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  • Acceptable Targets:
    • The US government, already not very well portrayed in the first game by having bombastic, outright propaganda lie to the rest of the world about the state of the city - eventually bombing its own citizens - graduates into full-on villain in Second Son, doing things like trying to monitor all superheroes. If that wasn't blatant enough, Benjamin Franklin's oft-quoted comment on security and privacy is the game's main quote.
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    • Drug dealers are the only non-D.U.P. affiliated characters that Delsin can attack with no repercussions. Attacking the racist Akurans, anti-Conduit activists, street performers, and sign twirlers earns evil karma, but more than just going on a killing spree attacking anyone.
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • Toward the beginning of the game, when experimenting with his powers, Delsin says "I am going to touch everything."
    • Reggie's comment "Yeah well, there's good touching... and bad touching."
    • His comments when caught by the Angels might count as this.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Evil Karma Delsin: A Sociopathic Hero with anger issues? A Well-Intentioned Extremist who's similar to Augustine, just without the discipline? A Magneto-esque "Humans and Conduits cannot coexist" revolutionary? A petulant delinquent too immature to use his powers responsibly? A straight-up Villain Protagonist who accurately matches the term "Bio-Terrorist"? And was his Orbital Drop on the Akomish in the bad karma ending a Mercy Kill or him acting out of a mix of rage and sorrow.
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    • Brooke Augustine. Is she really an Anti-Villain Well-Intentioned Extremist like she says, or is she just a sadistic, sociopathic bully who'll do anything to stay in power? Was the memory sequence that Delsin absorbed the truth, a deliberate portrayal of herself in a more positive light, or seven years worth of Believing Their Own Lies?
    • Eugene Sims: A well-meaning, slightly dreamy kid with self-esteem issues who genuinely wants to help people but can't figure out how on his own, or a power-mad, compulsively lying narcissist whose video game obsession has made him completely disconnected from reality trying to force innocents into his private "dominion" to feed his complexes?
    • Due to Reggie saying the same exact thing to Delsin during his death scene in both the Good Karma and Bad Karma paths, fans have been wondering just how far the Undying Loyalty between the brothers go and how far past the Moral Event Horizon Reggie would have been potentially willing to go for his younger brother had he not died and survived for a potential sequel.
      • This also brings up the interpretation that Reggie was in denial and managed to trick himself into thinking evil Delsin was a good person despite all the horrible deeds he undoubtedly saw his brother commit.
      • Another interpretation could be that Reggie thought that getting the approval and validation of his older brother would stop Delsin from careening further down the abyss.
      • Reggie opinion of Conduits in general is up for debate. He starts off bigoted, but does he grow to accept Conduits or is he humoring Delsin to bring him back home? And why is he so concerned with Delsin being a Conduit, and ecstatic whenever there's a possibly Delsin might lose his powers? Is he concerned for his brother's wellbeing, or does he not like Delsin being different or does he not like Delsin having power over him?
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    • Comes up when you fight Augstine. If you are going Good Karma, taking her down counts as a Good act as it's Unseating a Tyrant. If you are Evil, it Evil Karma as it's just Bucking the Establishment.
  • Ass Pull: The revelation that the RFI detonation in Infamous 2 did not kill all Conduits. Considering the ending of Infamous 2 showed that even unactivated conduits as far from New Marais as East Africa and Asia were killed, it's strange to see that conduits are still common in the United States.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
    • The Paper Trail DLC tries to quell the above mentioned Ass Pull by claiming that only 90% of the Conduits were wiped out in the RFI explosion. The problem is that the information is at such an obscure point in the game that many players wouldn't know that unless they looked it up.
    • The Paper Trail DLC itself suffered from the player being forced to sign into an external website to progress in it. With the site getting shut down, the game will be patched so that players can enjoy the mission without needing the site.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Delsin. Players either find him to be a fun character with entertaining lines, or an obnoxious punk who tries too hard to be Totally Radical and lacking character development.
  • Broken Base:
    • Over whether there should be another Infamous game, as 2 tied up all of the plot lines from the first two games. There was also debate over Delsin, but many people liked Good Karma Delsin.
    • The Paper Trail DLC doesn't give Paper Powers. For some, this was really annoying, especially since the DLC is regarded as That One Level.
