Infamous: First Light Review
As someone who greatly enjoyed Infamous: Second Son, I was looking forward to its first stand-alone DLC, Infamous: First Light, since it was announced at E3 2014. Infamous: First Light focuses on Fetch, a character from Second Son, in a roughly four-hour expansion. Does it shed some light on our hot-pink heroine?
Infamous: First Light centers around Abigail “Fetch” Walker, a conduit and supporting character introduced in Second Son, and takes place before the events of Delsin’s story. Fetch, having been captured and taken to Curdan Cay, is recounting to Augustine the events prior to her capture. These are told through flashbacks, which make up the majority of the game’s playable segments.
If you’ve completed Second Son, then you already know how Fetch’s story plays out. However, without spoiling anything, the flashbacks here are rather boring and feel artificially padded, even with the game’s four-hour campaign. Every time you get close to your goal, something contrived happens to pull it further away from you, and when you finally do reach it, there is only about half an hour of the game left. However, the plot does succeed in developing Fetch as a character, and even sheds some light on Augustine, so I cannot really fault it that much.
What I can fault, however, is the fact that it is unclear under what time frame First Light takes place. No matter how far through the plot you are, the loading screen when returning to the flashback always says “Two years earlier”. And since you only go back to the present for tutorials and the climax, it feels like Fetch is telling her story over the course of an afternoon, rather than seven years as she stated in Second Son.
Infamous: First Light’s gameplay bares similarities to Second Son, and is just as enjoyable. But overall, playing as Fetch feels very different from playing as Delsin. There is a greater emphasis on taking out enemies quickly, as shown by Fetch’s quicker, almost anime-esque melee attacks. Enemies also have randomly-placed glowing weak points, encouraging you to snipe stronger foes from a distance rather than just run in hands lasing.
Since we are playing as Fetch, there is understandably less variety in the powers available. New abilities are unlocked at a slower pace, and most of them are too similar to Delsin’s powers, such as an attack that fires multiple “rockets” that home in on targets, just like the Bloodthirsty Blades ability in Second Son. The only new power is a one-hit-kill finishing move that, once upgraded, can be chained between multiple enemies.
Like Second Son, First Light takes place in the city of Seattle. However, the map is a lot smaller, as we only have access to a small part of the city. Despite this, getting around is just as enjoyable with Fetch as it was with Delsin. The Light Speed sprint ability is unlocked right from the start, and can be used indefinitely without needing to upgrade it. The new mechanic involving this ability are the clouds of neon gas scattered throughout the city (as strange as that is, there is an explanation for it early on). Sprinting through these will give Fetch a temporary boost in speed and jump height, and you will need these to collect the hundreds of lumens scattered throughout the city to upgrade your powers.
Upgrades are a hell of a lot easier to acquire than they were in Second Son. Aside from the aforementioned lumens, you can obtain skill points (that look suspiciously like Sucker Punch’s logo) by doing the side activities. There are less side activities in First Light than in Second Son, but this is to be expected since it is only a 10GB download. Two of them are taken straight from Second Son: the hidden camera and graffiti minigames. Fortunately, finding the hidden camera has been made more challenging by attaching the camera to a flying drone with an affinity for alleyways. But the graffiti game seems a lot harder to control. It feels less like you are aiming the targeting reticle than you are dragging it around the screen. The other two side quests are rescuing citizens taken hostage by gang members, and a race challenge in which you use the neon clouds to catch a flying lumen.
However, the fastest way to acquire skill points is by doing the challenge maps. In the story campaign, these serve as the tutorials for new powers, but otherwise can be accessed at any time from the map. There are two challenge modes available: survival, which, as the name suggests, is burning through waves of enemies until you die; and rescue, which is like survival, but with the added objective of recusing civilians from the enemies that appear. Aside from main objectives, there are also extra leveled objectives such as getting up to a certain score or using a specific ability a certain number of times, that reward you with additional skill points upon completion. You also have the option to play as Delsin if you own Second Son, which I greatly appreciate.
The world of Second Son was absolutely gorgeous, and First Light does not disappoint. The use of lighting is phenomenal, especially at night. Speaking of which, the option to change the time of day after completing the story has been included from Second Son, which is a relief as the neon particle effects are a bit hard on the eyes during the day, and definitely shine (no pun intended) in the dark. The HUD has also been given a makeover to reflect Fetch a little more. Second Son, for me at least, suffered from a bit of slowdown during large explosions or whenever the Karma Bomb attacks were used. Fortunately, this seems to have been significantly reduced in First Light.
Like in Second Son, the voice acting in Infamous: First Light is top-notch, especially Laura Bailey as Fetch. However, something I really enjoyed in Second Son was the dialogue between characters, particularly between Delsin and Reggie. But due to the nature of First Light’s plot, there was not much opportunity for any slapstick dialogue, and the few instances that were there were not as enjoyable as Second Son.
In spite of its flaws, Infamous: First Light’s gameplay is just as enjoyable as Second Son. Traversal and combat are just as fun with Fetch as they were with Delsin, and the plot, while dull, does give its characters satisfactory development. I personally hope Sucker Punch will release similar DLC for Hank and Eugene, and maybe even Augustine. And if, for whatever reason, you could not get your hands on Second Son, First Light will definitely serve as a good introduction!