inFAMOUS: First Light Review

Posted September 2, 2014 by Sean Mesler in Video Games

Developed By: Sucker Punch Productions

Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment

Available For: PS4

Release Date:  August 26th, 2014 in North America and August 27th, 2014 in Europe

inFAMOUS: Second Son, was gorgeous, fun and somewhat limited in scope, but told a much more lighthearted story than it’s two predecessors. Divisive as Delsin Rowe may have been, it was pretty unanimous amongst those who played Second Son, that Fetch was a standout supporting character. With her neon powers, crust punk by way of Hot Topic looks, and gutter charm, she became an instant fan favorite.

I would be hard pressed to believe that Sucker Punch put First Light together in 10 months, so I believe the plan all along was to have DLC for the supporting characters. Whether or not we see the rest come to fruition is any body’s guess at this point. However, what we do have is inFAMOUS: First Light and it’s a good reminder of just how good a studio Sucker Punch is. While parts of First Light reminded me of where Second Son fell short, it also reminds me of where it truly excelled – graphics, sound design, performance capture and most of all, gameplay.

Set two years and up to right before the events of Second Son, First Light begins with Fetch in the custody of Augustine, as she explains how she wound up where she is. What follows is a series of story missions that take place 2 years prior all having to do with Fetch and her brother Brent and their run-ins with the Russian Mob and a sleazey conman-like criminal named, Shane.

The story benefits from being a shorter, tighter experience than Second Son. Giving Fetch a singular goal and only her Neon powers, it allows for her to be a more engaging character than even the likeable Delsin was for me. Her motivations are clear and make absolute sense and the game’s narrative is better for it.

Fetch and Brent

First Light is a stand alone game, meaning you don’t need inFAMOUS: Second Son to play it. As such, you won’t have access to all of Second Son‘s Seattle but rather a smaller district. That being said, it’s incredibly impressive how good First Light looks, even scaled down and most likely compressed to high Heaven. All of the great lighting and particle effects from the main game are on display as well as the excellent sound design. It’s all so good, that I’m genuinely surprised at the cost being so low. It kind of makes it a hard sell for 8bit pixel art games or 2 hour or less indi-darlings that cost around $20 when something this polished and gorgeous only costs $14.99.

In terms of gameplay, anyone familiar with Second Son will have no problem controlling Fetch. Outside of the skin and the voice, you might as well be playing Delsin. Controls are exactly same, even the powers vary only slightly. What is different is that Fetch can see neon gas pockets all over the city that give her speed boosts. There are also moments where she can hold onto LED rooftop lights and snipe enemies with explosive lasers. There is also a special melee takedown, which is useful but needs to be “charged” by melee taking down other enemies. Beyond that she can focus and slow down time for more precise shots, shoot, show neon missiles, use stasis to put enemies in human-sized bubbles for easy pickins. Two powers unlock when through story progression for which I won’t spoil the what’s and how’s.

The missions vary a bit, but most revolve around using Fetch’s powers to take out bad guys in gorgeously rendered neon ways, but every once in a while the game gives you a take on Delsin’s missions of shooting down drones, or hacking cameras tot tail people and criminals.

Side activities are few – 4 to be exact and only one is unique to Fetch but still pretty familiar. The first side activity is collecting down neon shards called “Lumens.” These will be all over the place and some incredibly hard to reach if you don’t have the proper upgrades. The next is spray painting, only this time it’s not with paint, but with Neon. Remember those neat images glowing on the walls when Delsin first encounters Fetch’s handy work? You get to do that. It’s a neat spin on what came before, but it’s incredibly brief with only about 6 or 7 locations in whole area. The third side activity are a kind of race, which involves Fetch chasing down moving Lumens. There doesn’t seem to be an end to any particular race, as long as you catch the shard. The last one is added after a story mission later in the game, so I won’t spoil the context of these missions, but I will say you’ve done something similar in Second Son. The only real reason to do any of these things is to get SP for upgrades.

In Second Son, I felt the power tree was needlessly complicated due to Delsin having more than one power type. It required a lot of moving around the upgrade map, and depended on your morality for different powers. In First Light, there is only the one power and no morality system so the power tree is in a straight line, from top to bottom, under each respective ability. It makes upgrading much more manageable, and pleasant.

First Light Fetch

Throughout the game you’re brought back into Augustine’s penitentiary and given brief challenges when you reveal one of these new powers. It serves as a tutorial but also helps towards trophies and in game challenges. At any time you choose, you can return to the challenge arena, though I recommend doing it once you have maxed out the upgrades you can get through playing the story missions proper. In the challenges arena, you can use either Fetch or Delsin, each with their own list of challenges. For trophy hunters, the platinum is much more difficult to achieve than it was in Second Son due to these challenges, but if you put in the time, it shouldn’t be too difficult.

My only real complaints are that being that this is a prequel, I had no trouble figuring out where the story ends up, though exactly how it gets there does offer some interesting surprises. The other, and this is a carry over from the main game, is that the open world doesn’t really seem to have much going on. The world doesn’t really seem all that lived in. Sure, you will see pedestrians and driving cars going about their business, but their business seems to be just being pedestrians and drivers. Also, we get to see a small portion of Seattle pre-DUP occupation, but it’s a missed opportunity in that the only real difference is the lack of DUP command posts and detention centers.

inFAMOUS: First Light is a good piece of stand alone DLC I highly recommend for any fan of Second Son and anyone looking for something to play on PS4 in the end of the dry season. It’s gorgeous, inexpensive, has a ton of replay value in the challenge arena, tells a good story and is fun to play. If Sucker Punch gets to make another piece of DLC for this game, I hope they play with the formula a bit and give the NPCs something more to do than walk and drive. If this winds up being the last piece of DLC for the game, then so be it. Hopefully they’re working on the next chapter of inFAMOUS and taking into consideration that open world games are far more fun when there is more to do in them.

About the Author

Sean Mesler

Sean is a semi-retired hardcore kid, semi-grown up and transplanted from his original home of New York to Los Angeles. A lover and critic of movies, music and video games, Sean is always quick with an opinion, a heaping dose of snark, and a healthy dose of pragmatism. PSN & Live Gamertag: N2NOther