Critics Corner: inFamous: Second Son

infamous-second-son-bannerJust a couple of weeks after Microsoft got its first potential Xbox One system seller onto store shelves, Sony has one of their flagship first-party exclusive franchises out on the PlayStation 4. The inFamous franchise may not have the mass appeal of a first-person shooter like Titanfall but the two inFamous games are considered to be among the best superhero games ever made.

And it looks like if you loved the first two inFamous games, you’ll love inFamous: Second Son. Some critics don’t like the story as much as the previous two and they don’t think the gameplay is “next-gen” enough (which is something I want to discuss in an upcoming column). Many more love the game for what it is.

But enough of my summary. Here’s what the critics think of inFamous: Second Son.

Gameplay

“If there’s one thing the former platform game specialist Sucker Punch excels at, it’s the joy of just getting around, and inFamous’ brand of superpowered parkour has never been sweeter than in Second Son. You can race up walls in a neon streak or sprout flickering pixel-wings to zoom through the air; at such moments the game has some of the intoxicating glee of Realtime Worlds’ classic Crackdown.” – Eurogamer (70%)

“While you’ll use your powers to navigate the city, float through the air and search for hidden blast shards (which can be cashed in to upgrade powers), combat takes up the vast majority of time in Infamous: Second Son. There are some side missions, and the handful of boss battles often have a small gimmick to figure out, but all primary progress comes back to blasting bad guys. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun to do so.” – Polygon (85%)

“Most encounters prove every bit as exciting and dynamic. Enemies make intelligent use of cover and react violently to the force of your superpowered attacks, deploying their own conduit abilities to escape or retaliate. The game’s main missions are, for the most part, well designed and generously portioned. Even the boss fights – bar two examples, which outstay their welcome – are enjoyable enough.” – Edge (70%)

“Delsin controls wonderfully for the most part, and Sucker Punch has even incorporated the Touch Pad on the DualShock 4 into some actions, including both regular old press motions and some swipes. Other than a set of jarring motion-controlled spray-can minigames (which are mostly optional), I have no real complaints with Second Son’s near-flawless execution.” – Destructoid (95%)

“Skill trees offer more options than previous Infamous games, allowing you to either concentrating on one power or split your resources between multiple paths, and the unlockable powers differ based on your moral alignment as well. An evil neon user for instance, can make targets explode into novas of pure energy, causing chain reactions that can obliterate groups of civilians in seconds, while a benevolent neon user can slow time to a crawl to carefully incapacitate foes one by one with a series of exacting attacks. Not only does this variety keep combat fresh, but it creates a strong incentive to replay and experiment with different combinations.” – IGN (87%)

“The game’s map-clearing structure recalls the ‘City Takeover’ mechanic in Volition’s later Saints Row games, but in Second Son, it carries added weight and incentive. By the time you’ve fully freed a district from the DUP’s control, you’ll feel like your actions have had a noticeable impact on the game’s world.” – Joystiq (90%)

“You begin to realise how little the game has changed since the PlayStation 3 titles, and how very similar it still is to other open world games of that era – especially Prototype 2. The open world Seattle is split into a number of districts, all of which are controlled by a fascist government agency under the control of Concreteo (actually, she’s called Augustine).” – Metro (60%)

“I also experienced an inordinate amount of clipping issues, enough to distract from the game at times. Delsin frequently appears to phase through solid objects, an effect that can be disorienting and dangerous if you’re trying to take cover and aren’t sure what parts of you may still be exposed… This occurred with enemies as well, with some even getting stuck in objects and making it impossible to incapacitate them rather than kill them outright. Fortunately, I never got stuck anywhere requiring a reset, so at least there’s that.” – EGM (90%)

Story

“Though it’s set some time after the events of the previous game, Second Son isn’t a traditional sequel. There are vague references to the past, but this game is about a new set of characters dealing with a new set of problems. As such, this third Infamous game is a solid entry point for new players, while existing fans will probably enjoy seeing the impact made by events of Infamous 2’s “good” ending.” – Giant Bomb (80%)

“Set seven years after the events of Infamous 2, Second Son introduces Delsin Rowe as our new protagonist – and one that’s a little difficult to like wholeheartedly. Making good or bad choices is a little tricky when Delsin himself appears to be full of youthful pomp, and would rather do his own thing than actually listen to any kind of authority figure, be it his level-headed brother or otherwise.” – God is a Geek (70%)

“inFamous kicks off with a completely self-contained story involving a world full of Conduits — beings with super-powers dubbed ‘Bio-Terrorists’ by the Department of Unified Protection, an agency that has the full legal authority to detain or destroy said beings. You don’t need to know anything about the prior entries in the series to enjoy Second Son, nor do you really have to reach far to grasp the initial concept of superheroes walking the Earth, which is easily a good thing.” – Destructoid (95%)

“Frankly, this is not a story you want to hear any more about. Watching it unfold from a blank slate is part of what makes the narrative so enthralling, like a book you’ve never read or a movie you’ve never seen. The characters tell it very well, and the satisfying ending still left me wanting more.” – PlayStation Universe (100%)

“Pretty much the entire cast is impeccable in terms of dialogue and performance, featuring a brilliant roster of voice actors and some top notch facial animation. The characterization found here is perhaps the best thing about Second Son, and indeed one would be hard pressed to find much better elsewhere.” – The Escapist (70%)

Graphics and Audio

“The power of the PlayStation 4 is evident in every street-side puddle reflection and in every swirling tuft of smoke that left my flaming hands. The city of Seattle is beautifully and diversely realized, but it never looked better than when I was blowing everyone and everything around me to bits. Serene city streets turn into fiery disaster zones with gleeful regularity, and both the before and after are great to look at, despite occasional stutters when the effects get out of hand.” – IGN (87%)

“The voice acting is some of the best I have heard from a video game. Troy Baker (Delsin) and Travis Willingham (Reggie) sound like they could be best buds in real life—and it’s not just them. The comedic banter between all the characters, the way they talk to and relate to each other, coupled with the well-done character models, help the player get to know them as individuals and invest in their relationships. They are full of life and personality.” – PlayStation Universe (100%)

Overall

“inFAMOUS: Second Son looks brilliant, sounds brilliant, and plays like a dream. I just finished it, and I already want to play it again. Few games have made me put down my controller at the end and say, “Now THAT was awesome.” inFAMOUS: Second Son has proven itself a rare gem by being one of those games.” – PlayStation Universe (100%)

“Infamous: Second Son is brief, but engaging. The combat itself is interesting enough to cover for some of the repetition in the side objectives and it looks really great. If you’re looking for a sprawling open-world with a billion little things to do, this isn’t going to float your boat, but Second Son’s tight, focused approach definitely still holds plenty of appeal.” – Giant Bomb (80%)

“The graphics are a great advert for the power of the PlayStation 4, but in terms of gameplay and story this hasn’t moved on at all from the previous generation.” – Metro (60%)

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About Steve Murray

Steve is the founder and editor of The Lowdown Blog and et geekera. On The Lowdown Blog, he often writes about motorsports, hockey, politics and pop culture. Over on et geekera, Steve writes about geek interests and lifestyle. Steve is on Twitter at @TheSteveMurray.

Posted on March 24, 2014, in Games and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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