  • Contested Sequel: Portions of the inFamous fanbase disregard the game as canon, due to a protagonist that lacked chapter development, a shallow story, a cheap retcon of the consequences of 2's Good Karma ending and the acceptance of the Evil Karma endings by some other fans. Others liked it for its gameplay and felt Delsin (at least on the good Karma path) and Reggie were likable characters.
  • Continuity Lockout: Averted much like inFAMOUS 2, only to a larger extent. Since this title is more of a Spin-Off than a true sequel to inFAMOUS 2, it takes place seven years later and features a new protagonist in a new city with a new supporting cast, so not much knowledge of the first two games is required to get through Second Son, and what is required to know is explained in the game.
  • Demonic Spiders:
    • Mounted auto-turrets - they fire fast and have impeccable aim, and whilst they have limited range since they can't turn to face a different direction, they're usually found at D.U.P. waypoints & have a squad of troopers as back-up. Thankfully, Neon's Super Speed can out run their guns & they can't detect Delsin if he uses the Video's Invisibility, and defeating them simply requires getting behind them.
    • The D.U.P. Trucks driving around Seattle. If Delsin is just walking down the road, they'll ignore him; however if he does so much as climb a wall, the truck will stop & the squad inside will exit & open fire as the truck's siren rings out - and after a while, the D.U.P. starts mounting turrets on top of the trucks too & gradually goes from just standard D.U.P. Troopers to the including the more powerful enemies, which make it more likely that a second truck will turn up as you try & take out the stronger enemies.
    • Almost as a Shout-Out to this trope, you actually deal with Demonic Spiders in the Battle Arena Level 3 in First Light. Becomes Fridge Brilliance when you realize the one creating them is a gamer.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Reggie gets a lot of love for his level-headedness, his relationship with Delsin, and his occasional Funny Moments. So much so that he is subjected to many He's Just Hiding! theories and many fans wouldn't forgive Hank for triggering his death.
  • God Damned Bats: The usual D.U.P. Soldier can become this if they repeatedly keep jumping from an area to another. Even worse in Extreme, where most of the time, the enemy will not be marked, so you might end up losing sight of a jumping D.U.P. Soldier until they start shooting you, again.
  • He's Just Hiding!: A lot of fans refuse to believe that Reggie is really dead, since both Hank and Delsin survived being encased in concrete by Augustine. However, there are two flaws in this theory. First, Reggie isn't a Conduit and second, his concrete-encased body fell into a river, so it's likely that he either drowned (assuming that either his face remained uncovered or there were holes in the concrete that allowed water to enter) or eventually suffocated in the concrete (assuming he was fully encased).
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Released in 2014, the game takes place in an X-Menesque world where superpowered Conduits experience Fantastic Racism and are locked up in a prison called Curdun Cay without trial justifying that it's a way to ensure the safety of "normal" humans. Fast forward 2018 with the emergence of ICE and their controversial handling of illegal immigrants the parallels are strangely similar.
    • In the mission "Go Fetch", you are tasked with dealing with anti-conduit protesters. Should you choose to go the evil route and kill them all, Delsin will remark that he did it in self-defense, with the protesters coming after him with... signs and pamphlets. This became an especially sore point in 2016 and 2020, with the rise of anti-police Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the United States, including in no small part, Seattle.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Troy Baker & Travis Willingham previously played Batman & Superman in the Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, and Hawkeye & Thor in Avengers Assemble. Here, they've switched positions of Badass Normal & Superpowered Badass. This also applies to Laura Bailey, who plays Black Widow in Avengers Assemble, but is a Conduit in Second Son.
    • In dialog with Eugene, Delsin hopes the backup the young conduit provides him won't be "Melvin and Lennie from your D&D group." Eugene replies, seeming offended, "I don't have a D&D group," as if that level of nerdiness is beneath even him. The year after this game came out, Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey, voices of Reggie and Fetch respectively, began appearing on Critical Role, a weekly webcast series with other notable voice actors. Have a guess which tabletop RPG is the centerpiece of the show?
  • Jerkass Woobie: All conduits in the game besides Good Karma Delsin can count this, having sad backstories (Besides probably Hank) and good intentions but have done bad things.
    • Henry Daughtry aka Hank. He was horribly treated in the Conduit prison and later in the story, his daughter was being held captive by Augustine which made him have no choice but listen to her commands. However, he is an ex-convict who broke out of many prisons and used his smoke powers to steal more easily, though he could've been stealing money to give to his daughter, so she could live without him. He's also one of the reasons Reggie ended up dying, but then again, he was told that Augustine had never killed anyone, before.
