#956 Prototype

Posted: 20th May 2011 by Jeroen in Games
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55th game played so far

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Xbox 360/PS3/PC
Year of Release: 2009
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Publisher: Activision

If you ask us officially, we’d say that the enemies of this game are sort of zombie-like, fitting our current games theme (and we promise this is the last, as we’re already pushing it quite far with this game). You’re Alex Mercer, a prototype human who has to fight the other mutants, the military, or both, in a semi-representation of Manhattan. He’s dressed to last – clearly it’s not summer in the game, considering the many layers he wears.

Anyway, this guy runs up buildings, creates claws, swords and whips from his own whatever he is, and eats people. Don’t you just love it?

Our Thoughts

Yes, I do love it. Nice attempt tying this to the recent undead theme… but I don’t think mutants derived from experimented-on girl really fits the bill. I recall you using it as the original argument for doing the game next… but then again, I guess we deserved a lot more about the story anyway. Or you did, considering how much time you have been spending on the game. I think it is safe to say that this is the most I have been addicted to a game since Bayonetta way back when. In a way I am now sorta glad my old Xbox 360 packed in as it gave us an excuse to buy a new game or two to go with it. It’s one I have been looking forward to for about a year and it really has lived up to my expectation.

In essence, Prototype is a mixture between the free-roaming nature of Spider-Man 2 with the killing sprees available in Grand Theft Auto. And the upgrades of, well, many an action/RPG. Ah the upgrades. There are a large number of different powers that can be unlocked during the game. All of which have been beautifully realised with their own pros, cons and uses. Some of these are quite straightforward, like faster runs and higher jumps. Some are transformations – changing your hands into claws, whips or the iconic big sword. And then there’s the big devastator attacks where you shoot spikes out of your body in all directions that kill mostly everything near you. The whip-fist is possibly the most impressive of the lot since you are able to take down helicopters in a single hit without even breaking a sweat. Then you can upgrade it even further so that you whip it around you in a circle and cut everyone around you in half. Then there is the musclemass upgrade where you reduce people to a bloody mess in a single charged punch… with the exception of a disembodied foot.

It seems incredibly violent, made a bit stranger by the fact your innocents are easily harmed. Of course, if you don’t, the infected are likely to get to them first, if they’re not killed by the army in the crossfire. So, to be blunt, everyone is pretty much screwed. The further you progress in the game the more the infection takes a hold over Manhattan. There are certain streets where you will just see burnt out cars and dead bodies strewn about the place. Really gives the city a certain macarbe ambience. This is further enforced by the game playing as a flashback. Your tutorial takes place on the 18th day of the infection, where you have all your powers. You then go back to the first day as you play through the game while the infection spreads further, leading up to what you know is the inevitable conclusion. It’s a fantastic way to introduce the controls since you are thrown right into a chaotic Times Square with maxed out mutations. I actually played this twice since I enjoyed chopping things in half with my arm-sword. The most awesome power, which of course is unlocked as one of the final possible powers.

It may take you a long while to get this far since it is just so much fun to wander around the city killing armymen. It is also rather satisfying using the absorption power so that you can later use their form to hide from the filth. This power is heavily used both in missions and outside of them since, for extra XP, you can infiltrate army bases and stealthily kill everyone inside then blow it up with a hijacked tank. OR you can decide to take down the hive locations belonging to the infected. Anything to increase your powers eh? Or do both and get a double return… they’re both bastards, really. Absolutely, all’s fair in war and mutation. One thing I had slight issue with is the sidequests… or the fact that the idea of taking part in a gliding race across Manhatten doesn’t exactly fit in with the apocalyptic feel of the game. They are common to these sort of games, but it is one of those disadvantages of putting so much time pressure on a main quest. As well as a rather annoyingly emo main character who always has the hood of his jacket up during the entire game. To be honest, not always a bad thing, his face somehow seems a bit off. In any case, he looks… and at times is rather emo. Then again if I was experimented on and the government wanted to kill my sister and love interest I would probably be rather emo. I’d be emo if my sister were my love interest. (Two different people) (Scratch that)

Lastly I think we need to mention the Web of Intrigue feature. As a side-effect of your absorption power you are also able to take on the memories of certain people that you meet during the game. This then forms a ‘web’ which acts as a rather unique story-telling device. Therefore the only way you can completely understand the game’s backstory is to absorb every one on your hitlist. Now, this obviously doesn’t happen with everyone, and in a way getting to part of the web is a side quest where you can get more sections as you absorb more characters, but it allows you to learn more about the side story without it being in your face through forced cutscenes. It also allows for more branches in the story, rather than the linear story you normally get. Cutscenes you can easily skip through if the only reason you are taking on this feature is to end up with 100% completion. And at some points you probably will, but the small fragments can be incredibly compelling to track. In the end this game excels with the amounts of freedom you get. It makes me really want to buy a Playstation 3 as soon as possible so I can compare it with Infamous.

Final Thoughts

So yeah, this is a very good game, as said. There’s a good story here, that you can follow up through great missions, with plenty of fun sidequests – either direct events, but also finding people for the web of intrigue, landmarks and hints that you can all find as long as you do plenty of exploration.

Graphically, this game looks lovely and good – as we’d expect by the year this game was introduced in. The AI is good, working different for individual monsters. And you yourself become an incredibly awesome character. Worth playing, absolutely worth it.

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