Infamous: Second Son

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Infamous: Second Son Game Poster Image
Teens opt to be saviors or slayers in dark superhero game.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 31 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The story revolves around the notion of discrimination due to lack of understanding and the potentially wide-ranging consequences of bigotry. It also explores how the bonds of friendship and family can be tested under difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, these interesting ideas often are lost amid frequent and sensational violence.   

Positive Role Models & Representations

At the start of the game, the hero is a graffiti artist and minor troublemaker. He's a Native American with strong links to his tribe and what seems like a generally benevolent nature, but it's up to players to steer him toward good or evil once he gets his superpowers. Players can choose to make him kill his enemies or simply incapacitate them, and they can have him either help innocents in need or heartlessly murder them.

Ease of Play

Aside from a few interesting touchpad interactions, the controls are pretty much standard for third-person action games and easy to get the hang of. Success isn't too hard to come by, and players can change difficulty settings whenever they like if they're finding things too easy or too hard.

Violence

The player's character is bestowed with superhero powers that have the potential to make him a massive force of destruction. He can shoot missiles from his hands, smash the ground and collapse structures, imbue chains with the power of smoke and use them as whips, and summon a sword made of neon energy that he can use to strike down enemies. There is no gore, but small splashes of blood accompany some injuries, and players have the option to make the game's protagonist execute injured characters with his bare hands, causing them to disintegrate. He also can kill random civilians, often without much, if any, consequence, earning "evil karma" points as a reward.

Sex

Dialogue includes occasional references to sex (such as the phrase "get laid") but doesn't get into anything explicit.  

Language

Occasional use of profanity, including the words "asshole," "dick," and "s--t."

Consumerism

This game is part of the Infamous series, a PlayStation-exclusive franchise designed with intent to convince consumers to buy PlayStation consoles. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Hypodermic drugs of unknown type are referenced by characters, including a major ally who was once an addict and ended up killing her own brother in a drug-fueled frenzy. Drug paraphernalia is seen in the environment, but players can't interact with it. Players also encounter several armed and hostile drug gangs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Infamous: Second Son is an open-world third-person superhero game rated Teen by the ESRB and that some of its content may be iffy for its target audience. Its story revolves around a Native American superhero unjustly persecuted by the government on account of his powers, and it tackles issues of discrimination. Players explore the consequences of this prejudice by choosing whether to lash out against the world as a supervillain or become a defender of the weak and savior of a city. However, these potentially interesting ideas are awash in excessive violence which, depending on the player's choices, may include the vicious killing -- via fantastical superpowers such as smoky chains and neon energy swords -- of not only enemies but also countless innocent civilians. Other mature elements include a subplot concerning a secondary character's tragic use of drugs and occasional references to sex in spoken dialogue. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byegeggs June 16, 2014

Fantastic!

I recently purchased this game for my 13 year old son - Being a parent who is typically very cautious about video games in general, I decided to watch him play... Continue reading
Adult Written by111112224 December 16, 2014

Epic

great messages because if you do good karma, good things will happen back to you!!! remember to do good karma only. if you do bad karma, it will be bad, bad stu... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bywfbewmm April 18, 2014

Great game, disappointed in the amount of language...

ESRB is a generally good rating system, but they kinda slipped up when rating Infamous Second Son. I have beaten the game once and I am currently trying to fin... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 3, 2014

Iffy for kids under 10.

This is an amazing superhero game, where the player runs around in an open world setting, trying to take back the city of Seattle using their super powers, whic... Continue reading

What's it about?

Players take on the role of a young Native American who gains superhuman powers in INFAMOUS: SECOND SON, a third-person open-world action game exclusive to PlayStation 4 consoles. Delsin Rowe is only a graffiti artist and minor mischief maker in rural America when a prison truck carrying inmates with superpowers crashes on a nearby highway. Upon touching one of the prisoners, Delsin somehow absorbs his power: the ability to turn into and manipulate smoke. He's enthralled with his newfound abilities and is eager to use them. The government, however, fears and condemns people with special powers, dubbing them "bio-terrorists." So Delsin has a choice: Fight back against the authorities manipulating public opinion, or punish everyone for their closed-minded beliefs, killing not only soldiers but anyone in his path -- including weak and wounded civilians. Delsin's powers evolve according to the choices he makes, with some only available to a "good" hero and others -- typically more destructive in nature -- available only to an "evil" character.

Is it any good?

Infamous: Second Son makes great use of the PlayStation 4's processing power, offering players a beautifully rendered city to explore and some eye-popping superhero visual effects. The controls, meanwhile, provide ample opportunity to use the DualShock 4 controller's touchpad and motion sensors when interacting with objects in the environment and spraying graffiti art. Also, its story has the makings of something memorable, thanks mostly to a strong performance by veteran voice actor Troy Baker in the role of Delsin, a young man with a winning sense of humor who, depending on the player's choices, seems to legitimately struggle with the implications of his powers.  

Unfortunately, the action suffers from a sense of repetition. Many of the activities players get up to -- hunting down surveillance cameras, looking for audio logs, destroying checkpoints and communications towers -- seem like filler, offering little variation from one sequence to the next. And, although Delsin earns a quartet of distinct base powers through the game -- smoke, neon, video, and concrete -- they're really only variations on a theme. Each comes with similar abilities, such as the capacity to fire projectiles and quickly scale buildings, that really only differ in terms of presentation and efficacy. It's certainly a spectacle and undeniably fun at times, but it also feels as though Infamous: Second Son could have been much more than it is.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about discrimination. Can you think of a time when you may have acted unfairly toward someone simply because of what he or she looked like, represented, or believed? Why do you think you might have behaved the way you did? How do you think the other person felt about it?

  • Families also can discuss the impact of violence in media. Most games see players fighting decidedly bad guys, but this one permits players to open fire on and kill innocent civilians if they want to play as a villain. What did you choose, and why?

Game details

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