    • Fetch Walker. When she got her powers was almost immediately turned in to the D.U.P. by her parents, causing her and her brother, Brent to run away. After she hooked up to drugs along with her brother, she ended up killing him during a drug-fueled panic attack. After she escaped, she used her power to kill drug dealers as her form of revenge for her brother's death.
    • Eugene Sims. He was bullied in high school and when his powers were discovered after getting pushed too far, he was taken by the D.U.P. where he was forced to summon his demons and angels before they could help him. After escaping, he used his power to kidnap people wearing the yellow D.U.P restraining vests, albeit to help them. It also doesn't help that his own mother passed the bill that got the D.U.P. its funding.
    • Brooke Augustine used to be a soldier for the army. However, during a battle against a giant Conduit Threat, (presumably the Beast) her Conduit powers appeared. Along with a small girl named Celia, Augustine wandered the streets, nowhere to go and had seen Conduits being killed by humans. When the army arrived, she believe they were going to help her and Celia. But instead, the army was targeting them. Augustine ended up sacrificing Celia to the army, trapping her in concrete, so she could convince the army to create the D.U.P., so she could protect innocent people from Conduits when truthfully, she was trying to take them to Curdan Cay, so no one could harm them. Her sadistic behaviour, specifically when attacking the Akomish and Delsin at the beginning, especially when you're doing the Good Karma route, sacrificing Celia to the army as stated earlier, her belief of humans and Conduits being unable to co-exist and causing the death of Reggie is what definitely makes her this.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Evil karma Delsin crosses it when he kills Hank who's a few feet away from his long-separated daughter and just wanting to go live his life. Even if he was responsible for Reggie's death, it's a very cruel thing to do. If not that, the other potential MEH crosser is Delsin killing the rest of the Akomish after they disown him.
    • Augustine killing Reggie. She's fully capable of simply immobilizing a person, and could've spared him by removing the concrete. Instead, it's shown steadily covering Reggie's body, meaning she actively intended to kill him, which takes when he lets go of Delsin to keep it from spreading onto his body too. The death he would've earned could only have been an awful one.
    • Shane from First Light ultimately crosses the MEH when he betrays Fetch by kidnapping Brent & holding him hostage so that Fetch will become his enforcer & allow him to become the Kingpin of Seattle. From that point on, he just slides further & further into outright villainy, culminating in Brent's death.
    • The extremists of the "Purity First" initiative in Paper Trail, the ringleader and his goons kill around fifteen suspected conduits and post it up on their forums as a "hilarious video", gloating about it all the while like hunters bagging a game animal. Fittingly, when the ringleader is confronted he realizes that a Delsin/Player of either karma level would knock the everliving crap out of him or just straight up kill him, so he jumps into the bay and kills himself.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The sound made when you absorb power from Core Relays and Blast Shards from Tracker Drones.
    • The sound made when absorbing items that refill your power and health is another great sound to listen to.
  • Narm:
    • Reggie's death on the Infamous path - his last words are the same as the Hero path, that he's so proud of the man Delsin has become... Which really doesn't make sense when Delsin is happily running around killing anyone who slightly annoys him.
    • Unfortunately there tends to be a lot of Gameplay and Story Segregation when it comes to Infamous path. When recruiting Fetch, Delsin threatens Reggie with physical violence if the latter tries to follow through with arresting her, and the following scene immediately makes light on the situation and Reggie's follow-up phone call gets Played for Laughs with "pouty Reggie" and Reggie never mentioning that his brother threatened him.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Zeke makes an appearance via phone call late on in the "Cole's Legacy" missions.
  • Play the Game, Skip the Story: How some feel about this game.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Delsin to some people, especially since The Stinger in the previous game implied that Cole might have survived or was revived.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Evil karma Delsin, compared to good karma Delsin. He basically commits mass murder For the Lulz, Reggie barely calls him out on it, and for some reason, he starts looking like he's got a bad cold going on and hasn't been sleeping well.
    • Hank. If several Reddit threads mean anything, even the most devoted good karma players at least thought about killing him for selling Delsin out to Augustine, who then kills Reggie.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The manner in which you unlock the Paper Trail missions. Having to visit an external website just to unlock the next mission seems needless at times.
    • Using the touch pad to hold up the core relay and then slamming R2 to destroy it. It feels awkward to use and the finger that uses the touch pad has to be held down; one slip and Delsin drops it.
