|Dev: Sucker Punch|
|Release: August 26, 2014|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Violence, Blood, Sexual Themes, Drug Reference, Language|
by Becky Cunningham
Sucker Punch is on to something here... giving players a bite-sized chunk of its marquee action adventure series with inFAMOUS: First Light, a standalone expansion to infamous: Second Son. Not only is it a cheap and easy way to get an introduction to the games, First Light contains its own compelling storyline and entertaining gameplay. inFAMOUS has struggled to achieve massive mainstream success, but this downloadable title shows the series going in the right direction.
First Light tells the story of Abigail “Fetch” Walker, a young Conduit with the power to manipulate neon. She's a former junkie living on Seattle's streets with her brother Brent, hiding her powers, when “one last job” gone wrong causes her to explode onto the scene in a shower of hot pink mayhem. Fetch is a tough yet vulnerable character, angry at society for all its wrongs but dependent on her brother for his calming influence on her. She is presented with respect and compassion by the game's creators, shown as a flawed human being who reacts realistically to the crap that is flung at her throughout the game's campaign. This is still a distressingly rare treatment for a female game character, so it's much appreciated.
Since First Light is set in the past, telling Fetch's story from the years before she appeared in Second Son, the usual moral choices presented in inFAMOUS games aren't present here. Fetch makes a lot of poor choices and does some seriously bad things when her brother is taken away from her. I feel like this lack of moral choice actually enhances the game's story. Having Fetch choose to make sensible or compassionate choices would be a cop-out considering where she's come from and the desperate situation she's in. Her determination and punk attitude keep her likeable, as does the fact that the things she does are in reaction to evil acts by some truly despicable people.
It also doesn't hurt that playing as Fetch is incredibly entertaining. Her neon dash power allows her to zip through the streets of Seattle, zooming up walls and dashing through the air. Who needs parkour when you can simply get wherever you need to go by turning into a bright pink bundle of energy? It's great fun to dash up a skyscraper or the Space Needle, run circles around your foes, or drop from the sky onto their heads with a neon-powered explosion. She has equally strong melee combat, ranged combat, and movement abilities, making her a well-rounded character who offers the player plenty of choices when it comes to gameplay.
The only issue with Fetch's hyper-charged nature is that she can lack precision. It's easy to overshoot your movement target or start punching empty air during melee combat, Even ranged combat aim can be frustrating before it's upgraded to give you a bit of extra slow-mo aiming time. Still, the sheer chaotic joy of it all tops these minor frustrations.
Fetch will be exercising all these powers in the same free-roaming Seattle we know from inFAMOUS: Second Son. She has a nice variety of challenges to tackle in between story missions, like rescuing hostages, finding and destroying police drones, racing after errant bundles of neon, and taking out hostile vehicles. The main story campaign is relatively brief but fairly varies. There are also a few too many missions that force Fetch into ranged combat, making a melee-centric build problematic, but these can be overcome with judicious use of her neon singularity, otherwise known as the “I win” button.