inFAMOUS: Second Son was one of the biggest system sellers for Sony’s new PlayStation 4. The game offers players the experience of being a regular guy who is suddenly granted the Demi-God like powers of a Conduit. Along the way to save your family players will be confronted with morality choices that either move them towards Infamy or Heroism. inFAMOUS has been known as the franchise that offers the Super Hero experience coupled with great gameplay mechanics and a great story, but none of this matters, since right out of the gate most disabled players will be confronted with one or more extremely difficult barriers to overcome. And unfortunately, they don’t let up after the prologue.
Let me start by saying, I don’t have a visual disability, and this game was visually inaccessible for me when I played. This is because when playing through levels in the early game, inFAMOUS: Second Son gives players button prompts that are virtually unreadable, even if you aren’t visually impaired. At one point close to the beginning of the game players have to rescue Deslin’s brother from underneath a wrecked car, to do this they have to press and hold a button, but the visual prompt was not labeled and completely unreadable. It wasn’t until I restarted the game the next morning that I realized that the image on the screen was two fingerprints, and that it was telling me to press and hold my fingers on the touch pad in that configuration. To make matters worse, the HUD features extremely small font and no features that allow you to customize visibility. Because of the fine motor barriers, it’s not clear what all relies on color in this game, but it is clear that given the small HUD elements that most players with visual disabilities will have a problem with this game, especially since it does seem to communicate important details by color.
I no more than installed inFAMOUS: Second Son before I ran into a major fine-motor barrier. The very first scene has a motion controlled mini-game, in which the player must move the controller around in order to spray paint and tag a building. What’s worse, this scene does nothing more than confirm Deslin’s status as a bad boy, and seems like more of a gimmick then an actual mechanic to drive the story along. inFAMOUS: Second Son also has absolutely no controller customization, and players will have to use both hands when playing this title. This also means that the frantic combat system and precise aiming required will be inaccessible to a lot of disabled gamers simply because the controller doesn’t flex. Not to mention that the combat system would be hard enough to deal with, even with adequate controller customization. Beyond this, there are more gimmicky features within inFAMOUS: Second Son. The game makes use of the touch pad to do the most mundane things, like opening doors. It is true that some of the touchpad uses are cool, but for the most part it just seems like Sucker Punch was in love with the PS4 hardware and trying to come up with new and innovative ways to use it, which wouldn’t be a problem if these were optional for the player. However, because there is no controller customization and very little flexibility in the in-game options, this just creates more hassles for disabled gamers then this admittedly good game is worth.
Unfortunately, gamers with auditory disabilities won’t fare much better. This is because there is an extensive cutscene at the beginning of the game that sets up the story that is not subtitled. Even when the player has the option to turn subtitles on, unless they are sitting on top of their TV, they will be forced to squint, and even then they may miss what is going on, since the subtitles seem to flash by too fast to be readable. Beyond this, only story driven dialogue is subtitled, and there is no way to tell what is going in outside of what the characters are saying.
I absolutely hate dumping on games, but inFAMOUS: Second Son is simply inaccessible to all categories of disabled gamers. I do not fault Sucker Punch, but disabled gamers need to know that they most likely should avoid this game, no matter what their disability. At DAGERS we look at a game and try to determine at what point the barriers make the game unenjoyable, inFAMOUS: Second Son is a great game that unfortunately never starts being fun for the disabled gamer due to its many barriers.
Overall Rating: Inaccessible
Visual Rating: Inaccessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Inaccessible
Auditory Rating: Inaccessible
Released For: PS4
ESRB Rating: T
GameInformer Score: 8.50
The Bottom Line: inFAMOUS: Second Son
– Extremely small font and hard to read button prompts.
– No controller customization.
– Dialogue between characters is subtitled.
– Players will miss the initial cutscene because subtitles can’t be turned on right when the game starts.
This article has been transferred from DAGERSystem (now AbilityPoints). Scores, formatting, and writing style may differ from original CIPT content.