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The Tech Deck

Infamous: First Light, DLC done right

Title: Infamous: First Light
Genre: Open world action DLC
Platform reviewed on: Playstation 4 ($14.99 on Playstation Store)
Also available on: None
Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Release Date: Aug. 27, 2014

Every successful piece of downloadable content today must answer one important question: Does it improve, or transcend, the original experience? Infamous: First Light not only does this with parent game Infamous: Second Son, it does it in spades.

The tale of Abigail “Fetch” Walker manages to be even more compelling than the exploits of Delsin Rowe in the main game. Many of the mechanics that made Second Son either too simple, or frustratingly difficult, are replaced by mechanics focused mostly on speed. While the game limits the open world to half of the original title's Seattle, the new arena maps offer endless replay the original release lacks.

In short, whether you've never played Second Son, or an Infamous game at all, plop down the $15 for this standalone experience.

A screenshot from Infamous: First Light
As Fetch, you'll zip around Seattle much faster than Delsin Rowe ever could.

Much of the criticism leveled at First Light bemoans the lack of additional abilities, besides Neon, to play with. However, Sucker Punch has made the power – which I leaned on in the original game, due to Delsin's Neon super ability that laid waste to scores of enemies – feel fresh and new. You'll be zipping around Seattle, trying to hit clouds of the element that boost your speed, and see it in a completely new way, thanks to the way Fetch handles.

Combat is satisfying, offering rapid fire abilities for the trigger-happy among fans, and sniper sections that reward precision. Fetch's powers require skill points to level up, not shards as in the original game, and the pacing of the action makes sure you'll never feel overpowered before the credits roll.

First Light's main weakness is its third act, which like so many open-world games in recent years, feels it necessary to strip you of many of the powers you've already learned, and funnel the action into narrow corridors. While the segments are still fun, they're incredibly straightforward and end (surprise, surprise) in a quick-time event. With all the mechanics Sucker Punch changed in its DLC, it's a shame the narrative arc towards the climax feels so well-trod.

Screenshot from Infamous: First Light
The story of how Fetch Walker came to Curdun Cay will take you
about five hours to complete.

You'll enjoy that narrative arc, however. The story is told through a series of flashbacks as Fetch is imprisoned by Augustine and the dastardly D.U.P. Fetch's relationship with her brother, Brent, feels even more genuine than the one between Delsin and Reggie in the original game. Fans of the first title will smile at several events that foreshadow Second Son, but new initiates need not feel like they're getting the short end of the stick.

The DLC is standalone both because it won't require the original game to play, nor to understand. First Light is an example of DLC done right, and hopefully Sucker Punch learns from the changes in its release of an obligatory sequel to the blockbuster franchise.

Verdict: 4.5/5 stars

Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk, covering the marijuana industry, local politics and breaking news. He previously hosted the newspaper's podcast.

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