inFamous: Second Son (PlayStation 4) Review

By Shane Jury 28.06.2014

Review for inFamous: Second Son on PlayStation 4

Founded in 1997, Sucker Punch Productions began life as a Nintendo 64 supporter, with Rocket: Robot on Wheels, released in 1999. This game would set conventions for Sucker Punch to adapt in the future, featuring a protagonist that would gain new abilities as the player progressed within one of the first realistic physics engines ever used in a videogame. At the turn of the millenium, Sucker Punch signed a deal with Sony to create the Sly Cooper trilogy on PlayStation 2 (that subsequently was bundled together for a PlayStation 3 remaster). This series was handed off to Sanzaru Games from the remaster onwards so Sucker Punch could apply its practised craft to a completely new I.P., the acclaimed inFamous line of games, with two mainline releases on PlayStation 3 and the third installment announced in 2013 for the PlayStation 4. How does Second Son fare in the transition to new hardware?

The first two inFamous games told the story of Cole MacGrath, an ordinary man who was caught in a large explosion caused by the package he was delivering. Instead of killing him, the Ray Sphere device inside the package transferred the life energy of the decimated thousands around him directly into Cole, making him into a super-powered human. As a newly-named Conduit, Cole searched for the answers behind this new power, culminating in a final showdown that cost him his life.

Second Son picks up seven years after this event with a new protagonist, Delson Rowe; a graffiti artist who witnesses a prisoner van crash and develops his own Conduit Powers after helping an injured escapee. Events take him to Seattle, which is under heavy martial law from the D.U.P., a task force created to handle loose Conduits. The player is tasked with finding the leader of the D.U.P. somewhere in the city, developing Delson's abilities along the way. Cut-scenes and event voiceovers tell the tale, and, through emotional storytelling and sufficient method acting, tell it well with a linear approach of progressing from one point to another, even if the initial start of the game makes it somewhat of a slow burner.

Screenshot for inFamous: Second Son on PlayStation 4

inFamous: Second Son, like its predecessors, takes place in an open world 'Sandbox' environment that gives the player the freedom to move about wherever they please. From street level to the tallest skyscraper, Delson can reach almost anywhere with the right combination of ledge jumping and timing. The city of Seattle is seperated into a vast number of zones that can be chosen from to liberate from D.U.P. control, and clearing one opens up a fast travel point, allowing for quicker access around the city. The city itself is insanely detailed and rich with life and wonder and easily navigated by a radar in the corner of the screen and a full-screen map on the pause menu that markers can be placed on. More hostile districts can hinder progress but this encourages expanding and developing the Conduit repetoire, done so by finding energy sources in key locations.

Liberating a section of the city involves a number of tasks, including shutting down the centre stronghold that the D.U.P. has built, hunting down undercover agents by their photographs, destroying drone robots that fly around the districts or hide in corners, and taking advantage of Delson's natural skill in graffiti tagging. This is one of the game's weaker points, however, in regards to variety, as the number of zones that need liberation means that each of these tasks are repeated many times. Thankfully, the Conduit Powers can let the player change up how they approach these tasks, and the radar helps to alleviate navigational frustration.

Screenshot for inFamous: Second Son on PlayStation 4

Speaking of which, Second Son allows for four distinctive power sets instead of the previous sole focus on electricity abilities, and all are very imaginative and a joy to use, with intuitive control mapping and superb quick tutorials when acquiring each one. Smoke is the standard power and is the more 'blunt force' of the four, which can launch rockets, boost through air vents in a veil of gas, and incapacitate enemies in a cloud of choking vapour. Neon takes its name from the chemical element of the same name that can be found in glowing signs and gives super speed, Matrix-like slowdown, and laser projectiles. Video takes its cues from gaming itself and can conjure up angels and demons that fight for the player, make Delson invisible, and allow him to glide across rooftops with devil wings on his back. Concrete turns Delson into a granite Hulk, giving him enhanced jumping and charging power, plus rock throwing for good measure. The slight repetitiveness of the game's sub-missions can grate somewhat, but the variety of powers help to alleviate this.

Screenshot for inFamous: Second Son on PlayStation 4

The Karma system, like in previous inFamous games, plays a key part in how the game flows. At key points in the narrative, gamers can choose a 'Good' option or a 'Bad' one, and either tips Delson towards a different branch of the story, maintained by chosen actions when freely moving about in the city. Not only do events change but so do the upgradable powers that switch from simply stunning foes to outright obliterating them, and vice versa. This adds a more personal touch to proceedings, not to say a vast incentive to replay on a different path later on.

inFamous: Second Son is certainly not light on content either. With a huge city to explore and redeem from military control, a vast number of abilities to gain and upgrade, a selection of specific action-requesting trophies to go for, and the whole game to see again through a different moral standpoint, there is plenty to justify slapping down the dosh for it. That's not even mentioning the free downloadable content that Sucker Punch put out over the month of April, which becomes a literal investigation over websites to find a mysterious Conduit with origami skills. Second Son doesn't seek to rewrite the rules of an open world superpowers game but comes as close to perfect as anything seen so far.

Screenshot for inFamous: Second Son on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Sucker Punch has struck gold once again with Second Son, putting the PlayStation 4's power to good use and providing gamers with a rich, satisfying experience. Slow start and samey missions aside, the spectacle of the main character's arsenal alone is reason enough for new PS4 owners to put this at the top of their shopping list.


Sucker Punch




Action Adventure



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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