INFAMOUS: Second Son early review round-up

With Second Son, INFAMOUS returns with a powerful showcase of DualShock 4 controller abilities and a presentation that's fully PlayStation 4-aimed. Is that what PS4 users want? Apparently so, as early reviews have so far presented scores far nearer top marks than they have been low.

In INFAMOUS: Second Son, users are jumping into the sneakers of a regular hipster named Delsin, a street artist who falls victim to super powers at the hands of an overturned transport truck and an escaped super-powered prisoner's smoke powers. Through the game you'll also roll with the ability to absorb electricity, jolt your opponents, and turn into smoke yourself.

Because of previous actions by a certain Cole MacGrath and his own "bio-terrorist" ways, a Department of Unified Protection has been established since the previous INFAMOUS title. Now you'll be rolling through Seattle with martial law over your head – as well as other escaped "Conduits" like yourself.

"Get past the wobbly beginning and it becomes clear that Sucker Punch has learned plenty from its past mistakes. Rowe quickly gains powers, and by the time he reaches Seattle – where he intends to seek revenge for harm wreaked on his native American hometown by the Department of Unified Protection (DUP) – there's no longer any need to clamber up the side of a building, since you can turn to smoke and shoot up through a vent instead." – EDGE, 7/10

This game takes the strong points from previous INFAMOUS games and strips away the slow parts. You'll be given freedom very early on in the game, that much is clear.

"Through the power of smoke, you can turn into a translucent wisp at a moment's notice. Float through air vents to propel yourself from the rain-drenched streets to the striking rooftops or drift like an ethereal shadow among the citizens compelled to fear you. The empowering sense of freedom worms its way into your heart once you realize your unbelievable potential." – Tom Mc Shea, Gamespot, 8/10

There's a morality feature in this game, one you may not be so keen to remember from past titles. It's rather black and white, as several reviewers have mentioned, and it might have been better left out, it seems.

"It plays great, and it looks even better, but its advancements also beg it to be held to a higher standard, one that its overall story and morality systems struggle to reach." – Vince Ingenito, IGN, 8.7/10

You'll also find yourself annoyed at times, and enamored at others, in the main character Delsin. You're him, after all, so you'd better get used to his ways.

"Delsin's a bit of a brat – and his heritage a clumsy stab at legitimacy – but he's given charisma and warmth by emerging VO superstar Troy Baker (BioShock Infinte's Booker and The Last of Us' Joel). It really helps for him to have a foil in the form of Reggie (Travis Willingham), too. Their disagreements and banter follow a predictable course, but the filial relationship makes for an underplayed and ultimately quite touching human foundation for the action." – Oli Welsh, EuroGamer, 7/10

Make no mistake, this game is centered around Deslin and controlling his lifeline. If you're not all about diving in to this characters shoes, you might not want to bother. Freedom means controlling Deslin.

Delsin Rowe's mission feels personal right from the start. The new lead character is using his just-discovered powers to become superhuman enough to save the lives of loved ones back in a fictional Native American community." – Evan Narcisse, Kotaku, YES (Yes/No rating)

There's a lot of action going on with the PlayStation 4's controller DualShock 4. So much that it makes us wonder how this game could have ever possibly been released on another platform.

"Second Son showcases the DualShock 4 controller's capabilities to an unnecessary extreme. Players need to frequently swipe the DualShock 4's touchpad in response to on-screen prompts in order to perform scripted actions like opening doors, disabling turrets, and other situations where a button press would suffice.

The result reminds me of tacked-on motion controls in early Wii games. It's not a deal-breaker, but touchpad inputs are frequent and cumbersome enough to stand out, and they don't gel at all with Second Son's otherwise refined gameplay mechanics." – Danny Cowan, Joystiq, 4.5/5 Stars

The overall look and feel of the game are quite apparently excellent, as touted by essentially every reviewer showing wares so far this week. Seattle is looking fine here in the INFAMOUS universe.

"It all looks positively fantastic, with loads of little details and effects that help the city of Seattle and its inhabitants spring to life. The side stuff could use more variety, and the karma system that governs if you're "good" or "evil" lacks nuance, but none of that prevents Sucker Punch's PS4 debut from being a really good time." – Jeff Gerstmann, Giant Bomb, 4/5 stars

For those of you wondering if you're going to actually need to have played the previous titles before you jump in on Second Son – no worries. It's apparent here that we're in the same universe, but that we need not have been in tune previously.

"If you've never played the first two Infamous games on PlayStation 3, don't worry too much about catching up. Second Son takes place in the same world as the earlier games, but there are no strong connections to them aside from a vague sense that the current state of the world is due to the events of Infamous 2. This is the closest Sucker Punch could have gotten to a reboot without actually pretending the original games never happened" – Philip Kollar, Polygon, 8.5/10

It's also important to note that some reviews were done with a "non-final debug copy provided by Sony Computer Entertainment", as noted by Polygon. These groups appear to have also received a second "final retail copy" of the game later as well for "further testing".

Stay tuned as we continue to explore INFAMOUS: Second Son through the future. Dive into SlashGear's gaming tag portal as well as our Review hub for the full spread.