Infamous First Light: Review
The main purpose of this standalone expansion is to provide a background to the character of Fetch, a favourite of many, including myself, from Second Son. The story on offer here achieves that and it surprised me with plenty of twists and turns with a few big moments. It sets up Fetch’s position in Second Son brilliantly and is interesting and engaging for its duration. The pacing is great with the story split up into easily manageable chunks, each containing a few story missions, separated by an important cutscene. I enjoyed this layout and thought it was a great way to present Fetch’s story. A good selection of new and old characters appear throughout, but it’s protagonist Fetch and the evil Augustine who are the stronger, especially Fetch who presents an emotional story of her life prior to the events of Second Son. She’s a really great character and her facial expressions show real emotion, it’s really great to watch. In an expansion dedicated to her it’s great to see her edge out the rest of the cast.
The cut scenes are also varied with the iconic comic-strip style in action once again. A noticeable difference from previous titles that is apparent here is the removal of the karma system, which has become a feature that sets the Infamous series apart from the rest. The cutscenes don’t ask you to make a choice, as was the case in Second Son, meaning Fetch’s actions have no good or bad consequences. This results in a linear experience as you move from mission to mission before reaching a cutscene. The cutscenes themselves are of a high quality once again and provide a lot of detail and emotion, moving the story along superbly. The story missions themselves aren’t very imaginative with one in particular proving to be very frustrating. The mission in question sees Fetch secluded to a rooftop with movement completely restricted. All she is required to do is aim and take out enemies on the street below, basically playing as sniper. This is very odd and out of touch with the rest of the game considering swift and exhilarating movement is what the Infamous series prides itself on. The side missions, which provide a decent amount of skill points when completed, are a fairly average distraction with none of them proving to be that challenging. You take down police drones, draw graffiti with your neon powers and save hostages from gangs of thugs. Stopping drive by’s by destroying vehicles are probably the most exciting, though that’s not saying much. They do provide easy trophy opportunities, if you’re a collector, and they’re a good way to upgrade powers fairly quickly. They add some extra hours outside the main story but it’s the added battle arena, and the chase to complete each challenge that will have you coming back to this expansion.
Anyone who has played a previous entry in the Infamous series will feel right at home in First Light. It shares a lot of similarities with previous titles, most noticeably the movement and traversal through the city of Seattle which was so finely tuned in Second Son. It’s a real delight here once again and it’s a joy to see Fetch speed through streets, fly up the side of buildings before gliding to another part of the city in the distance, all in a matter of seconds. The heart racing movement on show here is helped by neon vortexes scattered throughout the city, that when passed through give Fetch a short boost in speed. Racing through these in quick succession turns Fetch’s surroundings into a blur which gives a real sense of speed that is exhilarating. It’s fast, fluid and fun. The swift movement that First Light provides wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the superb controls that are present here. They’re excellent and very responsive, allowing you to change the direction Fetch is heading in an instance, even when traversing at speed. Flying up a building before plummeting to the ground with pinpoint accuracy is effortless. It’s what we’ve come to expect from the series and First Light continues the tradition here.
Combat is also familiar with a few tweaks here and there. Whilst Fetch may only have her neon power, which may be a turn off to some, the number of different ways to use it meant I never got tired of disposing enemies in sharp flashes of pink neon goodness. Fetch can reel off swift neon bolts in a flash before sending a dozen homing missiles at susceptible targets. A stasis blast can also be fired off to knock enemies dizzy for a short period, allowing Fetch to close in and use her melee finishers to blast opponents away. Players can combine movement in combat to good effect with one of the most enjoyable attack being Fetch darting up a building before dropping from great heights onto the helpless enemies that are unfortunate to be below. The insanely powerful singularity ability is also present. Witnessing a large group of enemies being thrown into the air and blasted uncontrollably across the city is very satisfying.
While I enjoyed the combat for the most part in First Light, there are a few problems I had with it. Firstly, it’s too easy. While there may be a decent number of enemies closing in at any one time, you are never overwhelmed, which would require you to carefully think about your approach to combat in previous titles. Fetch’s ability to focus when aiming with a neon bolt, which slows down time, also removes some challenge to the combat as shooting weak points of each and every enemy doesn’t require too much skill. The final qualm I had with the combat was that there were no big bosses to be seen. In the city you face the same D.U.P enemies of Second Son along with thugs that roam the streets on foot or in cars, while in the arena you face a mix of enemies in the form of holograms. None of the enemies are immensely powerful and with no big boss in sight, the challenge is decreased. Despite these shortcomings, the combat as a whole, for the enemies you face, is entertaining and it does a good job of making you feel like a powerful superhero.
As for the aforementioned battle arena, they’re the new addition introduced in First Light. During the single player story they’re used to break up the story missions and allow you to practice new neon powers that are gained as you progress. There are three different rooms with two different modes in each. One mode has you saving hostages from a variety of enemies while the other has you defeating waves of D.U.P and other enemies. There are also challenges available with high scores to be chased by completing certain criteria. Doing so gains you skill points to increase the strength of your powers. It’s a neat addition and provides a fresh change from the open city of Seattle. It’s also this secluded aspect that proves to be the battle arena’s greatest success as it provides a different spin on the traditional Infamous open-world gameplay. You’re now confined to the boundaries of the room which steadily fills with enemies as you make your way through each level of each mode. Restricting Fetch to these boundaries tests player’s skill in combat, more so than in the open world, as there isn’t too much space to dash out of danger. Different outfits for Fetch are available and for those who played Second Son, the ability to play as Delsin, the main protagonist from the previous game, is also available providing a nice amount of content for this expansion.
In the graphics department, Infamous First Light is just like Second Son, which is a good thing as both games look and sound fantastic on the PlayStation 4. The well textured city of Seattle is open from the start allowing you to explore at hearts content. The city itself looks great at every time of the day, especially from up high looking across the city in the distance, most of which can be reached with the unreachable areas fading out into the background. There was also no pop-in during my time with the game, even when sprinting through the city at insane speeds, and everything runs smoothly with no frame drops noticeable, even during intense combat sections. If you’ve played Second Son, you know what to expect here.
Character models are also impressive, especially in the facial details, and most notably on the main protagonist Fetch. The quality of these allow for real emotion to be presented to the player and it’s a real highlight. The main focus of all Infamous games are the superpowers and just like every previous entry, they’re a visual spectacle once again. Painting the city in sharp, vivid pink neon is a thrill and looks gorgeous. The lighting is also a standout, especially at night, as Fetch lights up street after street with dazzling pink neon bolts and missiles. The piercing noise these attacks make, as well as the whizzing sound when Fetch runs at super speed compliments the visuals perfectly. The amazing particle effects when recharging from neon signs and the faint pink trail left behind by Fetch when darting through the streets is a nice touch, and adds more eye candy to what is another fantastic looking entry from Sucker Punch.
Infamous First Light is a solid expansion to the Infamous series and provides a decent amount of content with a great story. The battle arena is an interesting and enjoyable change from the open world and provide plenty of challenges to complete. Fetch is an awesome character and having the chance to understand her background and where she was before the events of Second Son is a real delight for any Infamous fan. Its sounds and visuals are great, but that’s to be expected from a game with this title, as are the responsive controls and free-flowing movement which is a real delight once again. It’s just a pity that some of the main missions didn’t live up to the great story presented to the player through high-quality cut scenes. The side missions are pretty mundane as well, which is a shame, as this was a great opportunity to add some unique experiences for Fetch to complete with her spectacular neon powers around Seattle.