I can keep up.
As much as I praised inFamous: Second Son’s dynamic power sets, wide-open Seattle, and varied objectives, I can't help but think I may have been harder on the game than I needed to be given the challenges facing PS4 and Xbox One developers. We heard so much praise and excitement leading up to these launches that you can’t fault me for expecting a lot from my favorite genre and one of my favorite themes: superheroes.
Don’t we all wish we could fly or save people in our city or even just enjoy the pleasure of a cross-city launch through the air from time to time? inFamous: Second Son largely delivered that in its glass case of brothers, government intervention, and karma. In fact, those themes come full circle in inFamous: First Light starring Second Son co-star Fetch whose neon powers proved my absolute favorite element in the game. Getting a few extra hours of story and a brand new series of challenge modes that vastly extend the value of combat and traversal gameplay loops certainly lit up my life.
Fetch starts her story imprisoned by the Department of Unified Protection and under interrogation by the game’s primary antagonist, Augustine. If you’ve played Second Son, you’ll know her role in Fetch’s life and the larger narrative in-depth, though without spoiling anything, she does not appear outside of cutscenes. You won’t fight a major boss like you did with Delsin and for the most part First Light succeeds on a level where most downloadable content packs completely fail.
More often than not, I’ve found that DLC simply extends the kind of gameplay you find regardless of your game mode or whether you’re playing multiplayer or single-player. Playing through the same game with a weapon download or simply adding maps can feel cheap, and perhaps that feeling is driven even further when you’re playing an action game with a narrative. First Light offers up new gameplay loops, new means of using the neon power set, and a vastly different way of getting around the city.
You’ll have half of the main game’s map to explore, race around, collect within, and generally buzz around as a neon vortex with absolutely nothing in your way. Neon powers allowed Delsin to zip right up walls, but First Light adds boost pads around the city and on rooftops giving Fetch a larger overall trajectory and sense of speed. I loved burning up streets and launching into huge roof-to-roof gaps once I’d built up momentum. Transitioning between the monorail and a rooftop while hunting for power-ups is a lot easier with Fetch too.
Players might remember Brent, who Fetch mourned and eventually used to fuel her anger against drug dealers around Seattle and that theme carries over into First Light. Players will meet him early in the story, though Augustine and a gangster named Shane eventually divide them. Fans will remember it doesn’t end well and while I thought this story did a better job of presenting that self-sacrifice motif, you certainly get to know the individuals helping Delsin chart his journey a lot better.
For what it’s worth, First Light offers up everything I could want in downloadable content for both the price and the fact that it’s available as a totally standalone download. You don’t actually have to own inFamous: Second Son to play all of First Light, though owners of the main game can use Delsin in new battle arenas where Augustine tests combat skills and points drive leaderboard competition.
I particularly liked the way Sucker Punch broke up the campaign with new elements of the battle arenas, though a fully-leveled character will absolutely destroy the challenges presented. For one, battle arenas Alpha, Beta, and Gamma all proved entertaining, tight-knit, and designed well to the point that Fetch’s highly accurate neon bolts can’t stretch from one corner to another. Players have to use the map to stay on top of hologram hostages and ensure that they clear out large groups of enemies with a super-powered singularity.
That inFamous: First Light echoes the main game’s themes of siblings and what it means to lose family struck me deeply, especially as brotherhood has taken on different meanings for me over the years. With it written into the character’s backstory, fans might know what to expect; still, I can’t help but feel for Fetch above all else. Her imprisonment and Sucker Punch’s use of a familiar location at the crux of this story breathe new life into neon-powered gameplay loops that had already proven themselves one of the best open-world mechanics yet.
Code provided by publisher. Exclusive to PlayStation 4.