Hello everyone, and welcome to Late to the Party, a series in which I discuss video games that I’ve finally got around to playing. As much as I enjoy games, it’s rare for me to play them right when they are first released. Normally it takes me anywhere from a few months to a few years to get around to playing to a game, and because of this I’ve got a considerable backlog of games that I’ve been meaning to play. From time to time I’m able to chip away at that backlog and whenever I do so I like to write about it in this series. Today I’m going to tell you about Infamous: First Light. This writing piece will contain only minor of spoilers.
First Light is a standalone DLC for Infamous: Second Son and comes to us from Sucker Punch Studios, the same developer of the previous Infamous games. As a standalone DLC you don’t need to have purchased Second Son in order to play First Light, though I would highly recommend experiencing Second Son before First Light in order to have a better understanding of what’s going on in the game. For my thoughts on Second Son and a general introduction to the Infamous universe, please see my writing piece on it, which can be found here.
Set prior to the events of Second Son, the main campaign of First Light brings us back to Seattle to explore a particular chapter in the life of Abigail “Fetch” Walker—the Neon Conduit. As the game begins we meet Fetch while she was still a prisoner of the Department of Unified Protection (DUP). Fetch is being questioned by Augustine, the main villain of Second Son, as to what happened prior to her capture. With some gentle prodding from Augustine, Fetch turns back the clock two years and recalls what happened during her final days in Seattle. The story told in First Light makes a small but important revision to the tale Fetch originally told in Second Son, which normally would be problematic but I wasn’t as invested in Second Son’s storyline as the ones in previous Infamous games, and in my opinion the change actually improves Fetch’s backstory, so I’m willing to let it slide. It was good to see Fetch finally get the character development that she was deprived of in Second Son, and surprisingly First Light also shows a new side to Augustine, who presents herself as being sympathetic to Fetch and trying to help Fetch master her abilities. Of course, we know from Second Son that Augustine is a villain and in First Light she’s manipulating Fetch to her own ends, but it was still interesting to see this positive facade that Augustine had going on.
With only the northern half of the Seattle map being open in the game and using a character that has just a single set of available powers, you might think that First Light would be significantly more restrictive and less fun than Second Son, but you’d be wrong. Gone is the karma system of previous Infamous games, allowing Fetch to flex her superpowers with abandon and not worry about the consequences. Infinite super speed is unlocked from the very beginning of the game and is further augmented by pockets of neon gas liberally sprinkled around the city that boost Fetch’s speed even further, meaning traversal has never been faster or easier than in an Infamous game. Fetch’s arsenal of neon powers also far exceeds anything we experienced when using neon powers in Second Son, making the restriction to a single power set a nonissue. Acquiring a majority of Fetch’s power, which is something that can easily be done very early in the game, Fetch becomes ridiculously strong, to the point that you’ll probably find that the game isn’t overly hard on the Normal Difficulty setting. As you progress the story and unlock more powers Fetch will tear through any opposition you run into, and even if she winds up in a situation she can’t handle you can just use her speed to retreat and heal before rejoining the fray. Where Fetch does break a sweat is in First Light’s challenge rooms. During the main story you’ll be taken back to Fetch’s prison at certain points in order to participate in the challenge rooms and get more interaction between Fetch and Augustine. Outside of those times you can visit the challenge rooms whenever you want to test your skills against waves of enemies and chase high scores. If you have a majority of Fetch’s powers unlocked you should be able to get pretty far—on my first attempt in the Beta Survival challenge room I didn’t run into much difficulty until wave 30—and because they’re a good source of skill points to unlock even more abilities you’ll turn Fetch into an overpowered goddess if you invest some time in them. There’s also an option to play as Second Son protagonist Delsin Rowe in the challenge rooms, though it’s striking to see just how much weaker he feels compared to Fetch. Delsin may have four power sets to choose from, but even with that wider variety of powers he can’t deal out the sheer level of pain that Fetch can unload on enemies.
Photo Mode creations
What can match Fetch’s superpowers, on the other hard, are First Light’s performance and visuals. First Light runs very smoothly, even during the most hectic battles in the challenge rooms, and during my entire time playing First Light I didn’t encounter a single technical glitch or framerate drop. The city of Seattle is just as detailed as it was in Second Son and although First Light’s graphics are starting to look dated compared to some of its contemporary console video games it’s still a pretty sight. For those looking to capture some of First Light’s beauty, Photo Mode can be used to scratch your photographic itch. I should mention, however, that I found First Light’s Photo Mode a bit cumbersome compared to Photo Modes I’ve experience in other games and at times I had difficulty setting up some of the shots I wanted.
When I began playing First Light I was a little unsure about it, but any doubts I had began to evaporate from the first moment Fetch began speeding across Seattle. First Light isn’t perfect but the six or so hours I spent with it were enjoyable and it’s an easy recommendation both to anyone who was a fan of the previous Infamous games or just likes superhero games in general. Overall I think I’d score First Light something like 8.0 out of 10. It’s a short but fun romp that fills a major gap that Second Son had left open and is a great reminder of why the Infamous games are so good.