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Infamous: Second Son review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £50
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An enjoyable open-world brawl, but it's neither truly next-gen, nor is it greater than the sum of its parts

Infamous: Second Son is a third-person, open-world shooter, a solid genre but rarely one that inspires a fanatical following. Furthermore it’s the third iteration of a series that has sold well but never hit true blockbuster status. Despite all that, the game is garnering huge amounts of attention as it’s the first big release for the fledgling PS4 console, and one made by Sony itself through its Sucker Punch development team based in Seattle – where the game is set.


In Infamous: Second Son (I:SS) you play as Delsin Rowe, a young Native American, with some very special abilities. For those not familiar with the series, there are strong parallels with X-Men. Normal people are developing superpowers and the government has set up the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) to round up these ‘dangerous’ individuals and incarcerate them indefinitely. Initially you leave your tribal homeland in order to help your people but it’s soon apparent that there’s a lot more going on.

Delsin is special because he can absorb powers from other super-powered individuals, known as Conduits. His first power set is Smoke and allows him to fire blasts of smoke from his hands, hurl sulphurous grenades and launch powerful missiles. He can also turn into smoke to dash towards enemies, zip through vents up onto roofs and even hover on flaming jets. In combination these abilities let him take on large groups of enemies and traverse Seattle’s skyline with ease.

Infamous: Second Son

Later in the game, Delsin absorbs additional powers, the first one being Neon. These allow for significantly different powers, as well as providing a range of weapons and movement abilities. Later power sets allow you to turn invisible and mind-control enemies. More impressive still is that each move set can be upgraded in numerous different ways by spending Shards that are left from destroying certain objectives. You can unlock whole new abilities, or variants on them, and upgrade current ones to be more effective.

Some abilities are locked into the games simplistic karma system, and are only available to you if you take the good or bad path through the game. The plot has numerous points where you have to make such decisions, two clear options are provided (good or bad), and your choice affects what missions you undertake to reach the next part of the game.

The choices aren’t very compelling, and we’d have thought most people will choose exclusively good or bad for their first playthrough and the opposite for a second run through. It’s hardly ground-breaking stuff, but it does add longevity.


The opening couple of hours are pretty linear, and work well for it. There are big set-piece fights, a huge road bridge that collapses as you try to cross it, plus you get to climb a local landmark and savour the views. From the top you can see all thirteen neighbourhoods that the game’s version of Seattle has been divided into.

The development team’s passion for their home turf is most apparent. We’ve never been to Seattle but after playing this we’d really like to. The city is expansive, nicely-detailed and has enough people and traffic to make it feel alive. It’s not really bustling, but this is explained by the fact that the DUP has the place under marshal law, so people are keeping off the streets.

Infamous: Second Son

There’s not much in the way of internal locations, and though they are sumptuously detailed and lit, they are essentially static. You don’t search them for items or fight in them and see objects being blasted this way and that.

Back outdoors, the DUP presence is everywhere too, from armoured cars patrolling the streets, to radar jamming towers, CCTV cameras and huge checkpoints with watchtowers and barriers. Keep a low profile by not using your powers and you can get by unnoticed. However, most missions usually ask you to clear the neighbourhood of a big DUP base or checkpoint before starting them.

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