Developer: Radical Ent.
Release Date: 6/9/2009
Also Available On
The Good: Fun combat, lots of different powers, huge skill tree, you can pretend you’re someone else…
The Bad: …Because Alex is an unlikeable protagonist, terrible storytelling, boring free world, repetitive combat, cookie cutter AI, unbalanced difficulty, outdated graphics
If you have ever played The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction you will kind of get the idea of what Alex Mercer is going through in Prototype (or [PROTOTYPE] as SEGA thinks CAPS is cool >.>), just minus the green problem our Mr. Banner seems to be having. The reason I say Prototype is like Ultimate Destruction, and just a tad more ultimate with a hint more destruction, is because it uses a beefed up engine from the same game and shares some of the same mechanics.
You play as Alex Mercer a confused test subject who wants revenge on his creator and to stop the infection spreading through out the story. I’d tell you more, but the storytelling is so terrible I had no idea what was going on and who was doing what or WHO! Constant flashbacks and pieces of the story told through consuming certain targets and watching stills isn’t fun for your brain to digest.
When you first jump into the game you’ll be able to run up walls, climb buildings, and eventually glide, kick and consume your way to ultimate infected glory. Most of Prototype is a free roaming mode where you run from mission to mission, or side mission/activity, a la Spider-Man or any other hero you like that can run across a city in less than 30 minutes. The great thing about this is you can find hidden items such as extra experience, or little-hidden things to unlock achievements (or trophies if you’re a PS3 fan and are somehow “accidentally” reading this Xbox 360 review). While most of these (like in any sandbox game) are so spread out and so well hidden you won’t except for the ones you run across on accident. Most of the free roaming is, unfortunately, boring and bland. There are just people and cars and that’s pretty much it. Once you get further into the game rampant zombies and infected people terrorize the streets, and it does get more interesting, but it just makes you want to stay off of them and onto the buildings. Most of the graphics in the game are outdated and kind of boring, to begin with, so there’s nothing really “eye-catching” about the game at all.
The meat of the game, really, is the fighting and this is where the heart of Prototype lies. You have a HUGE skill tree that extends from combat to stealth, to movement, to even yes you guessed it, powers. What kind of a game called [PROTOTYPE] be without powers? Well pretty boring since there are so many you have more than you handle…no really. Prototype has so many different moves and powers you will end up forgetting most of the little ones and just use your most obnoxious ones. Your arm can transform into different weapons such as a whip, giant fists via The Thing, larger muscles for a mix of power and speed, a giant scythe (the one on the COVER!), and a few others. Accompanied with these you have some armor (can’t glide or double dash though!…yeah shut-up Mario Kart fanboys), you can also shape shift into whoever your last consumed victim was (more on that later). The way you use these powers depends on the enemies you’re fighting. A huge mechanic is the grab ability since this is used to fling objects at helicopters, giant tentacle arms, and even the military soldiers, or infected monsters. Most of the time your mashing X and Y together to create a cool combo then you somehow unleash a weird power. That’s why there is just too much in this game since you can’t memorize all these combos and what each one does for what weapons. One of the next major mechanics is the lock on system and this is used to dash toward enemies and pummel them before they do something amazing to your infected self. I had a hard time with multiple enemies since you’d want to target one (say a guy with a rocket launcher up high), but the game would keep targeting someone else below.
You can use actual weapons in the game that enemies drop such as machine guns, shotguns, and rocket launchers and these are essential in some missions. Not always will you have your weapons available and you’ll have to use the environment around you. The also consists of many boss fights and this is where I concluded my play through. The game gets so frustratingly difficult towards the end that the game will throw so many hard enemies at you at once (two tentacles plus 5-6 hunters) while trying to protect something? Yeah right, but then again SEGA is known for doing this in their games. You’ll end up trying to hit one enemy then another knocks you back, then you can’t get up because another is smashing on you then when you do you get knocked back again. Yes, a lot of cheap deaths and hits and this isn’t fair.
Aside from the annoying main missions, there are some rather fun and unique activities that utilize your powers. Some missions will have you using selected power to eliminate a certain amount of enemy in a certain amount of time, some are races, checkpoint races, and some even have you finding targets and consuming them for your Web (more on that later). While most of the these are fun some are impossible to get the target requirements for a gold medal and max amount of experience points to spend in the skill tree. Other skills are earned by consuming certain targets to fly helicopters, tanks, etc.
The last element I should mention is the skill tree and this is filled by consuming certain targets and watching a series of stills and a brief voice clip to fill in the story (lame). So as you can see this may be unique (and ways to unlock achievements..yeah or TROPHIES), but this seems more like a cheap way to tell the story, or used as game filler.
While Prototype is fun for awhile it quickly gets repetitive with its cookie cutter enemy AI, broken storytelling, cheap deaths, and bland free roaming world. I recommend Prototype for a rental, but don’t expect anything amazing.