There’s rarely a modern game franchise that manages to catch and keep my attention, but Sucker Punch’s PlayStation-exclusive Infamous is among those. The tale of ordinary humans getting and coming to grips with super powers in an open-world environment is always captivating, and that’s true even with the new Infamous: First Light expansion DLC for PlayStation 4, which takes the setting and mechanics of Infamous: Second Son but creates a new adventure, with a different protagonist, new powers and standalone gameplay that doesn’t even require you own the original title.
First Light is a rarity in the world of DLC in not requiring owners to have the software title upon which it is based. It also retells a story already told in the main storyline of Infamous: Second Son, but from a first-person perspective which sees you take up the role of Abigail Walker, aka Fetch, a supporting cast member from Second Son. Her origin story is a key component of Second Son, but in this game, you actually experience it, over the course of roughly five hours of new gameplay (plus side missions and other bonus content).
Despite the fact that it tells a tale we already know (to some extent, though there’s a lot going on here that wasn’t discussed in Second Son) and despite the fact that at heart, it’s a reskinned Second Son with a more limited feature set and fewer open world missions, this is still a solid game, and one that’s probably a better introduction to the Infamous series than Second Son would be for those new to the franchise.
First Light focuses on a single power set, Fetch’s neon-based abilities, whereas in Second Son as protagonist Delsin you get to explore three different power types, each with a progression tree. Fetch’s power set is one of those, but it’s different in First Light, with new abilities, altered ones and a more in-depth progression tree for skills, presumably more advanced because you’re only dealing with one here. The new treatment of the neon powers feels fresh here, and at no point did I feel like I was just playing a hamstrung female version of Delsin, much to Sucker Punch’s credit.
All of that said, First Light does still feel like a companion experience, but mostly because it gets what it does attempt right, making you wish they’d gone and done more. First Light could fare well as a standalone sequel, in fact, with a richer side mission experience and a storyline that goes beyond its current, less-than-epic scale.
Still for $15, this is a great game. That’s around the price range of most DLC story expansions, but it’s actually a complete game in its own right, with graphics and gameplay on par with top-tier console franchise titles. Sucker Punch and Sony have broken the mold for DLC with First Light, and they should be in no rush to repair it.