GTA V Puts Infamous: Second Son To Shame


GTA V Puts Infamous: Second Son To Shame

When GTA V was first announced, Rockstar shied away from mentioning a potential release on the new consoles, instead saying the game would ‘feel’ next-gen. Back then, it felt like marketing spiel. It turns out it wasn’t – almost a year on, GTA V is still the most technically impressive open-world game . Even without the upcoming remaster, GTA V puts InFamous: Second Son - the most advanced open-world game on the new generation consoles – to shame. How many PlayStation 4 games have you seen where the character’s flip-flops actually flop, its characters visibly sweat when they’re running, and hair grows over time?

InFamous: Second Son, beyond the glitz of the rain-soaked streets and the dazzling particle effects, doesn’t do anything new. There’s more to a new generation than extra stuff happening on the screen and better reflections. A new generation should bring new experiences, new features. Yet InFamous is missing features we’ve come to expect from open-world games over the last decade.


First off, the game doesn’t even have a day and night cycle in the traditional sense – these transitions happen at key parts of the story, taking away from some of the magic other open-worlds have. GTA V has ferocious lightning storms and rain that collects into pools that build up as the weather worsens – even the moon’s phases change as the days roll by, lighting the night sky slightly differently depending on phase. InFamous has pools of water, and they do change depending on the time of the day, but this all happens behind the scenes, not in real-time like GTA V. Los Santos is crammed with small details that many players won’t even notice, but they all come together to create a believable world. Even the colour of the sky is perfect.


It’s not just the weather in InFamous that feels lacking – the NPCs wander around, drone-like, running away whenever Beanie Man starts destroying things. Hell, sometimes they’ll even run from him just because he came within a certain distance of them, even if he’s standing still. I remember watching a video of Second Son’s NPCs walking up to a stationary player, umbrellas in hand in the rain. Once they entered a certain radius they would panic and run away, leaving their umbrellas in a massive pile by the player.


GTA V makes other game’s NPCs look like idiots. Their only purpose is to be abused by the player and that’s the only meaningful interaction you can really have with them, beyond them occasionally photographing you on their phones. When compared to GTA V’s convenience store-robbing citizens, its tourists who snap photos of the scenery at Mt. Chiliad and its pedestrians who jog across road crossings if the light turns yellow, there’s no comparison. You can even catch GTA V’s NPCs playing full games of tennis together, hitting and missing shots whilst making quips about the game.

Even when driving, Second Son’s NPCs will happily sit in their cars, patiently waiting for you to blow it to smithereens as the whole of Seattle explodes around them. You never see anyone getting into a car, either. This is a far cry from GTA V’s citizens flipping you off from their cars if you cut them up, or performing parallel parking, making tiny adjustments until they’re parked. If you pull a sports car up to a red light next to an NPC-controlled sports car in GTA V and rev your engine, sometimes they’ll even engage in an impromptu street race with you when the lights turn green.



When driving at night with your headlights off, citizens of Los Santos will flash you to let you know your lights are off. I say citizens, because the people of Los Santos actually feel like people – they react to you beyond just running in fear. It’s not just that they react to the player, either. Even if you don’t get involved with them, the city of Los Santos works behind the scenes, its people going about their business. Unlike most games, the player – although they surely are – doesn’t feel like the center of the universe.

Even the super-powered enemies of InFamous leave a lot to be desired when compared to the police of GTA V. Sure, the heavily armoured soldiers of InFamous might be inhumanely accurate and occasionally be able to leap across rooftops, but their constant barrage of pinpoint bullet death and grenade spam doesn’t lead to believable intelligence. GTA V’s police don’t just have a more feasible supply of grenades, they react to the player beyond just attacking. If you destroy an officer’s vehicle they will commandeer a citizen’s car to continue the chase. If you shoot an officer in the leg they will fall to the floor and sometimes another cop will drag them behind the nearest vehicle or bit of low cover. At high wanted levels, SWAT communicate with hand gestures and use flanking maneuvers to take the player down.


This sense of personality even extends to the city. I can picture Los Santos in my mind, even down to the road textures and the sounds. I can feel the vibration on the respective side of my controller as my wheels touch the hard shoulder. I can hear the “vwoom” as I enter and exit a tunnel. I can see where the landmarks are in relation to each other – I can picture the wind farms, Mt. Chiliad, downtown L.A., the tunnels leading out of the city and the caravan parks of the city’s outskirts. When I picture InFamous, all I can see is the Space Needle. The streets all look the same.



The same could be said of Watch Dogs‘ grey Chicago. Los Santos is the bustle of the real world condensed into a perfect virtual playground. With the power of PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 behind it, the increased density is going to make newer open-world games look lazy in comparison. We all have that one friend who drives around GTA adhering to the highway code – it’s because people want to be tourists in that world. Rockstar is set to pour that eye for detail into the remaster, not only upping the textures, resolution and frame rate, but actually adding details to the game – more grass, wildlife and details. Once the GTA V remaster is out, I guarantee Second Son’s particle effects won’t seem so impressive.

