inFamous: First Light (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gabriel Jones 29.05.2017 3

Review for inFamous: First Light on PlayStation 4

Imprisoned in a Department of Unified Protection (D.U.P.) facility, Abigail "Fetch" Walker recounts her last days of freedom. Unfortunately for Conduits like Abigail, life never seems to work out as it would in the comic books. People with superhuman powers aren't regarded as superheroes, they're just considered to be "freaks" or "monsters." Most of them are forced to live as outcasts, or worse, hunted down by the D.U.P. In some rare and especially horrifying cases, they're treated as weapons. inFamous: First Light is a standalone expansion that gives another perspective on the struggles that Conduits face.

Morality in videogames tends to be a silly concept. When it comes time to make difficult choices, the player will often go with the one that offers the biggest reward. Take BioShock, for example. Sure, the protagonist could harvest all of the little sisters for a little extra ADAM, but freeing them earns comparable rewards, and the player receives the good ending as a bonus. Other times, the moral decision is so binary that it becomes absurd. inFamous perfectly illustrates this issue. At one point in the story, Cole MacGrath has to decide on whether he should give food to a group of starving people, or kill them so he can take all of the food for himself.

If anything, the difference between good and evil should be subtle. Karma can't be measured with numbers or meters. In an open-world game, if the player is willing to murder an old lady for a few dollars, would saving two people afterwards to "cancel out" that previous act of cruelty actually matter? Shouldn't it just make them more evil? This isn't to try to play the role of an ignorant senator who wants to ban violent videogames, here. The point is that while the game might tell the player that they're a "hero," it never quite grasps the methods they employed to reach that noble goal.

Screenshot for inFamous: First Light on PlayStation 4

inFamous: First Light doesn't offer any decisions or moral choices. Furthermore, there aren't any meters that decide whether or not Abigail is a superhero or a supervillain. In order to accomplish their goals, both the protagonist and the player have to perform questionable and sometimes outright awful actions. Although the excellent controls and smooth aiming all but guarantee that the Conduit's blasts will find their mark, inevitably, innocent people will get caught in the crossfire. Fetch's neon powers can be used to incapacitate her enemies, but many of them will die inadvertently, such as when the vehicle they're riding in explodes.

"With great power comes great responsibility" is, well, a lot of nonsense. It's a line sold to impressionable youths, who then grow up to realize that those with the most power abuse it time after time. Just because Abigail has incredible abilities doesn't mean that she's obligated to help others. It may sound selfish, but it's her life. This is what makes the story work. She makes mistakes, and is willing to own up to them, but she never sees herself as a champion of virtue. Most days are a waking nightmare for her, and she just wants to get away. Then again, this could be attributed to the truncated nature of the expansion. Some of the blanks are filled by either the player's interpretation, or inFamous: Second Son.

Screenshot for inFamous: First Light on PlayStation 4

For the most part, the game itself isn't terribly compelling. Fetch runs around a small slice of Seattle collecting lumens and doing whatever she has to in order to reunite with her brother. Most of the missions feel like side activities. On the bright side, the player never really has to do the same thing twice. The pacing is solid and the violent encounters are decent enough. Still, what's there isn't likely to draw the entirety of the player's attention. As they mindlessly jump around the city grabbing shiny objects, their mind is bound to wander. It's no wonder that some will feel the need to occupy their time with philosophical thoughts.

Everything that occurs in the story is merely the prelude to the awesomeness of Curdun Cay's Survival Arena. This is where Conduits can really let loose with their powers, destroying dozens upon dozens of hologram soldiers and demons, all for the glory of online leaderboards. With every attempt, players will discover new strategies, becoming more effective and thorough in their slaughtering.

Screenshot for inFamous: First Light on PlayStation 4

All told, the protagonist doesn't have a lot of abilities, but each one is used to their fullest extent. Time slows down while she's aiming her neon beams, which allows her to easily snipe enemies from across the arena, or hit weak points in the midst of a vicious assault. With stasis blasts, she can remove the whirlwind of concrete that protects D.U.P. Bishops, take out bridges, and freeze any other soldiers in mid-air for easy elimination. Most of her other skills are designed to cause violent explosions, guaranteeing that she'll always be the centre of chaos. Thanks to the well-organized button commands, making use of every talent quickly becomes second nature.

Also, it helps that this mode makes the player feel like they're actually controlling somebody with superpowers. They're facing off against an endless army the likes the world could never hope to muster, and yet they're handling this truly desperate situation with hardly a sweat. Each move flows into the next in a way that's almost rhythmic. The enemy variety isn't great, but each foe does a fine job in working in tandem with one another. They all have a different approach, but it isn't overly difficult to get the upper hand. Building huge combo multipliers while destroying the opposition is so much fun.

Screenshot for inFamous: First Light on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

inFamous: First Light feels almost like two games in one. One game has some good ideas, but tends to be a little dull and uneven. However, completing that first game is required to make the most out of the excellent second one. When playing through the story, the great controls and superb mechanics mean very little, because there isn't enough resistance to put them to work. However, the Survival Arena is absolutely wonderful. Not only is it loaded with thrilling encounters and satisfying action, it demands the player's attention. They're going to notice every moment, grab hold of every opportunity, and do whatever it takes just to survive a little longer.

Developer

Sucker Punch

Publisher

SCEE

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I still need to finish Second Son, then pick this one up.

I actually picked up Second Son first, but was able to get into this game much more quickly.

I'm not sure why, but I've put Second Son down more than once. Possibly due to other games coming into play, but perhaps also because I've just burned myself out on one too many open worlds. I think I got stuck the last time I played SS in a massive fight, so that might have been another reason I put it back down again. Eventually I'll finish it.

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