inFAMOUS: First Light Review
Sony PlayStation 4
The last time we visited Sucker Punch’s Seattle was five months ago in the form of inFAMOUS: Second Son, a game that was enjoyable but played it far too safe and stuck to what makes the series good. We wanted Sucker Punch to experiment and implement new mechanics and features into the PlayStation 4’s first big exclusive title, but now they get a second shot at doing that, in inFAMOUS: First Light. Much like what inFAMOUS: Festival Of Blood was for inFAMOUS 2, inFAMOUS: First Light is a standalone game that ties into the plot of inFAMOUS: Second Son, however it can be enjoyed by existing fans and newcomers to the series. We didn’t take much of a liking to Delsin Rowe in Second Son so when it was announced that inFAMOUS: First Light would focus on Delsin’s charismatic side-kick Fetch, we couldn’t wait to sink our teeth into the game.
inFAMOUS: First Light is a prequel that takes place two years before the events of the main game and puts you in the shoes of Fetch, a conduit who with the help of her brother, wants to escape Seattle and in turn, the clutches of the D.U.P. Unfortunately things go south when the two are just about to escape on a boat, when a Russian gang known as the Akurans appear and kidnap Fetch’s brother. This event forms the main objective of inFAMOUS: First Light, rescue your brother from the hands of the Akurans. While this is quite a simple premise, it is well told and helps the player better understand Fetch’s motives within inFAMOUS: Second Son. We gain an insight into her past, in particular Fetch’s troubles with drug taking, which anyone who has played Second Son would know plays a big part in why she agrees to help Delsin Rowe. Sucker Punch paint Fetch as an imperfect human who reacts realistically to the events that take place throughout the game, and this is what makes her so likeable. Despite her neon powers, we could see that Fetch is still a normal person on the inside so we felt for her in her current situation, and we most definitely rooted for her in her quest to save her brother.
Easily the best and most popular power from inFAMOUS: Second Son was neon, and this makes a welcome return here in inFAMOUS: First Light. Sucker Punch doesn't waste any time in letting you use your powers either, as you’ll be zooming across the city and leaving your neon trails behind you in no time. Seeing as the neon power takes centre stage in First Light, a number of significant improvements have been made to make gameplay feel faster and even more enjoyable. The same gameplay mechanics return from Second Son, you must drain the power from neon sources and then repeat this when you run out again. Fetch runs and navigates the environment so much faster than Delsin does, as well as this Fetch can pick up speed boosts throughout the city which makes getting to your objectives a breeze. Another improvement comes in the combat, which feels more fluid and natural, however this does come at a small cost. We played through the game on normal difficulty and Fetch felt very overpowered as we were taking out multiple enemies very easily, so you may want to play through the game on expert if you’re looking for a challenge. Fetch also gets her own skill tree which is entirely based around the neon power, upgrades including the ability to fire double the amount of shots at the enemy and improvement to Fetch’s running capability. Unlike the main game, inFAMOUS: First Light does not have a morality path, however this suits the character of Fetch well. We learn a lot about Fetch’s past in inFAMOUS: Second Son and so seeing Fetch performing good deeds or helping out random people on the street wouldn't fit in with her character, so in this case we welcome this omission.
inFAMOUS: First Light is an open world game that gives you half of the map that was in Second Son, and within virtual Seattle is a variety of collectables and side missions to collect and play through. To upgrade her powers in the skill tree Fetch must collect lumens spread throughout the city with many of these appearing in hard to reach places, this means that the player must plan their route carefully so they can get the most speed and height possible to collect the lumen. As well as this, there are also a number of lumen races which task you with catching a lumen travelling at great speed, and upon capture of the lumen the player receives double the amount of experience points they would from catching a normal lumen found in the city. One side mission that returns from inFAMOUS: Second Son is the graffiti challenge, but here in First Light you use Fetch’s neon power to create your works of art instead of a standard spray can used by Delsin. All of these side quests are a lot of fun to do and at times we found ourselves ignoring the main story in search of some races and lumens. Due to the speed at which Fetch can dart around the city, there is always a new lumen only a few seconds away for you to collect, meaning the task never turns into a chore. Another way to gain points for Fetch’s skill tree is to complete challenges in the game, and these can range from killing a number of certain enemies, saving hostages to twenty consecutive melee kills. If you want to fully upgrade Fetch, then these challenges will give you a fun way of reaching that goal and make you tackle encounters in ways you may not have thought about before.
inFAMOUS: Second Son was one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 4, and First Light generally continues this trend. InFAMOUS: First Light on the whole looks fantastic, the colour palette of Fetch’s neon power stands out and looks incredible when you are running around the city, but when climbing high buildings objects in the distance can look a little blurred when they didn't in Second Son. While the graphics seem to have taken a small hit, this has improved the frame rate, taking it close to sixty frames per second. Overall, we think this adjustment is an improvement because now inFAMOUS: First Light runs very smoothly which helps the gameplay to no end. Photo mode also makes a return, bringing with it three new filters and the ability to adjust the opacity of filters.
We completed inFAMOUS: First Light’s story in five hours, and then went on to achieve the platinum trophy a further five hours later, giving us approximately ten hours of play time. For a game priced at the budget end of the market, this represents great value for money. Upon completion of the game, you can tackle five battle arenas where you must get the highest score possible while tackling waves of enemies. Think of this as a sort of Horde mode, except for a single player. Also, if you have an inFAMOUS: Second Son save on your system then you can also play these battle arenas as Delsin, giving you full access to all of his powers. You can also track your score on an online leaderboard, where you can see how well you've done compared with the rest of the world. While these battle arenas were fun for a while and do add some longevity to the game, this isn't what we really want out of an inFAMOUS game. For us, the open world plays a big part in inFAMOUS games as we explore new ways we can use our powers to defeat the D.U.P and affect the world around us, however this just isn't possible in a small battle arena. We felt confined to the four walls of the arena, which allowed for little experimentation of the neon power.
inFAMOUS: First Light is simply more inFAMOUS; if you enjoy the games then we recommend you pick this up, however if you’re not a fan then First Light won’t change your opinion in the slightest. We enjoyed learning more about Fetch’s past and her neon power in the game, however the battle arenas felt a little tacked on and there only to fulfil the role of adding a few more hours to your playtime. Fetch is one of the best things to come out of the two inFAMOUS games this year, and seeing her take centre stage in inFAMOUS: First Light proved how good of a character she really is. Fans love her and in turn will love inFAMOUS: First Light too, a game that we recommend to anyone with an interest in the series.