About Kirk Mckeand

Kirk is the editor-in-chief for Inner Geek. He's also an award-winning freelance games journalist who's written for IGN, Eurogamer, Edge Online, T3 Magazine, The Telegraph, VideoGamer and more. He also loves curry. Find him on Twitter:


  • RjK311jR
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 13:05 pm

    This sums up GTA vs any other open world!
    This sense of personality even extends to the city. Even down to the road textures and the sounds. I can feel the vibration on the respective side of my controller as my wheels touch the hard shoulder. I can hear the “vwoom” as I enter and exit a tunnel. I can see where the landmarks are in relation to each other – I can picture the wind farms, Mt. Chiliad, downtown L.A., the tunnels leading out of the city and the caravan parks of the city’s outskirts. When I picture InFamous, all I can see is the Space Needle. The streets all look the same.

    Perfectly said!!

  • steve-0
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 13:46 pm

    Was the sole purpose of this article just to somehow put down Infamous Second Son? Real non-biased gamers will just play both and not look for unnecessary reasons to compare the two Kirk, so maybe step your journalism game up cause this kind of fluff is typically the kind of thing left to fanboys and the intellectually challenged.

    • Draven71
      Aug 30, 2014 @ 18:54 pm

      I totally agree with you steve-o. This is a bullshit fluff piece designed to instigate fanboy wars. Both games are fantastic in their own way and should be enjoyed as such.

  • Doc
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 14:44 pm

    This makes no sense, it’s not an either or. Just enjoy them both for what they are.

  • Davetherave
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 14:44 pm

    Couldn’t agree with Steve o anymore. I actually completed infamous twice and got bored of the same old guy but I am willing to give it another try with the remastered version

  • Gman
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 15:04 pm

    Click Bait article. Fanboy article. Comparing and a true open world game vs a more story oriented game that allows you to run around…. lol Try again.

  • Jessika
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 15:21 pm

    They are both open world games but they are completely different games, your article would have made more sense if you would have compared GTA V to Watch Dogs. So to you sir I say LOL!

  • Matty
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 16:00 pm

    This piece doesn’t make too much sense…they are entirely different games trying to accomplish entirely different things. Infamous is a story driven game – thus the scripted day/night cycle to heighten dramatic situations (just to use one of your examples…even though you can change the time of day at will now with an update).

    The developers of Infamous could have made the world larger if they wanted to…but they specifically have stated that this game is about feeling powerful and mobile, and that an overly large city would extend travel time too much and make the city not as learnable (which isn’t as necessary for GTA which is more about exploration and discovery which this game isn’t even attempting to achieve).

    As a journalist myself, I’ll say that you can’t just birth an opinion and then find out of context bullet points to back it up and call it an editorial.

    Neither of these games are perfect, but they are both great achievements in their respective fields. Just because two games take place in an open space with no (or minimal) loading screens does not mean they are comparable. Open world is not a genre (though the term is being misused as one lately) and it doesn’t always mean the same thing.

  • Jesse
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 16:02 pm

    Second Son is a completely different style of game than GTA. Citizens on the street don’t really matter to a super powered guy on the roof somewhere. This is just a GTA fan boy fluffing a game that has enough fluff already. It’s good we get it.

  • Dirk
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 16:41 pm

    I agree with most of the comments made about GTA V vs. Infamous: Second Son. However, let us keep some perspective on details. GTA V was 5 years in development. They had a lot of time and money to get things right. I’m sure they also had a much bigger budget and to some extent didn’t have to worry about whether people were going to want the next GTA installment. The same couldn’t be said for Infamous: Second Son. Most of what you talked about seems like development choices on what to concentrate on for developing the game. From a technical perspective I don’t doubt if they thought about it and had the time could have put the same level of life into Seattle that GTA 5 put into Los Santos. The last thing I wanted to say was about the Day and Night cycle in Infamous: Second Son was a clear design choice made by developers to provide a certain mood for the game. They mentioned this in several interviews.

  • Coolman
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 17:37 pm

    Why would you compare GTA V to inFAMOUS?

  • DevilDogA99
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 20:30 pm

    I don’t know why this game did so well. It’s a bad thing for the gaming world & it makes all gamers look bad. We will never mature until junk like this isn’t praised.

  • Themule
    Aug 29, 2014 @ 20:44 pm

    Infamous is a fast-action game , superhero game, in large world. That doesn’t make it a SANDBOX game, which is what GTA is. Open world =/= SANDBOX or vice versa. Get it? Good.

  • Aug 29, 2014 @ 22:21 pm

    As said above, the devs chose to focus on different things. Infamous isn’t really about the world. It’s about the characters and powers. GTA’s main character has always been the world, since part 3. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on that extensively and get the details right. EVeryone wants to compare any game where you can run around a big city to GTA, forgetting that most of those games don’t have the same goals in mind.

  • Brian
    Aug 30, 2014 @ 7:06 am

    This is dumb. Nobody cares. And GTA V gets pretty boring unless you’re into playing online. Watch Dogs is more fun than GTA V.

  • SalmonMan
    Aug 30, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

    I probably agree with GTAV looking more impressive – shame the story and general gameplay is awful compared to SS though.


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