inFamous: First Light – Review

Another one of these discussion review deals with inFamous: First Light. It may be the lowest scoring game of the franchise on Metacritic but it’s actually my favourite. Find out why below!

The inFamous franchise has always been quite a fascinating one for me. On one hand I see where the praise comes from as the fundamental gameplay mechanics are rock solid. But on the other I found the games were lacking in practically every other area giving me quite a bland experience overall. That experience with the first two games made me write off the series until several months ago when inFamous: First Light showed up on the instant game collection.

Since perspective is key let’s start with my experience of the first two inFamous games. First of all they are not bad games by any means, in fact they were both well reviewed during their respective launches. But I didn’t play these games at launch, I played them many years later where I realized they didn’t age very well at all. Much of the praise came from the unique superhero feeling the game conveyed and also having quick and efficient navigation through a big open city. While unique at the time, there has been many other similar games over the past few years raising the bar while inFamous sat still. While I did play through the first game and had some enjoyable moments, inFamous 2 felt far too similar and simply could not hold my attention after a couple hours. The sheer amount of repetition, forgettable story and awful visuals just could not grab my interest which eventually made me write off the series. Once again I didn’t think the games were terrible but they were early games in a new style that was rapidly iterating which eventually left inFamous in the dust.

Now you may wonder, how did inFamous: First Light improve the original formula to rope me back into the series? Well the first major improvement was condensing the typical 15-20 hour playthrough into a compact 4-5 hour experience. This was a big improvement in diminishing the repetitiveness but that issue has yet to be resolved in this game. Another fix was having the story split up into these flashback style sequences which helped break up the flow by introducing new areas. The third and major improvement was giving practically all the abilities right from the start and simply offering upgrades for them. Since most of the abilities have not changed over the previous games it’s nice to immediately start off with all the familiar stuff and go have fun.

By now it should be obvious for previous players why I prefer this new game, but what those of you who have yet to play the series? The highlight of the series has always been giving players that superhero feeling and being able to navigate a large open city with ease. Combat has been another major point of praise for its simple and rather entertaining mechanics. Unfortunately beyond the pure gameplay mechanics the series has always fallen short regarding story and overall content variety. Because of this I couldn’t recommend the older games often as not everybody can appreciate a purely gameplay driven game of this nature. With First Light the game is shorter with a focused story which actually maintained my interest throughout. Since this game doesn’t necessarily integrate with others in the series I would easily recommend this as the first game to try out for new players interested in the series.

All in all I feel like inFamous: First Light is quite the improvement over the first two games of the series. The condensed campaign was much more fun overall as it skipped the extra fluff and gave all the abilities right from the get go. While I appreciate that many aspects of the franchise remains unchanged, they unfortunately have kept the same bland and repetitive aspects which pushed me away from the earlier games in the franchise. Thankfully they have broken up the missions into these flashback style moments which bring you into different locations which help break up some of the repetitive elements. In the end is it actually all that bad? The answer is no, the game is still fun and excels mechanically. Most importantly the campaign was short enough to remain fun before the repetition got to me.