    • Whenever there's 2 missions, one for each karma, you cannot choose the mission opposite to your karma. In short, Evil Delsin can't start good missions and vice versa, basically forcing a strictly good/evil playthrough. Especially painful in the final mission, where you need to choose to kill or spare Augustine; a good Delsin can't be made to kill Augustine, no matter how much the player might loathe her. Overall, the game gives less freedom of choice than the previous games and switching Karma halfway can create plot holes note , making one wonder if it was rushed.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • To the X-Men. Whilst the similarities between Conduits and Mutants have always been there, Second Son takes it even further by dropping the need for a device like the Ray Sphere to activate Conduit powers & introducing an oppressive government agency claiming Mutants/Conduits are menaces who should be locked away from society.
    • Also to Darker Than Black, since Contractors frequently make use of Heart Is an Awesome Power similar to the Conduits' powersets in this game and the plot also deals with empowered individuals in the employ of an organization which hates them.
  • That One Level: The Paper Trail missions. Each mission, except for the first, is unlocked by logging onto an external website, where the player is required to navigate through a series of complicated clues, without many hints as to what you're looking for. And on top of that, sometimes the vital clue you need to input to progress will refuse to work.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • When you really get right down to it, Hank was really just a plot device for Delsin to get his powers and trigger his Despair Event Horizon. After the player chooses to spare him, he just disappears from the remainder of the story. It would have been interesting to see him partake in the final battle to atone for his crimes in the Good Karma path.
    • Augustine herself ends up following into this as she spends the majority of the game completely off-screen, so the only impression the player really gets of her is that she is a Hunter of Their Own Kind who wound up getting Drunk On Power. But then, during the eleventh hour, the game tries to surmise that she may have been a Well-Intentioned Extremist all along, an interpretation that inFAMOUS: First Light ends up leaning into, but by this point, it was during the final boss fight, so whatever nuance this twist could have offered got undermined by the fact that it was introduced far too late into the plot.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Second Son being the kind of game it is, at least one case of this was probably on purpose. It's easy to wonder why the game goes for such a black and white good vs. evil karma and story system when the matters unfolding in it are so relatable to real life. Then you realize that it's exactly because of that that it probably wasn't a good idea to, say, portray a frustrated rebel against an unjust system using violent methods as the "Evil" route. The X-Men say hello again.
    • Some people believe the biggest detriment to the story was that it follows the Good Ending to inFAMOUS 2. If it followed the Evil Ending, not only would the revival of the Conduits be seen as less of an Ass Pull, but Beast Cole could be the game's final boss. Appeal to the majority won out though, since less than 30% of players ever even saw that ending.
    • The overall narrative of the game only loosely connects to its Evil Path portion. While Fetch and Eugene clearly go through Darker and Edgier Character Development, (and Augustine makes snide comments before the Final Boss) Reggie, Betty, and even Seattle at-large barely bother reacting to shifts in Karma or Karmic Actions. No TV Reports. No calls from major characters congratulating or expressing concern for your mental state. You'd think Reggie would respond more poorly to being physically threatened by Delsin or Fetch/Eugene responding to a shift in positive Karma. Much of the game's outerlying narrative seems designed primarily for a Good Path playthrough, making an Evil run rather weightless until the Downer Ending.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Take a guess. Hank Daughtry would be a lot less tempting to kill if he didn't spend his every onscreen moment being as unlikeable as humanly possible. To wit, his first act is to reward Delsin helping him by taking him hostage, andnote  itnote  justnote  goesnote  downhillnote  fromnote  therenote . Even his daughter, who the game dangles in front of you to push you against killing him, won't do that job well once a player considers that Hank didn't love her enough to quit his life of crime before he broke out of his eleventh prison.
    • Given his Base-Breaking Character status, Delsin also falls into this territory to his detractors. His initial reason for wanting to go to Seattle is to syphon Augustine's powers so that he can heal his tribe but by the time he gets there he almost completely forgets about this and is more obsessed with getting new powers for his own enjoyment and simply wants to fight Augustine. He only ever brings up his original motive whenever Reggie tries to rein him in and talk him into returning home. This hits its peak after his powers seemingly completely short-circuit and Delsin is exclusively upset at the idea of no longer having powers rather than not be able to save the tribe. This all makes all his talk about the Conduits being oppressed come off as rather superficial since it comes off like he really just want to have super powers consequence free.
