The funny thing about the layout of Seattle in Second Son is that Sucker Punch is based out of Bellevue, which is right outside of Seattle. So the developers no doubt knew what they were doing in mapping out Seattle the way they did. As someone who is based out of the Seattle area, I think it's really amusing and silly that they made it into some kind of weird Bizarro-world Seattle made up of two separate islands, but I also think they really nailed the feel and atmosphere of the city. I have my quibbles, like their version of the Pike Place Market being absolutely tiny, but they included enough little details and shout-outs to Seattle and its culture that I ended up being really impressed.
I also don't know if it'd necessarily be as beneficial to be completely accurate to the actual layout of Seattle, as it is mostly just a confusing grid of streets on a slope downhill to the water. It's clear that the developers created two separate islands to gate progress and place landmarks in areas that made sense for the story progression; the previous inFamous games did so by having most of the city without power so that you couldn't really do much in those areas until the story allowed you to turn the power back on. Second Son didn't have that mechanic, so it probably made more sense to create two separate islands than to, say, have a giant DUP wall bisecting the map that you break through halfway through the game to get to the other half of the city. Actually, now that I say that, it doesn't sound that bad, nor does it sound that different to what they actually did. Hmm.
I really liked Second Son, at least a lot more than a lot of people seemed to by the time the end of the year rolled around and Game of the Year discussions started happening. I agree that it is a lot more simplified than the previous inFamous games, especially inFamous 2. I'm a big fan of both of those games, and I think that the lack of dedicated narrative-driven side missions and the inability to easily cycle through the powers at will were a bit disappointing, especially compared to how large in scope and complexity the side content and powers were in inFamous 2.
Actually, one of the most interesting things about the game ended up being the "Paper Trail" ARG missions. While a lot of the actual in-game content was pretty shallow from a gameplay perspective, the ways they tied it into the out-of-game content were actually pretty cool. I had a good time playing detective and going to the fake websites to solve the mysteries in the story, then taking that stuff back into the game. It was kind of finicky to get started when the game launched, but I think it should be good now that all of the content rolled out (I think they initially released the content week by week in an episodic fashion), so if you have the game and haven't tried playing through that content, I'd recommend doing so.
In the end, I really enjoyed my time with inFamous: Second Son. I thought it was a pretty simple, straightforward experience, especially when compared to the previous games in the series, and I might be biased since I'm based around the Seattle area, but I had a lot of fun running and climbing and gliding around a weird, fictionalized version of the city I know and love and using a bunch of visually stunning superpowers. And it is a gorgeous game. The lighting effects alone are some of the best I've seen in a video game (using the neon powers at night was one of the highlights of the game for me, if you'll excuse the pun), as was the mo-capped acting by the likes of Troy Baker and Co. It has its problems, but I had a great time.