the focal point is because the majority of gamer’s played through and beat Infamous 2 in ‘good’ mode. Which, for anyone who’s played it…knows how that ends up (No spoilers for those who haven’t seen it yet).

    So, Chris and his colleagues decided to start the story over, in tune with what the players had chosen. It wasn’t about a new console needs a new hero, it was simply following what the Gamer’s had decided. Pretty cool, actually.

    • http://www.lazygamer.net Gavin Mannion

      That doesn’t make the statement wrong… you’ve just added more back story to it :)

      • Brian Murphy

        I wasn’t trying to slam anybody :) Just letting everyone know why there’s no Cole McGrath hehe.

        • http://www.lazygamer.net/ The D

          STOP SLAMMING ME! Naw, I get what you’re saying, and it makes sense. But I can easily Delsin representing a new-gen of heroes, despite the original Sucker Punch trying to avoid that.

          • Brian Murphy

            Oh I agree, I just thought it was a really cool point that Sucker Punch is basing their story progression on what the players chose (overwhelmingly, I might add).

            And by the way, there’s also 19 additional episodic missions ~5 hours of gameplay, which are part of a day 1 patch, as part of the Infamous Paper Trail viral campaign.

          • http://www.lazygamer.net/ The D

            As cool as Delsin is, I have to be honest, I’m a Cole fanboy. Great character in the two inFamous games.

          • Brian Murphy

            Agreed, there’s something about his smarmy face that makes me want to punch him in said face. It’s helped me temper my excitement for SS (though I still want to play it like super bad and stuff).

            And Cole was just a badass.

          • http://www.lazygamer.net/ The D

            I got a Delsin beanie with the review copy. My face looks infinitely douchier when I wear it.

          • Brian Murphy

            I find that hard to imagine….I mean, what a great beanie!

          • Rince

            So, like DMC4 then? :)

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            Well done young D, you have now gained another cool level in my book. You are currently at Banana Level 2 – Rank: Ripe Banana.

    • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

      I don’t think he meant they designed Deslin just because of the new console. I just think Deslin became the new hero for a new generation of consoles

      • Brian Murphy

        Again, wasn’t meant to slam Darryn, simply providing the reasoning for the move to Delsin :)

        • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

          Lol Your statement in no way slams Darryn :) So don’t worry I don’t think anyone really sees it that way. I wonder if we’re all on edge from the Anita article. But it is pretty cool how Deslin came along

          • Brian Murphy

            I didn’t read it, because I’m fairly strong in the equality mindset. No need for further reinforcement there. Glad she got the award, but no, I was apologizing because it’s a good review, just didn’t quite have the story right with regards to the move to Delsin and I felt it was noteworthy because the choice was made by gamer’s, rather than simply being a new console, let’s give ‘em a new character :)

            Actually, that’d be sweet if Sucker Punch continues the entire storyline based upon the choices Gamer’s make as a whole…that would be a fantastic way to move this story along.

          • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

            Well things actually went all haywire in the comments section lol…
            And that would be cool. It can’t change too much in the next game though, especially for people that never played the first. Would be cool though

          • Brian Murphy

            Well, I haven’t played SS yet, so I’ve no idea how the good/bad endings play out. Who knows, maybe it will represent two different story arcs that Sucker Punch will then use to navigate through their next game in the franchise. It could work, since they already have the assets available.

            As long as they’re refining the engine in the interim, and creating new powers, deciding what location it’s going to be beforehand etc… they could spend all the free time on creating that aspect of the 4th game, and then inject the acting, character models, script etc… afterwards.

          • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

            Wonder how that will work out without the lead designer :(

          • Brian Murphy

            I’m guessing they’ll probably be fine, who knows why the person left. Could’ve been amicably for all we know. Besides, every now and again a little shakeup doesn’t hurt anything.

        • Rince

          Stop slamming Darryn! ;) Jokes, nice extra info from you as always bro. Also, STOP SLAMMING DARRYN! ;)

  • iAmWeasel

    BOOYAH! Got me copy sitting on my desk in front of me.. happy days :-)

    • Hammersteyn

      Happy days indeed!

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  • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

    Lolz A true next gen game available in SA as opposed to that other game with no single player and has Transformers or something

    • HvR

      I thought the other game only runs on next gen beta.

    • Hammersteyn

      Transformers, lulz!

  • VampyreSquirrel

    Oh man I’d love to get this game… too bad I can’t afford a PS4 lol

  • Jonah Cash

    Tomorrow morning a true next gen game will grace my console!! Have a good one okes!!!

  • matthew

    My game arrived from Takealot at 10:00 this morning. I’m glad they had the foresight to see some of us want to play this over the long weekend.

  • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

    I must say though , Deslin has the douchiest face I have ever seen in a video game

    • Nick de Bruyne

      LOL shame, isn’t his face based on Troy Baker, the voice actor?

      • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

        Oh no, I have just insulted a real life person and virtual character in one sentence :( and I like Troy lol

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    I have to keep reminding myself not to buy a console just for one game xD

    • Hammersteyn

      This is the first one in a long line of great games to come to PS4. I promise you that.

  • Rince

    If this isn’t enough reason for those with money to buy the PS4 I don’t know what is!

  • Devourer of Small Bunnies

    It looks absolutely stunning!

  • Rince

    And apparently day one patch has an extra 5 hours of play!? ME! NOW!

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      That’s not what she said.

    • Brian Murphy

      It’s 19 episodic missions, with ~5 hours of gameplay, however they’ll be released in a staggered way, over the course of several weeks. And from what I understand, it has to do with the Infamous Paper Trail viral campaign.

