Infamous: First Light

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I picked this one up as part of my PSN+ membership, never having played any Infamous games before. I knew that it is a superhero sandbox game, and playing the game I found the term “sandbox game” to be a more apt description than the similar term “open-world game”. Infamous’ rendition of a virtual Seattle is a fantastic playground to flit around in, but it also seems strangely removed and detached from protagonist Abigail and her actions. Pedestrians are largely passive and disengaged bystanders, buildings cannot be entered (with very few exceptions – I remember two on my playthrough) and there aren’t many ways to interact with the city’s infrastructure aside from riding (on top of) the subway. This disconnect between protagonist and game world is likely caused by the very core of this being a superhero game – there’s no need for Abigail to arm herself, use a vehicle or dabble in mundane earthly matters thanks to her supernatural powers. However, it struck me as an unfortunate design choice that most of the side missions are also happening in a sort of detached parallel world that doesn’t concern the game’s many pedestrian NPCs. The main campaign is rather predictable and straightforward, but really picks up for the grand finale, where it moves beyond the familiar setting of Seattle and pulls off an ending reminiscent of Mass Effect 3 (disclaimer: in contrast to many others, I actually really enjoyed the ending of ME3). It’s a great mission, but made me wistful that the rest of the main campaign isn’t quite up to that standard.
The game’s controls deserve particular praise, as there are quite a few tricks and moves in Abigail’s repertoire, yet the controls are intuitive, easy to learn and fluid.
All things considered, Infamous: First Light provides a short but entertaining campaign that can be finished within a few hours. What it lacks in substance it makes up for in sheer, unadulterated fun. It was the perfect game to pick up for a short play session when I got home from work in the evening.

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