  • Values Dissonance: Even at the time of the game's release, the Drugs Are Bad message was a bit iffy with plenty of people starting to believe that it was more of a health issue than a crime issue. Seattle, in particular, would be one of the first cities in America to decriminalize marijuana. In the game, drug dealers are considered Asshole Victim Always Chaotic Evil thugs. So much so that they're the only other major enemy in the game with Delsin dismissing their deaths at the hands of Fetch.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Augustine and the DUP capture Hank after he escaped and two people - a juvenile delinquent and an old lady - shared a few words with him in the factory he was burning down. Hank is later revealed to have been working for Augustine the whole time in a Failure Gambit to make the DUP look good and important to the public.
      You'd Expect: That Augustine would have someone trained for PR to keep the various civilians pacified while they check the perimeter for any other conduits (like Fetch and Eugene) might be skulking around. They have each of the Akomish interviewed on the record to get their side of the story to be handed to the news and maybe even have them tested for the conduit gene, a painless form of technology that they have at the ready. Odds are one of the Akomish civilians will out Delsin before it comes to that and they target him and him only.
      You'd Also Expect: That the DUP uses their vast resources to pay Betty for the burned down factory, compensating her (and likely the other Akomish that work there) for the damages their "negligence" caused, not only painting them as responsible in the eyes of the public but possibly even bribing them for their support and their silence.
      Instead: Augustine tortures all of the Akomish for information they don't really want or need and leaves them all.
      The Result: An entire Native American tribe is left to pointlessly die slow, painful deaths (which would have been a nightmare for their PR) and gives Delsin a selfless incentive to go after her. Good!Delsin saves all of their lives by beating her and destroying all trust the public had in the D.U.P., while Evil!Delsin just straight up murders her and the Akomish and leads an army of conduits pissed off at the normal, fragile humans that unfairly demonized them.
    • If the player chooses Good Karma for the first Karmic choice, Delsin admits that he is a conduit to Augustine, claiming that he "caught" it from Hank.
      You'd Expect: Augustine would have Delsin escorted away and have him tested for the conduit gene, something that is shown to be very quick and painless. If he tries using his powers to escape, Augustine encases him in concrete just like she did Hank, having eye-witness proof that he is a conduit.
      Instead: Augustine ignores his claim, shives him with concrete, tortures everyone else there and just leaves him there.
      The Result: She now has a conduit who won the Superpower Lottery, a rebellious streak and a grudge against her ready to tear Seattle and the DUP a new one to get to her.
    • Hank honestly believed Augustine when she said she only wanted to capture Delsin to talk and that she wasn't going to kill him. Hank knows that Augustine isn't exactly the kind of person to be trusted, saying "she's got a sadistic streak a mile wide".
      You'd Expect: That Hank would expect someone like Augustine was lying and ask Delsin to help him protect his daughter.
      Instead: Hank just takes Augustine's word for it.
      The Result: She betrays him, encases him in concrete and kills Delsin's brother Reggie. Now not only is he back to square one, but the one guy who had any chance in actually helping him evade the D.U.P. has a personal incentive to antagonize him. Evil!Delsin even went so far as to kill him with his daughter a dozen meters away.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?:
    • The white boss of a government agency walks into the collective home of a Native American community and needlessly brutalizes them when they do not give her what she wants with no foreseeable consequences. When one of the members tries to retaliate, the government proceeds to paint him as a criminal beyond redemption that started the conflict.
    • The main setting takes place in Seattle, which is known for being one of the most progressive cities out there in America. As a result, it is not surprising to see several people (especially liberals) there protesting for social reforms (Just like Black Lives Matter protests back in 2016 and 2020) like what Delsin are doing in the game if he's on the good path: Striving for equality.
    • The mass internment of individuals by a Homeland Security-esque agency in cages with the justification being that some of them are criminals.
    • Just the fact that the U.S. Government relabels a group of people as "terrorists" as an excuse to ignore any sense of human decency and arrest, detain or just outright kill them with no due-process.
  • The Woobie: Good Karma Delsin becomes this at the end. Although managing to put a stop to the D.U.P., his brother Reggie ended up dying trying to protect him from Augustine. Evil Karma Delsin is more of a Jerkass Woobie, since he murders Augustine out of revenge for killing Reggie and kills the Akomish with a Orbital Drop for banishing him.

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