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Developer: Sucker Punch Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4
In 2011, Sucker Punch Studios released an…interesting downloadable expansion for Infamous 2 by the name of Infamous: Festival of Blood. Rather than creating a typical piece of downloadable content for their superhero action game, they decided to get creative and transplant series star Cole MacGrath into a short adventure in which he becomes a vampire and is tasked with slaying an undead horde over the course of one night. It provided the series with a small and amusing installment in the series that shook things up for the sake of fun. So following on from their enjoyable PlayStation 4 debut Infamous: Second Son; I was rather let-down by the news that the expansion for this game would be a mere prequel story about one of the supporting characters. Due to the lack of any apparent ambition, I went in to First Light without expecting anything to impress. As the credits rolled, I was so glad at how wrong I had been.
First Light is a standalone expansion centered on Abigail “Fetch” Walker; a super-powered hoodlum known as a ‘Conduit’, with mastery over Neon light energy. The story opens with, and occasionally cuts back to, Fetch during her incarceration at a Conduit prison facility called Curdun Cay. There she trains and hones her abilities under the watch of Second Son’s main antagonist Augustine; while also telling the cruel queen of concrete powers the story of how she was apprehended. The main chunk of First Light is a series of flashbacks to Seattle 2 years prior; and this is where the expansion opens up to a surprising degree. While it doesn’t grant you access to some of Second Son’s range of content such as a morality system, or Seattle’s second island: what you do get here is a sandbox occupied by a plentiful collection of collectibles, and a sizable amount of mobsters and concrete soldiers to fight against.
The major theme in Second Son’s design and gameplay was to enjoy your powers; and while that title offered you 3 other elements in addition to Neon, what you do get here is a refined and varied version of the Neon skill-set; with a satisfying wealth of opportunities in which to enjoy it. Holding down the Circle button has Fetch transform into a streak of neon light, and unlike Delsin Rowe’s version of this ability in the main game; here you are able to do this practically endlessly, with no meter depletion to suffer. This also works in conjunction with neon clouds riddled about Seattle, which provide you with an extra burst of speed while performing the neon dash. It makes for speedy and very fun traversal around the small open-world environment, and is easily the best gameplay improvement found in First Light; the sense of speed and intuitive motion surpasses many games that aim to be fast, but don’t quite pull it off as smoothly. Aside from dashing, Fetch can also use melee finishers, energy blasts, neon missiles and stasis bursts to overcome enemies. So while the range of abilities isn’t as large as Second Son; what you are given is enough to have a great time in the shoes of Fetch.
The assets you find here are mostly all found in Second Son; however this expansion does offer several new varieties of enemies, as well as new environments in the Curdun Cay segments. The game still boasts effects as gorgeous as you will find in its bigger brother; and the photo mode patched in to the main game is also present in First Light. There’s a limited variety of side content on offer, but it’s enjoyable enough that you won’t need much convincing in aiming for the Platinum Trophy. Littered around Seattle are spots where you can hunt aerial drones, create neon graffiti, and race to collect floating orbs of light called Lumens. All of these activities reward you with points you can use to upgrade your powers; from increased capacity for finishers and missiles, to the ability to brainwash enemies into fighting each other. Furthermore, you are able to fight in Survival and Rescue sessions in three Curdun Cay training arenas; racking up points to complete challenges and obtain a high score in the online leaderboards. A nice bonus for players who own Second Son is the ability to use protagonist Delsin Rowe in these challenges and arenas, with all his powers intact; offering you Good and Evil Karma abilities powered up to their maximum.
I would easily argue that Infamous First Light is an example of additional content done right. It builds upon resources from the main game to craft a new experience that offers fresh content and an extra adventure that is well worth playing if you have already finished the main game. The playable version of Fetch offers improved gameplay with more varied Neon powers, and the story of her tortured past is brief yet compelling; giving fans insight into the character and making an engaging effort towards building upon this young woman’s personality. While there are no grand boss battles at the end of the line; the resolution to this tale is a fulfilling one that nicely sets up Fetch’s character for when she shows up in Second Son. While it hasn’t followed up on the sheer conceptual ambition of Festival of Blood; this expansion is more evidence that Sucker Punch can create expansions that have value, especially in offering a fresh and worthwhile experience
While the main storyline won’t last any longer than 4 hours; the content on offer here feels greater than many DLC releases. First Light is a release standalone from Infamous: Second Son, meaning you don’t require the main game in order to play it, so it is available as a separate download and disc release. If you’re on the fence over whether to get Second Son, or on deciding to enter the series; Infamous First Light is a low-priced option that offers excellent value-for-money, with some of the most enjoyable gameplay mechanics the series has seen. It won’t take long to achieve 100% completion; but what is here is an absolute blast, and an essential budget title for PS4 owners.