Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Seattle is Still a Great Destination for This Super Powered Franchise - The inFamous: First Light Take Your Time Review

Quick Note: Short, but straight to the point, First Light is the standard all downloadable story content should be held to. With a few hours of story and tons of challenges and arenas to take on, the package is well worth the $15 to dive back into inFamous and the neon powers that come with it.

inFamous: Second Son made a lot of promises for PS4 owners and early adopters. The multitude of powers and a real world location brought along some great change and, despite a few stumbling points with pacing and storytelling, introduced us to Fetch, a charismatic and emotional neon powerhouse that Delsin helps, in one way or another. Where as our time with Fetch was fleeting in Second Son, the woman's story and powers are front and center in First Light, and what a package they make.

First Light tells the tale of Fetch's rise and fall in Seattle, starting with her taking on one last job with her brother Brent. Just like any super hero tale, things go wrong and it's up to Fetch to find her missing brother and get out of dodge as quickly as possible. Though the entire story is self contained, it is recommended that players play through Second Son first, as you gain will a better appreciation for the emotional resonance when you see the 'after' before the 'before'. 

It's only half of the city, but damn does Seattle look just as good as I remembered it.
Unlike Second Son, where Fetch is just meeting Delsin and is more standoffish, First Light shows a caring and worried Fetch. She's more vulnerable when looking for her brother, allowing the player to see more of her emotional spectrum aside from distrust and anger. Despite being short, you get to see a lot of Fetch within the story and it really helps round her out as a character, showing her more as a human being and less as the one note junkie that she seemed to be in Second Son.

First Light returns players to modern day Seattle, though with a different feel than the Delsin's tale. This is Seattle before the DUP have risen to power, so there is a more relaxed sense when traveling around the city. Sure, there are gangs of drug dealers who attack during drive-by shootings or hold up people for money, but over all, the atmosphere is far less hostile, allowing for exploration right from the start without having to go and gather powers to get stronger and take on enemies. It's a technique that works well for a short game, and one that Sucker Punch should consider in future inFamous games, as there's less derivation when starting the game up. 

The control scheme is the same as Second Son, which is great for players who are jumping back into Seattle. The shooting and aiming are mapped to R2 and L2, with the other various powers mapped to face buttons and L1 and R1. 

Delsin may have adopted the light, but Fetch is the master of Neon powers
The best part about controlling Fetch though, are her powers. With Delsin, players had just a taste of what neon powers were like, but Fetch is a master of bending the light to her will. Her attacks are faster and feel more fleshed out. Where as Delsin was a Swiss army knife, able to take on whatever power fit the situation, Fetch is more focused, giving her powers more of an impact. Her super move alone blows away Delsin's in a heartbeat. 

Most of the powers are unlocked at the beginning of the game, and just like previous iterations of the franchise, players can customize these powers, though this time with Skill Points rather than Blast Shards. Skill Points are attained by taking on the 96 different challenges in the game. Some challenges are worth more Skill Points than others, but are more difficult to obtain. Over the course of the story, players will merely dip their toes into the skill tree, which only fully unlocks once Fetch has finished her tale. Unlike Second Son though, which gave you a power after beating the game for pretty much nothing, First Light requires the expanded skills are needed to complete the Arena Challenges. 
Arena challenges are broken into two separate types: Survival and Rescue. Survival is self explanatory. Fetch takes on wave after wave of enemies in order to gain Skill Points and complete challenges. Survive 30 waves to complete the arena. Rescue places hostages within the fray, which must be saved as soon as possible or else they fall. If five hostages die, it's game over.

Things really get intense in the Challenge Arenas, but success is so satisfying
These arena challenges are broken into three different tiers of difficulty (Alpha, Beta and Gamma) and are not only a great way to flex your combat prowess, but provide a challenge within the game that is hard to create organically within the constraints of the real world. Where as it's hard to come up with a logical story reason to have hundreds of DUP, angel and demon enemies with a city block in Seattle, it makes way more sense to throw this at Fetch for training purposes. For those who thought Second Son was too easy, I highly recommend taking on these arenas, as they are the perfect balance of challenge and fun.

Short and sweet, First Light is the perfect DLC chapter to Second Son. I did miss the ability to move between powers, but the well rounded and short story, an emphasis on an emotional side of Fetch we did not see in Second Son, and the challenge of the arenas well makes up for this missing piece. If you're a fan of the inFamous series, enjoyed Second Son or want more on Fetch, I highly recommend this $15 downloadable chapter.

9.0 out of 10

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