Second Son launched this week to a relatively favorable critical reception, garnering perfectly acceptable 80 metacritic score, and 81.55 on gamerankings, with the disparity between the two scores being presumably explained by metacritics ‘weighted’ aggregate system. However if we reflect back at the studio’s history (Sucker Punch Productions) infamous lands itself as the worst critically received Infamous title to-date, and the studios overall second worst, second only to Rocket Robot on Wheels, their first game which was available exclusively on the Nintendo 64.
Aggregate Critical Reception Critical Reception
|Game||Release||Gamerankings Rating||Metacritic Rating|
|Rocket Robot on Wheels||1999||81.32||Unrated|
|Sly 2: Band of Thieves||2004||87.92||88|
|Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves||2005||84.18||83|
|The Sly Collection||2010||87.43||85|
|Infamous Second Son||2014||81.44||80|
The table above reflects the previous statements, as you can see Infamous Second Son is the poorer performing title of the games within its series, albeit with the omission of the Infamous 2 standalone expansion: Festival of Blood. This is however in contrast to the games commercial performance, outdoing both of its predecessors rather significantly when comparing relative launch periods.
This begs the question, why? Is Second Son inferior to its predecessors or does something else explain this difference? Second Son is perhaps the most ambitious title within its franchise, and the first time Sucker Punch have been in a position to really showcase the visual heft of a console. Previous games have always been relatively modest in their attempts, with Sly and the original Infamous being more cell shaded and Infamous 2 whilst showing signs of a significant improvement, launching too late in the hardwares cycle to make any sort of splash as a result of its visual fidelity.
The difference would suggest that Sucker Punch had perhaps neglected this position as a launch window title, either not doing a good the console, or the series itself justice. However in my after reviewing the game that hasn’t been the case, Second Son albeit perhaps a little shorter than previous Infamous titles, vastly improves the games narrative and gameplay fluidity, alongside being the definitive showcase of what the Playstation 4 is capable of, at least at the moment. And this all contrast reported sales figures which indicate Second Son to have sold 370k units in North America alone. That’s 162k more than its predecessor managed within the same period, although admittedly the sales performance can perhaps be explained by the present lacking current gen linup.
So that all leaves things a little confused. Perhaps critics have too high expectations from next generation titles, since at present the benchmarks really haven’t been set, critics aren’t quite sure what’s going to define a ‘good action game’ over the next 7 or so years or perhaps Second Son really isn’t quite on par with its predecessors. Feel free to post your speculations, perhaps you agree with Second Son being inferior, and didn’t enjoy it as much as its predecessors, or perhaps you’re just confused as I am.