Prototype is a mixed bag. At first glance you could compare it to an open world title similar to Crackdown. As far as story goes Crackdown didn’t have a particularly strong story and neither does Prototype. It’s told to you via cinematics and “Web of Intrigue” flashbacks. “Web of Intrigue” flashbacks have you seeing some of the experiences of the people you consume and how they tie in to the overarching storyline. This helps to give you some insight into the backstory of the crisis that is currently overtaking the city. Unfortunately, Prototype seems like it is a title that still needs to be finished. Graphically speaking it is not the prettiest game you will play and the draw distance is pretty miserable. This is a game that should have been delayed so the engine could be fully optimized and everything could be more balanced. A lot of the missions have intense action and at times you get an insane number of enemies thrown at you. You have the “regular” enemies to deal with not to mention the citizens of the city who have become infected and will attack you at a moments notice. Then, of course, you add in the military and it can become a chaotic mess. If the A.I. in the game was smarter this might not be such an issue, however, that is simply not the case. There are missions where you have to fight alongside the military to try and take out some of the Infected. It seems pretty straightforward and it is something that should go off without a hitch. Unfortunately, the slightest thing seems to put the military on alert and they will begin attacking you at a moment’s notice despite the fact that you have a common goal in taking out the Infected. So now you not only have to worry about completing your mission but you have to elude the attacks and the strike teams that the military will throw at you. With that said, one of the ways to escape that situation happens to be one of the most fun aspects of the game.
In Prototype you play as Alex Mercer. Alex is a shape shifter with a host of other super powers. If you have the military after you can run over to an innocent citizen and then consume them. Once you have done that you can change your appearance so that you look like that citizen making it difficult for the military to find you. In order to do that successfully you will need to find somewhere where there aren’t a lot of people. If you shape shift in front of military personnel they will still come after you. Some of your other powers include being able to run up the sides of buildings and bound from rooftop to rooftop utilizing parkour skills and more. You can also glide through the air to quickly get to your destination or hijack a vehicle such as a tank or a helicopter. As you progress through the game you will earn points which you then use to upgrade your powers and skills. Prototype is based in Manhattan and as you go through the city you will notice that there are quite a few military bases around there. One way to upgrade your existing skills is to infiltrate the base and consume the right people. To get into the base you need to find the commander who is walking around outside and consume him. Once you do that you can change into him and will be allowed to enter the base. Once you are inside you might have the option to consume an artillery specialist thereby increasing your artillery skills. Or maybe you will consume a pilot thereby increasing your skills with a helicopter or a tank. It is actually a pretty cool way of upgrading your skills and definitely makes it more fun than simply selecting an option in a menu.
While doing that can be a lot of fun in the beginning it can become horribly repetitive as you progress through the game. As cool as that idea is they didn’t bother to take the concept any further leaving you doing the same thing over and over again. The missions themselves suffer from this problem too as a lot of missions seem to just be variations of things you have already done. If you are the type of gamer that plays a lot of these open world titles you will be immediately familiar with the mission structure. There are of course side missions that you can do and the chief reward for completing these is more points to level up your character. However, once again, there are only a few different types to choose from and it can quickly become pretty boring. This will of course vary from gamer to gamer but some more variety would have definitely been appreciated. Maybe the developers plan to release that as downloadable content in the future but by that time will anyone really care? There doesn’t seem to be much replayability in Prototype and with all of the big titles coming out this year I don’t think people will wait around to see if any new content is introduced.
Overall Prototype is a fun game to play if you enjoy open world titles. Being able to quickly scale buildings and get through the city quickly can be a lot of fun. The powers that you unlock as you progress through the game can be fun to experiment with as well. Being able to pick up a vehicle and throw it at a charging enemy can be a satisfying experience. If they had just taken a little more time to fine tune the title it could have turned a somewhat fun game into a great experience. Whether or not you should pick up this title will depend on how big of a fan you are of these types of games. Everyone should at least try this game out to see what they think. If nothing else it should be a really great rental.
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