Erik Fattrosso ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
To many, Infamous Second Son was a bit of a letdown. While it was by no means a bad game, it lacked the spirit of the first two games in the series, and was plagued by a mediocre (and short) story as well as an overabundance of powers. 5 months later we are treated to Infamous First Light, a stand-alone game that focuses on Fetch, a fan favorite character from Second Son. At $15, does this trip into Fetch’s past right its predecessor’s wrongs? The short answer is yeah, it does.
Fetch is an infinitely more likable character than Second Son’s Delsin Rowe. Where Delsin was an incredibly generic “bad boy” protagonist, Fetch actually holds a fair bit of personality. The story is a prequel to Second Son and we get to explore the events that put Fetch in custody of the D.U.P., a military organization that is tasked with capturing conduits (people like Fetch and Delsin who have the ability to manipulate various elements). The story isn’t anything ground breaking, and it can be quite predictable, but it gets the job done and manages to be more engaging than Delsin’s tale.
Fetch has the ability to control Neon, which in gameplay terms means you get to shoot awesome lasers and run with a speed that could make The Flash jealous through the streets of Seattle. It may seem like having only Neon could be limiting after having 4 separate power sets in Second Son, one of which was Neon, but it’s actually the opposite. One of the largest problems in Second Son was that there were just too many powers. None of them were fully realized, leaving players with the bare minimum for each and not being able to switch between them on the fly felt clunky and out of place.
In First Light, the neon powers are explored in more depth. They don’t reach the level of Cole’s electricity in the first two games, but for a $15 game they give you quite a bit more than was previously available. The only issue with the powers is that the Karmic Bombs from Second Son (now simply known as Neon Singularity) return. Neon Singularity is a huge screen clearing move that you can use after you lay waste to a certain amount of enemies. While it is cool to watch (at least the first 10 or so times), it starts to feel like a win button. There’s not much tension when you know you have a move that will literally kill everything at the press of a button.
The gameplay alternates between free roaming Seattle and battle arenas at the Curdan Cay prison. Seattle is as beautiful as ever, albeit a bit smaller as only half the city is open to the player this time around. Traversing it has become much more interesting thanks to rings of neon strew around the city. Running through one of these dramatically increases your speed and gives you something to aim for, which makes traveling from point A to B much more interesting. Aside from the story, there are Lumens to collect, races to complete, and various other side missions for you to tackle. They start to get tedious after a while, but there aren’t enough of them where it ever gets to be a problem. You can 100% the open world portion of the game in 5-6 hours without rushing. There’s not much incentive for replaying the story either, as the morality system from the previous games has been removed to fit the narrative.
You’ll get most of your play time out of the aforementioned battle arenas. There are 3 different arenas that have two modes; Survival, in which you fight off waves of enemies as long as you can, and Hostage, in which you fight off waves of enemies while also trying to rescue hostages that spawn around the arena. These are without a doubt the most difficult areas that have ever been put into an Infamous game. In an open world, whenever you’re starting to lose you can simply run away from the fight.
In these arenas you’re forced to confront that problem head on and it results in more exciting battles. The areas have online leaderboards as well as a number of challenges to compete that range from getting certain scores to killing a certain number of jumping enemies. Completing all of these will net you the game’s platinum trophy (Yes, it’s big enough to have its own platinum), so trophy hunters will have added reason to play them. Owners of Second Son can also play as Delsin in these arenas and he returns with all of his powers.
Infamous First Light is in every way an improvement over its base game. While it isn’t all that long, that’s more than forgiven by its low price. Blazing through the streets of Seattle is just pure fun and the battle arenas are more than enough to keep you coming back for some more Infamous action every now and then. While not without problems, tedious side missions and a predictable story don’t hold the game back from being a great time. If you’re an Infamous fan, there’s no reason to not play this. It has me more excited for the franchise’s future than Second Son did.
Final Grade: A-