Infamous: First Light
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.