(Infamous: First Light is a DLC continuation to Infamous: Second Son. I reviewed the latter at the time of its release here. The two titles are nearly identical in respects to aesthetics and gameplay and as such, many elements of Infamous: First Light will not be discussed in this review as they have already be discussed in Infamous: Second Son’s review. We hope you enjoy that and this article and thank you for reading The Pixel Pen Review.)
Infamous: First Light plunges us back into the corrupt, gang-ridden streets of Seattle in this standalone DLC — this time through the eyes of Abigail “Fetch” Walker, Delsin’s neon slinging Conduit cohort. Following on the heels of “Paper Trail”, Infamous: Second Son‘s free, first DLC which proved to be an interesting cross-platform experiment that concluded with disappointing results, First Light has a lot riding on its super powered shoulders. The DLC shows a lot of pretty effects and some spectacular sights, but it’s lacking in a few elements that set it apart from Second Son, that allows it to become a worthwhile standalone title.
First Light’s story acts as a prequel to Second Son, before Delsin and the D.U.P.’s arrival in Seattle. Instead, it focuses on Abigail “Fetch” Walker, one of the supporting characters in the parental game, tells the story of her brother Brent and their initial run-in with the D.U.P. government agency. They’re accompanied by Shane, a sleazy gang boss, and Jenny, an asset of Shane’s who conveniently works with the city’s surveillance system, as well as a few others who briefly appear as a nod to Second Son. On the whole, the characters and their showdown in Seattle are on the sub par side. While the specifics of the story are pretty good, such as the dialogue and the pacing, the story itself is fairly predictable and uninspired. First Light‘s story will grab some attention but it struggles to keep it with familiar plot points and character developments that aren’t as surprising as the game expects them to be.
Although the visuals between Second Son and First Light remain unchanged, I have to once again applaud Sucker Punch’s comic book style on how beautifully mesmerizing it is. Coupled with the incredible lighting and particle effects of Infamous: Second Son‘s engine, each panel and street corner pops with creativity and color. Sucker Punch accomplishes with their art style something I find truly difficult in modern video games, which is they make their visuals memorable.
The best way to describe the gameplay of Infamous: First Light is that it’s a miniature Infamous. All the staples of the series are here — open world antics and combat, skill points and ability unlocks, collectibles — but they’re just in little bite sized pieces compared to the main entries. First Light is a short game, as is to be expected with a $15 standalone prequel, and Sucker Punch did a fantastic job condensing what Infamous is into an appetizer. The new inclusions with First Light *ahem* come to light in its challenges and its time and point trials that include full leaderboard functionality to show off and gloat. It’s a bit superficial, but the additions are polished and enjoyable. On a side note to mechanics, and I apologize about the specific, minute nitpicking that is to follow, the change to the graffiti mechanic in First Light completely misses the wholly satisfying, sensory feel it had in Second Son. It is understandable as to why Fetch has not spray can, but because the sloppiness of mechanic’s execution, Sucker Punch should have just taken it out.
What Infamous: First Light delivers is a taste of the Infamous universe. As a continuation of Second Son in a sense, the DLC immerses the player back into the world of Conduits and their struggles against a fearful populace with style and success. The aesthetics of First Light, the characters and their story, aren’t as captivating as Second Son‘s as Fetch and friends trade a few witty remarks and some predictable tragic turns. The new features added to gameplay are present for those who want to hone their laser throwing to rack up points in an arcade style time trial, which is polished but not fully realized. First Light packs a lot into its short run time, but it does pretty well as a nugget of Infamous, a small glimpse into the series. However, the $15 price tag might just be a bit overreaching. As such, I’d recommend this to fans of the Infamous franchise, especially to those who enjoyed Second Son, but as a first Infamous experience, I would say this isn’t the best foot to start out on.
Final Score: 7.5 / 10
Written and Edited by Tim Atwood