Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
The Making Of The West Wing
Subscribe To Empire Today
Save money and get 12 issues for only £25
London Film Festival 2014
Our round-up of the galas, films and interviews
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

PACKSHOT
inFAMOUS: Second Son

GAME DETAILS
Released
21 March 2014
Format
PS4
Developer
Sucker Punch

LATEST GAME REVIEWS
Falling Skies: The Game
2 Star Empire Rating
F1 2014
3 Star Empire Rating
Evil Within, The
4 Star Empire Rating
Forza Horizon 2
4 Star Empire Rating
Bayonetta 2
5 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Bayonetta 2
5 Star Empire Rating
Alien: Isolation
5 Star Empire Rating
Last Of Us Remastered, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mario Kart 8
5 Star Empire Rating
Titanfall
5 Star Empire Rating

inFAMOUS: Second Son


submit to reddit

inFAMOUS: Second Son (2014)
Review
There’s a lot resting on inFamous: Second Son. Not only is it the biggest exclusive title to hit the PS4 since launch, it’s also a chance to re-establish the franchise for a new generation of hardware and players alike. It mostly succeeds in both respects, but is not without its flaws.

Set years after the cataclysmic ending of inFAMOUS 2, the world’s governments have clamped down on the existence of superpowered Conduits, treating people with abilities as second class citizens. Of course, in a world where the powered are oppressed, new hero – or villain, pending your choices – Delsin Rowe soon ends up with a few unnatural skills of his own. Branded a bio-terrorist by the oh-so-friendly-sounding Department of Unified Protection, Delsin and his brother Reggie, a disapproving cop, are drawn into an escalating conflict that’s equal parts social justice drama and superpowered dust-up.

Unlike McGrath, Delsin isn’t limited to just zaps of electricity – he has the rather more unusual collection of smoke, concrete, video and neon. The latter is perhaps the most interesting, with eventual abilities ranging from chained explosions to time-freezing, but all four categories offer something a little bit different for the now-familiar superhero game model.

Delsin himself proves a mixed bag as a lead, though. Ten, fifteen years ago, he’d have been considered a ‘Gen-Xer’ but now, we’re not quite sure what he is. An article of disenfranchised youth at the very least, he’s an anti-establishment slacker; a graffiti artist who’s a constant disappointment to Reggie. The relationship between the squabbling siblings are at the heart of the game, but when the main player avatar is often so brattish, it’s hard not to root at least a bit for his authoritarian brother.

Looks and performance are the greatest improvements over previous entries. Second Son is simply glorious to behold, the new Seattle setting blending the urban detail of the first game’s Empire City with the more natural splendour of the second’s New Marais. Troy Baker and Travis Willingham’s roles as Delsin and Reggie, respectively, blow everything before clear out of the water – though after The Last of Us, Baker’s talents in particular shouldn’t surprise. Voice acting and motion capture throughout similarly impress, with even minor characters feeling real and nuanced.

While showcasing the graphical power of the PS4, Second Son’s use of new hardware features are less interesting. Regardless, the game is insisten on showing its tricks off. Literally the first thing you’ll do is use the controller’s motion sensor to spray paint a billboard. Shortly after, you swipe the touchpad to open a door. It’s all relatively unintrusive but feels a bit, well, gimmicky, and nothing that really adds to the game.

Beyond that, it’s inFAMOUS by the numbers, for better or worse. The free-running feels more natural, with Delsin speedily navigating the world, while combat is a genuine thrill, with the variety of powers allowing you to create a truly personal style. The shell of moralistic choices remains, but with no real middle ground. Either all good or all bad rewards the player with the best upgrades, so why would anyone strive for a more realistic balance?

Second Son’s themes have been explored before, from X-Men to Heroes, with various degrees of success. Developer Sucker Punch’s attempts to use paranormal abilities as metaphor for real-world social oppression land on the better end of the spectrum thankfully. A fine new start for a still-engaging series, and although it’s a little rough around the edges, like its protagonist, it’s a step up on its predecessors.


Reviewed by Matt Kamen

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast: David Ayer Talks Fury
Plus Steve Carell talks Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Avengers: Age Of Ultron Trailer Reaction
We dive under the hood of Whedon's sequel teaser

10 Of The Most Impressive In-Universe Movie Tie-In Websites
From Blair Witch to Days Of Future Past, expand your cinematic horizons online

The 12 Apps Every Film Fan Needs On Their Smartphone
The handheld essentials to enhance your movie life

Empire Meets Jason Bateman And Tina Fey
The stars of This Is Where I Leave You hang out

The Scariest Film Of The Year? Jennifer Kent On The Babadook
The director talks us through her terrifying new film

10 Horror Spin-Offs We Want To See
After Annabelle, what other supporting characters deserve their own film?

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 12 Issues Of Empire For Only £25!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 12 issues of Empire for just £25!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)