Neon was always the greatest power to play with in inFamous Second Son. It may have just been because of how wonderful it looked – particularly in the night time sections – but it was also a very unique and fresh ability compared to Delsin’s standard smoke, or even Cole’s electricity, and in First Light it’s back and better than ever. In this prequel to Second Son, which is available standalone rather coming as DLC for the main game, you’ll see Fetch getting to grips with her neon powers, years before the events which led her to meeting Delsin.
Abigail Walker – who you’ll probably know as Fetch – isn’t quite as exciting a protagonist as Delsin Rowe, however her rich backstory brings new opportunities for storytelling, albeit in a much shorter timeframe than Delsin managed, and with fewer characters that you care for. As the star of the show, Fetch does a better job here than as she did as part of the supporting cast of Delsin’s story, but doesn’t quite have the humour or charm of Troy Baker’s character.
The narrative switches between different timeframes, with the main story being told by Fetch in the D.U.P. control centre, where she’s being held by Brooke Augustine for simply possessing her neon powers, for being a conduit. She’s telling a tale which is set two years before that, and here we see her and her brother in the open world of Seattle before D.U.P. control (though it’s only the first island, and there’s still plenty of villainy in gangs and the police). Through this, her backstory is expanded and we learn the exact events which were touched upon in Second Son.
While First Light is an extension of the game world for those that loved the original game, it’s also a way of bringing new people into inFamous at a budget price point. If you’re the former, you may find that you’re stuck re-learning things that you already know, and that there will be some unnecessary missions which feel a bit too similar to their Second Son counterparts, with almost identical locations. For the latter group, this is a package brimming with content which serves as a superb introduction to one of Sony’s best franchises right now.
Don’t let that focus deter you though – there’s still plenty fresh here for those who have played the main game, and there are even improvements to be found for those who didn’t get along with the title. The powers, for example, are almost all new – they’re still the same buttons, but what you’ll find is a new set of neon abilities including a sonar ping, homing missiles, melee takedowns, and even an impressive powerful singularity attack that comes in place of Delsin’s Radiant Sweep. There’s an entirely new upgrade system too, which is less expansive but also less muddled than previously, and this is tied into a challenge system which really extends the longevity of the game.
Essentially, to upgrade each power by one tier you’ll have to collect SP. This can be collected by completing these challenges, which are mainly focused around killing enemies and effectively replace the Karma system found in previous inFamous games. There’s a little bit of variety and it encourages you to play in different ways, which can be very welcome if you’re one of those people who gets stuck into a particular playstyle without truly exploring all of the options available.
Aside from challenges, SP can be gathered by collecting Neon Lumens either by finding them in the environment or doing a variety of side missions. Side missions are another departure from Second Son, with races, hold-ups, police drones, and neon graffiti all being dotted around the map for you to play, but these can still be quite boring if you’re doing many in quick succession and are not pacing yourself. You’ll also find that some of the main missions are introductions to these, so some of the main story missions unfortunately feel like collections of mini-tasks.
Fetch may not be as quick witted as Delsin, but she’s much faster on her feet thanks to the addition of neon wells dotted around the map. Run through one of these and you’ll get a temporary speed boost, allowing you to get around the map faster. She can also see weak points – which vary from enemy to enemy – and use these to her advantage, allowing for stronger attacks. Fetch isn’t all about the head-on attacking either, as some missions will feature more tactical sniping or even some light detective work.
But that’s all in her past, and the present of the game takes place inside that D.U.P. facility, with Augustine putting Fetch through a series of tests to show off her powers. These are essentially battle arenas, not too far removed from those in Ratchet & Clank, and bring a new sense of difficulty and connectivity to the world of inFamous. You see, you’ll be competing against your friends with online leaderboards to do your best in these arenas, and they can actually be quite hard at times.
There are three arenas in total and two modes in each, with a couple more featuring Delsin if you already own Second Son. Rescue sees you going up against holographic forces, intermittently having to rescue hostages as they spawn alongside the hordes of enemies. The second mode is a more straight-up survival mode, where you must get the highest score possible by taking out enemies and upping your multiplier. These are a blast to play, and even though they’re awkwardly shoehorned into the plot, you can play them at any time from the menu.
Battle arenas are a good fit for a game like inFamous and bring some sought-after challenge to the world, as well as a more arcade style of gameplay which works well. With the story never blowing you away if you’ve played Second Son, and the world being almost identical, these will be what you come for – or at least what you’ll enjoy most – if you’ve played through Delsin’s adventure.
Visually, inFamous First Light remains very similar to Second Son and there’s no downgrade despite it being a separate release. The lighting is still sublime, Fetch’s animations are new and work well, and that frame rate stays rock solid no matter how much her powers push it. This is one area that the game doesn’t improve upon Second Son, but with the base game looking so good already, there’s really no need to complain.
Those neon powers are still wonderful to look at, and Fetch brings her own flair to them with light trails being more permanent and the colours taking on more shades of pink. There’s still the same photo mode for capturing the best moments, and when using this you can truly see just how impressive the world of inFamous looks.
For the price (£11.99 in the UK), First Light brings an unmatched wealth of content for newcomers. Yet there’s still plenty here – and definitely enough to justify the price point, at around a quarter the price of Second Son – if you’ve picked up the full PS4 release, with some improvements to be found in how it controls and the challenges bringing a whole new dose of replayability to Seattle.
Whether you’re new to inFamous or not, First Light is definitely worth looking into. The only reason you won’t enjoy this is if you didn’t get on with Second Son at all, and although there are some improvements, there’s not enough difference here to convince those who dislike inFamous. The plot may fall flat at points and there might be a sense of repetition, but a return trip to Seattle isn’t something you should turn down. And if you have never visited before, then what are you waiting for?