      • Rince

        Ah, nice!

      • matthew

        They also are unlocking Coles legacy missions which is an hour of extra missions, plus boss fights are being made more fun. Some graphics tweaks and extra pedestrians are being added etc…

        • Brian Murphy

          I was under the impression the Cole Legacy missions are only for pre-ordered games, correct or no?

          • matthew

            yeah but I assume everyone who gets it now will get those missions.

          • Brian Murphy

            Gotcha, wasn’t sure if you had heard something :)

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Damnit! I need this game and a beanie!!

    • Rince

      Yes.. AND NO! ;)

    • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

      But I don’t want you to become a douche :(

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        It is not the beanie that make you a douche, it’s the head inside the beanie…. (wait that sounded so Star Wars while I was typing it)

        • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

          Thank you banana-wan for that insightful piece of information ;)

      • Brian Murphy

        “But I don’t want you to become more of a douche :(”

        Fixed. ;)

        • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

          OOOOOUCH! lol

        • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

          :( Damn man… that cut me right here in my man beans… :/

          • Brian Murphy

            *chuckle*

      • Rince

        Nana could never! His antivirus software is too good.

        • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

          Nana ain’t a bot, hes my brother~

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            That just makes you a cracked pirate copy.

    • Hammersteyn

      You do, really you do. Even if you never played Infamous. The graphics too, my word. So happy to PS4 again. Damn you PS3. Lemme go, it’s time to move on!

  • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    Sweet I noticed Lazygamer is finally on neogaf. Welcome young ones. I would DM you, but I don’t want to get banned. Don’t want to be seen socialising with Juniors….

    • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

      Where where?

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  • Brian Murphy

    Here’s the full info on the Day 1 update for Infamous SS:

    Full 1.01 Patch Notes:

    Cole’s Legacy Content Pack
    FREE with pre-order
    Explore the events immediately following inFAMOUS 2
    Work with an investigative reporter to understand the source of conduit powers
    4 story missions, approximately 1 hour of gameplay

    inFAMOUS Paper Trail Storyline
    FREE bonus missions and exclusive web content
    Innovative online and in-game story arc co-developed by Sucker Punch and 42 Entertainment
    Manga and murder, follow the trail of origami doves to discover the full story behind the D.U.P.’s occupation of Seattle.
    19 story missions and corresponding web-based investigations, approximately 5 hours of unique gameplay.

    Difficulty Balance
    Normal difficulty has been slightly increased to challenge the player’s mastery of their powers
    Expert difficulty has been fine-tuned to ensure it is the best experience for skilled gamers
    Karma progression extended to support longer playtime

    Boss Fights
    The boss fights have been re-tuned for difficulty and fun
    More dynamic boss behaviors and attacks

    Pedestrians and DUPs
    Engine performance tweaks to allow for more life and activity in the city
    Increased pedestrian and traffic density and variety
    Increased pedestrian-related karmic opportunities
    Post-story enemy activity and D.U.P. raids

    Technical Improvements
    Graphics and performance improvements
    Fixes for a small number of infrequent blocking bugs
    PSN integration to support Paper Trail DLC

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  • MF Cutty Flam

    This Game Is

    • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

      FFFFFUUUURRRRAAANNNKKKYYY!!!

  • KingKappie

    Dam your review, now i must eat bread this month to get this game!

  • Hammersteyn

    nein
    nein
    nein
    nein

    picking up mine soon!

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  • Brian Murphy

    For the curious, I did manage to register w/ the Infamous SS viral campaign and complete the Conduit Awareness Quiz quickly enough to have a physical Conduit+ Sensory Test Kit sent to my home from ‘Bioframe Diagnostics’ (It’s a viral company website that accompanies the enjoyyourpower.com and conduitrightsleague.com sites). Haven’t opened it yet, but I’ll be sending the pics and information about it to Gavin over the rest of the weekend.

  • Hammersteyn

    AWESOME GAME IS AWESOME. Great reason to buy a PS4 this is! Especially if you’re tired of waiting for Titanfall Xbox One bundle. Dunno about EA but single player games is well alive and kicking as long as titles like this keeps on getting released.

  • Jaded_Reprobate

    This game is awesome, the only problem is the long wait between story mode missions… given i do feel the need to clear every area before moving onto the next… but it would still be cool if we got a bit more story between the clearing of neighborhoods

  • Francois Knoetze

    Loving this game! Completed about 43% and struggle to put the controller down. Even got my fiance into it over the weekend and she really isn’t a gamer at all. Told her the story, the backdrop etc, made her watch and for the first time she said: “ok wow…this is actually kind of cool”

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  • Stew

    Love the Nirvana references… just got ps4 and the game, first impressions….WOW

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  • XDarkPhoenix

    Do wish the game was longer being next gen and all that.

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  • wtfkingmaker

    I just dont get it, people talk about this game like its pour story and overall shortness isnt a big deal….dont get me wrong(as I’m sure true trolls and people who are always angry will) I thought this was a great game and much better then one and two(people who think those stories are better needs to replay it or lay off the god of war and uncharted games because they are ok at best), its just a lack luster story with amazing gameplay…a lack luster world that is amazingly good looking….a substantial gameplay with little substance to its story……great acting with little thought put into it and that sucker punch hassnt even thought about that this needs a huge expansion or dlc to not become the dusty game in the back of the self in 6 months(please save me the, I need to feel supior by picking the spelling apart because i have no real aurgument but still disagree because the whole world doesnt speak or write english as a first language)

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