In­fa­mous: First Light

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Sucker Punch’s stand­alone In­fa­mous: Sec­ond Son pre­quel fleshes out the ori­gin story of Delsin Rowe’s an­tag­o­nist-turned-side­kick, Fetch, which nat­u­rally means it also fo­cuses on its par­ent game’s most en­joy­able su­per­power, Neon. Fetch moves around the city with even greater mo­men­tum than Rowe, tak­ing ad­van­tage of the newly in­tro­duced Neon Clouds, which ac­cel­er­ate her to in­cred­i­ble speeds. And once you’ve fully up­graded Fetch – which, thanks to the com­pact na­ture of this pack­age, doesn’t take long at all – she can leap across huge gaps, dash through the air, and make short work of high-rise build­ings. Sim­ply mov­ing around First Light’s Seat­tle is a mor­eish plea­sure.

Fetch is sim­i­larly ca­pa­ble in com­bat, too, with a mix of pow­ers lifted from Sec­ond Son along with a clutch of new ones, such as En­slave – which makes en­e­mies fight for you for a short time – and a pow­er­ful melee finisher that pro­pels you into en­e­mies and is recharged by us­ing stan­dard melee at­tacks. First Light takes the best of Sec­ond Son’s com­bat and am­pli­fies it.

But the game also ben­e­fits from in­creased fo­cus. First Light plays out on a cut-down ver­sion of the first game’s Seat­tle map, and trims away much of Sec­ond Son’s fat. There’s still a hand­ful of side mis­sions, but Fo­cus­ing on Fetch has al­lowed Sucker Punch to fur­ther ex­plore its best pow­er­set, Neon, and the in­tro­duc­tion of brand-new visual ef­fects makes

even pret­tier than the al­ready hand­some they of­fer more emer­gent game­play. Find­ing a drone, for ex­am­ple, re­quires you to hack the on­board cam­era in or­der to fig­ure out where it is, while drug-deal shut­downs are re­placed by drive-by shoot­ings in which a car full of heav­ies tar­gets you di­rectly.

Even the graf­fiti is bet­ter this time around. You still have to wres­tle with the DualShock’s ac­celerom­e­ters, but the pic­tures only take one pass to fin­ish and re­sult in burned-in flu­o­res­cent de­face­ments that feel worth the ef­fort. Best of all are the Lu­men Races, which barely dis­guise their Ray­man in­flu­ence, send­ing you dash­ing across the city in pur­suit of a fast-mov­ing glow­ing orb. Th­ese orbs can also be found around the city and yield Skill Points, which you can use to up­grade your­self. While there are other ways to gain SP, the switch in fo­cus makes far bet­ter use of the city’s ar­chi­tec­ture and en­cour­ages you to ex­plore this ver­sion of Seat­tle rather than sim­ply dash to the next ob­jec­tive.

But de­spite all that, First Light has in­her­ited some of Sec­ond Son’s de­sign fail­ings. Seat­tle still feels empty and ster­ile, mis­sion de­sign of­ten lacks imag­i­na­tion, and climb­ing with­out pow­ers – some­thing you’re forced to do dur­ing a mis­judged sec­tion later on – re­mains painful. First Light’s sur­face beauty doesn’t con­ceal much depth, then, but in dis­till­ing the In­fa­mous tem­plate into a much more man­age­able and less fa­tigu­ing propo­si­tion, its suc­cesses drown out its flaws.

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