8 September 2014 | John-Athens
A Nice Introduction into the inFamous Series
inFamous: First Light is a standalone expansion DLC pack for inFamous: Second Son. It tells the story of a vagrant conduit named Abigail Walker, better known as "Fetch". After a brief explanation of conduits, the game opens with a shackled Fetch being queried by Brooke Augustine, the director of the Department of Unified Protection (DUP). Then the story goes back two years prior, when Fetch and her older brother Brent are about to complete one last job before ditching the rainy backdrop of Seattle for law-exempt international waters. Well, it's their final job, so you already know it isn't going to go well. As such, Brent is captured by the Akurans, and later another party, who use him to force Fetch into doing their dirty work.
This rubs Fetch the wrong way for a number of reasons. Aside from the obvious sibling bond she developed with Brent, Brent also tethers her to her humanity. You see, Fetch developed conduit powers at an early age, and Brent ran away with her to prevent their parents from turning her over to the DUP. The two were practically homeless, and soon after they fall victim to drug addiction. While they struggle with their drug habit, Fetch additionally has trouble suppressing the urge to use her powers. And now with Brent gone, there's no one left to keep her in check.
Brent was basically her sponsor, even though he himself lacked powers, and when you're controlling Fetch, you can tell that she's enjoying the carnage she's creating through subtle sound bites. It's no secret that she eventually goes off the deep end before getting captured by the DUP and taken to Curdun Cay prison. The game switches back and forth between her present conversations with Augustine (who's trying to groom Fetch to be a military asset) and what lead up to her current incarceration. Fetch is an exceptionally sympathetic character, who's imbued with personality by the always excellent Laura Bailey. Although she appears to be a snarky suicide punk, Fetch is actually a down- to- earth girl who's scrambling to put her life together despite having a power that could solve most of her problems.
In contrast to Fetch, the rest of the characters are pretty much one- note. Her brother is absent for most of the game, the main antagonist has a fairly generic goal, and one supporting character isn't in it enough for their death to resonate beyond a "that sucks". And while the story works as a whole, it's not as cinematic as it could have been. There aren't that many cutscenes which means most of the dialogue occurs during gameplay. The cutscenes that are present look amazing, showing in great detail Fetch's character design. Likewise, the representation of Seattle is meticulous, the particle effects are eye-popping, and the light speed streaks left by Fetch are stylized.
Fetch is somewhat of a speedster; streaking through the city as a neon- purplish blur. By using her powers, you can race up the side of buildings and use ledges to springboard from rooftop to rooftop. The city also contains neon clouds that quicken travel by boosting Fetch's light speed. In battle, Fetch uses melee attacks that can be combined with her light speed to send enemies flying in slow motion. Fetch can also use her powers as projectile bolts, and then use her laser focus to quickly finish off enemies by exposing their weak points. Fetch's powers are cool – once you get enough upgrades, you can experiment and make battles more exciting than the story would suggest.
For the most part, enemies are nothing but fodder, that is until maybe the final act, where the stakes are raised and battles truly become personal for Fetch. Not that they aren't already, but the missions you have to complete during the flashbacks are primarily in service of someone else. As a result, the battles don't nearly feel as epic as they should. This is more noticeable with the battles that take place in Curdun Cay. These battles are nothing more than a training ground that allow you to practice new abilities before you get a chance to put them to the test in the flashback.
These battles aren't completely pointless, as they do help you get acclimated to Fetch's new abilities, while also unlocking challenges in arena mode and helping you earn skill points (SP). SP is primarily earned during the open world flashback. You can complete the story missions, collect and race neon lumens (balls of light), destroy police drones, stop drive-bys, and vandalize the city with your neon graffiti. Collecting neon lumens and destroying police drones were my main source of SP. Racing was fine as well, but the neon graffiti side quests where maddening due to the controls, in which you have to swipe the touch pad or use motion controls to guide Fetch's arm. Staying on the subject of controls – the battles would've been a lot more fluid if there was a targeting button.
Regardless, there's plenty to do in the form of open-world side quests and arena mode challenges, and the battles are pretty fun once you get control of most of Fetch's abilities. When you complete the game, Fetch gains the ability to learn an ultimate skill in each category. In addition to the achievements, it gives you a reason to max-out her skillset, although having those ultimate skills available in story mode would've been better. For $15 First Light offers a nice, truncated open world experience. Aside from Fetch herself, the best thing about First Light is that it actually feels standalone. I would seriously recommend First Light to anyone who's yet to play an inFamous game. Not only does it introduce newcomers to the world of conduits using a likable protagonist, it's also a great backdoor invite to play Second Son, which I intend to do in the near future.