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Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: Infamous First Light

I don't usually play or buy downloadable content (DLC) for computer games. They're rarely discounted, and at full price represent unusually poor value. For instance, Infamous First Light costs $15. Unlike typical DLC, it doesn't require the main game, Infamous Second Son to play. However, unlike DLC, main games such as Infamous Second Son are frequently discounted, and I got my copy of it at $19.95, which provide quite a bit more content. This pricing structure is usually because while main games have to be distributed through retail outlets and deliver only 50% of their retail price to the developer, DLC are instead distributed through online stores and deliver at least 70% of their retail price to the deliver. (In the case of Infamous First Light, since Sony owns the Playstation store, it gets 100% of the take, unless you go through an intermediary like Gamestop)

This month, however, Playstation Plus (which has a well-deserved reputation as the best deal in gaming) provided First Light as one of its games, so I gave it a shot.

In my review of Infamous Second Son, I noted that the neon powers of the game are the most fun to play with, and indeed, developer Sucker Punch must have recognized this, since they focused the entire DLC around Fetch, the character who had the neon powers. The story is told in the form of flashbacks from a period when Fetch has been captured by the DUP and is forced to reveal her powers and train as a DUP lackey. All this takes place ahead of the main story in Infamous Second Son, and so can be considered a prequel.

In terms of story, Fetch is a better character than Delsin: she's much less of a punk, and far more sympathetic. The problem with the plot is of course, you can see the plot twists a mile a way, even if you've never played the main game. This is the norm for video games: the plot exists as nothing but a series of set pieces for the game play to hang on.

The game play is fun. Fetch's neon powers are varied and interesting, and the game does a good job introducing those powers gradually and incrementally as part of the story. Even better, unlike the main game where you felt like you had to pursue a substantial part of the side quests in order to have a decent shot at finishing the game without a large number of deaths, the game is designed such that even if you didn't finish any of the side quests you could complete the main storyline with ease.

The reason for this is that the game is designed to keep you playing if you're a competitive gamer by comparing yourself with others on the leaderboard in a set of fixed arenas. I don't enjoy repetition, so I didn't bother with any of these, but if you are, then the game would probably keep you playing for quite a bit past the 4-6 hour main storyline.

In any case, as I've noted, DLCs are usually poor value compared to the main game, but if you can get over that or if you really enjoyed Infamous Second Son, this DLC gives you more content with the best parts attached. And of course, this month, it's yet another reason to get a subscription to Playstation Plus.

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