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Infamous First Light PS4 Review: Illuminating the Past

The prequel to Infamous: Second Son focuses on the powers that made that game such a standout.

This is the second DLC release I've played that sits as a standalone game. The first was Freedom Cry, the DLC for Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag, which told the story Edward Kenway's former quartermaster Adewale. Infamous First Light strikes out in a similar direction, illuminating the backstory of Infamous: Second Son's Abigail "Fetch" Walker, the Conduit who gave protagonist Delsin Rowe his visually-stunning Neon powers.

First Light is a short campaign covering Fetch's time in Seattle a few years prior to Second Son, detailing how she ended up at the Department of Unified Protection's Curdun Bay prison facility. The game hops back and forth between the two time periods: Fetch getting into trouble in Seattle with her brother Brent and his boss Shane, and her interrogation and training by Second Son main villain Brooke Augustine. Gameplay-wise, the DUP sequences act as gates, teaching you new powers that Fetch then uses in the past. It's odd learning to use powers that Fetch then uses in the past, but the game clues you in on the fact that Fetch is purposefully holding back her personal truth from Augustine.

The modern day DUP sequences have the most interesting set pieces.

The story is largely straightforward and eventually boils down to a revenge tale. By the time players met her in Second Son, Fetch was dealing out street justice to drug dealers in penance for the death of her brother. Here we see those events. Fetch's brother Brent helps her through heroin addiction before deciding that they need to pull one last score so they can finally get away from their horrible lives. Things go wrong and Fetch loses track of Brent. She then meets up with Shane, the raging sexist who employed her brother. Shane promises to help her find Brent if she works for him, so Fetch grudgingly obliges.

There were probably more interesting directions to go with Fetch's story, but the story is told well. Shane and Augustine are horrible people, making poor Fetch feel like she's always being pulled and pushed by stronger forces. She's less of a classic heroic figure and more of a steadfast survivor; life throws a lot of pain her way and she just has to roll with it. I wish she had a stronger presence in the game as she feels overshadowed at times, despite a great performance by voice actress Laura Bailey.

When I reviewed Infamous: Second Son, I said that the Neon powers were the highlight of the game. Sucker Punch must've heard me, because First Light's gameplay is just Second Son without all the other powers getting in the way. Fetch's powers in First Light operate just like Delsin's versions of her powers in Second Son. She has the same Neon running ability that allows her to speed across the city and up the sides of buildings. She also totes the same melee attacks, neon missile, stasis field, and Singularity finisher that Delsin showed off earlier this year.

The map of Seattle is the same, but it's been rejiggered slightly. Since Fetch only has one power to work with, Sucker Punch made neon more plentiful in the city. There's also pockets of neon gas that boost your speed as you pass through them. You'll need these to collect all of the Lumens, which allow you to upgrade your abilities. The focus on a single power makes First Light actually feel more cohesive than Second Son on a minute-to-minute basis. It also proves that Neon was the best power in the previous title, as I doubt Video or Rock would've been as strong or satisfying for an entire DLC experience.

Neon still looks amazing.

The missions vary over the 5 hour runtime of First Light, but you've done all of this before if you played Second Son. Shoot criminals, snipe criminals from far away, race from point A to point B, and tag graffiti. You've played these missions in Second Son and you've probably played them in other open-world games.

One thing that's missing in First Light is the morality system that's the cornerstone of the Infamous series. I understand why it's missing - the relatively short running time of First Light means there's not a lot of time to build up significant moral choices - but I still miss the play between good and evil. It makes First Light feel a bit too streamlined.

As penance for stripping out the morality system, Sucker Punch has added Horde-style Challenge Rooms. These rooms allow Fetch (or Delsin if you have a Second Son save) to show off their powers against growing waves of enemies. The Challenge Rooms have their own point system and an online leaderboard. The leaderboard is key, because on their own the Challenge Rooms are a bit too easy. Once you've unlocked and upgraded your powers, Fetch/Delsin are unstoppable monsters. It's a problem that's been apparent in every single Infamous title to date, but it becomes even more visible when all you're doing is fighting.

She's Batman.

First Light is a solid addition to Infamous: Second Son's overall story. Its standalone status means that you can conceivably play it before you jump into Second Son. In fact, paying the $15 for First Light means you get a solid feel for the more-expensive Second Son. Does it completely stand on its own? Not really. It's not Infamous Second Son 1.5, it's just the 0.5 part. Fetch is a great character and First Light is fun, but if you're not looking for more Second Son, you're better off skipping this.

The Nitty Gritty

  • Visuals: Like Infamous Second Son, First Light looks absolutely gorgeous and runs at 1080p.
  • Sound: Infamous First Light's soundtrack is solid, but I can't remember a specific song from it.
  • Interface: It is an interface that does its job.
  • Lasting appeal: This is a done-in-one for the most part, but there's some life in the Horde-style Challenge Rooms
Infamous: First Light is a standalone title, but it's more of a companion to Infamous: Second Son than a full-fledged game in its own right. It focuses the best power set from the previous game and cuts out all the extras. The Neon-powered Fetch is a charismatic character, but her story is a standard tale of loss and revenge. If you really want more Second Son, it's worth a go; if not, you can skip it.
3.5/5

Tags: Infamous: First Light Review Sony Computer Entertainment America Sucker Punch Productions

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