Although Infamous: First Light is marketed as DLC for the titular series’ Second Son, it stands independently from the base game, serving more as a spin-off. I admittedly went into the game itself without having previously played Second Son, but in terms of the story, that doesn’t seem to be a requirement.
Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, First Light follows Abigail “Fetch” Walker, who serves as the protagonist for the game. The story of First Light is centered on Abigail as she sits in a prison for Conduits like herself, where she is being questioned on her powers and her actions in Seattle two years prior; the game perpetually alternates between these two perspectives.
To the game’s credit, it handles the tutorial aspect of First Light in an interesting way. The portions of the game set in the prison during the present serve as the tutorial, giving players a massive training room to learn to use new powers and abilities, which gradually get introduced. While this functions well enough for the gameplay, it does create somewhat of a contrivance in the plot, as Fetch will suddenly demonstrate powers she’s always had that she never used once before in the flashbacks to two years ago.
When it comes to the flashback portions of the game – which give players the same open-world freedom Infamous is known for – it manages to keep the same entertaining pace as the previous titles. While there is the usual free running aspect, Fetch’s main method of getting around (one that is much quicker) is light running, where she essentially turns into a stream of neon light to travel quickly around the city.
Additionally, much like the previous games, you need to drain the energy from things around the city to regain your energy; this time, naturally, looking for neon lights to regain Fetch’s neon powers, as opposed to electricity for Cole’s powers. For Fetch, this includes anything from billboards, signs on restaurants and bars and even the neon lights underneath certain cars found around the city.
The combat system, for the most part, feels very fluid and is very satisfying. Enemies can be defeated any number of ways with Fetch’s powers or with hand-to-hand combat. However, when players enter the targeting mode, enemies will be shown as have one or more weak-points, depending on if it’s a tougher enemy or not.
There are a few minor snags in the gameplay, such as Fetch having the animation of pressing up against a wall while standing on a ledge, despite no wall being there. In one instance, the only thing in front of her was a sign that was far enough away she wouldn’t have been up against it. Other examples included falling inside of a building into a black void while dashing around the city. These were rare occurrences, however, and it was easy to get out of the building by simply jumping up high enough to hit a ledge in the outside world.
Like most open-world games, there are plenty of optional missions to do. Most of them are what you’d expect: races, destroying a plot-related target (in this case, D.U.P. camera drones), and saving civilians from enemy NPCs; all of them existing to give you points to exchange for ability upgrades. An interesting one thrown into the mix is “light graffiti”. Around the game world, Fetch will find spots where she can use her neon powers to lay down a glowing piece of art directly into the city. The light graffiti makes use of the motion controller, with players having to loosely trace along a vague outline of the art. It’s a simple little thing in the game, but it adds a nice bit of additional entertainment.
Where the game suffers the most is the morality of the character of Abigail. Throughout the game, she expressed the dilemma of harming people, stating she didn’t want to and would deny enjoying it when she did. But in a direct contradiction, a mission had her deny harming the police because she didn’t want to kill them for an arbitrary reason, but instead would decide to distract them – which involved me causing destruction around the city, blowing up cars and killing people more innocent than the police. Unless I missed a peaceful alternative, this seemed to directly contradict the character.
The first Infamous had the same morality spectrum, but it offered you alternatives for completing the mission, being overtly good or evil. First Light seems to act like it has that same aspect in terms of the character development, but it’s not reflected n the gameplay; creating a bit of a divide between the game and the narrative.
However, despite the issue with the story and the few glitches I encountered, Infamous: First Light manages to stand on its own as a DLC-style spin-off game and provides the same level of enjoyment as previous instalments.