In Prototype you take on the role of Alex Mercer as he awakens during his autopsy. Wondering what the hell is going on, he quickly escapes, realising he now has various superpowers.
Mercer needs to find out what the hell has happened to him and why New York is infected with a virus that has turned half the population into zombies.
The opening FMV for Prototype is among the best I’ve seen, it really does look amazing. Sadly that is the peak of the game graphics wise, with the majority of gameplay looking more PS2 than PS3. But as I’ve said before I’d take gameplay over graphics any day so is Prototype fun to play?
It most definitely is fun. There is no doubt about that. Some of the abilities and powers just don’t get boring to watch (groundspike anyone?). Running up buildings never gets tiresome, it just looks cool.
My main complaint is that there is too much here – too many moves, too many upgrades and a lot of the time too much going on around you to keep up.
I think the issue stems from the most well intentioned gesture – freedom. The developers have given you the choice of how to approach every mission. You can use whatever power you want but sometimes in games you need to at least make the player try out the different powers.
I think I used the Hammerfist power once or twice in the whole game, I had no reason to use it – I was quite happy with my blade and whip abilities. If I had to use it on one of the missions perhaps I would’ve used it more.
The problem here is that in giving us more freedom, more choice, a lot of people will miss out on some of the powers. If you can defeat all your enemies with two of your powers you might not bother checking the others out.
Personally I think a better way to handle it would’ve been a mission for each power to showcase what it can do – or maybe even a boss battle or two.
The missions are fairly standard, with a few really good ones in the mix – the missions where you need to consume a certain person were always fun.
The disguise element was nicely done although there were a few instances where the game expected you to use it without really letting you know. On one mission I played for almost 45 mins trying to evade the army by running away or fighting them when all I needed to do was run in an alley and disguise myself. That’s great and it’s a good feature but perhaps a hint would’ve been helpful after I’d died for the 15th time.
I thought the story of Prototype was pretty gripping, although occasionally it was tough to keep up with. Certainly there are plenty of questions left open at the end so the series can continue in a number of directions if they greenlight another one.
Prototype is a very ambitious game and what it lacks in the polish department it certainly makes up for in heart and general mayhem making. The fact you get the cost of the damage you’ve caused at the end of every mission shows the game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
As much fun as it was to cause all the destruction I think my main problem was that I never felt fully in control of Alex. Random moves would happen and I wouldn’t know what I’d done differently to activate them. In, say God Of War, Kratos’ move set is designed in a way so that I know what is going to happen and I have control over his movment – I never felt that completely in Prototype.
And I can’t really finish the review without mentioning Prototype’s nemesis Infamous. This review initially started out comparing the two but I think that is gonna be a whole other blog post. I preferred Infamous, I’ll explain why in the follow up article as it’ll take more than a paragraph to compare these two.
Prototype is definitely a game worth playing despite it’s various faults – it was a blast to play through if a little frustrating at times.
Would I play through it again? No. Would I play a second game in the series? Most definitely.