‘InFamous: First Light’ (PS4) review: Packing quite the Neon-infused punch

‘First Light’ offers a surprising amount for standalone expansion

To be honest, I never much cared about the plots in either of the “inFamous” games. (I couldn’t even make myself complete “Second Son.”) So I’m not sure what really compelled me to pick up “First Light,” the standalone expansion for “inFamous: Second Son.” But, after making my way through the four-hour campaign, I’m glad that I gave the game a chance. It’s no end-all, be-all, but it’s fun, and its heroine is an excellently designed character worthy of her own expansion.

The basic premise of “First Light” is simple: It serves to provide background for Abigail “Fetch” Walker, a secondary character in “Second Son.” And seeing how she was way more interesting than that game’s protagonist, Deslin Rowe, it was a good idea to offer players a chance to get to know her better.

The story mixes a present-day plot thread with flashbacks that serve as the game play. In the present, Fetch is in the custody of Brooke Augustine the Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P.), which more or less exists to control “conduits” — humans who possess superpowers. Fetch’s powers are similar to Deslin’s in style and effect: She controls neon and can use it for travel, combat and exploration in a fictionalized Seattle.

While in the present, Fetch is basically compelled by Augustine to explain the sequence of events that led to her capture while showing off her abilities in between conversations. The crux of the game’s emotional arc stems from Fetch’s time in Seattle and her quest to save her brother, Brent, basically the only person she cares about and who finds himself in a less than enviable position pretty early on.

The flashbacks return us to her time in Seattle as she unlocks more of her power (a lot is hidden away at first) while looking for her brother. It’s not a terribly complicated plot, but it’s a fairly relatable “got to save my family” troupe, which suffices for the most part. Most characters are kind of bland, but Fetch’s personality and backstory carry the plot, especially in later chapters.

As for game play itself, you’re going to have a strong sense of déjà vu to previous “inFamous” games as Fetch controls in the same manner and has to complete incredibly similar missions. (However, most of the missions come off as tedious simply because there’s not a ton of variability.)

For fans of “Second Son,” there will be a bit of a letdown concerning abilities. While Fetch has a few tricks up her sleeve, her moveset is drastically limited compared with Deslin’s, who had four sets of power compared with Fetch’s one. Since this is a standalone, that’s not particularly detrimental (not to mention the game only lasts a few hours), but it can be a touch jarring after having access to so much more in the main game.

Speaking of differences, “First Light” suffers from a lack of scale. Both of the series’ main games have some epic fight battles, whereas “First Light” is much more contained, much more personal. While it makes sense thematically, it lacks the same level of excitement, of chaotic action.

“First Light” adds three challenge maps for you to test your skills, as well. You’ll get your first taste of them during the main story as it’s where Augustine has you use your abilities for her observations. But you can play them separately, and they can be a lot of fun, especially if you happen to be good at controlling Fetch.

In the end, “First Light” is a fun, quick addition to the “inFamous” series. It offers enough to keep you interested for the couple of hours it will take you to complete Fetch’s quest. And though it may feel a bit paltry in comparison to the “Second Son,” there’s worse ways to spend $15 than aiding Fetch while she lays havoc across Seattle. Oh, and don’t forget the graffiti: You’ll need to leave your mark.

Three “I hope you like pink” stars out of five.

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