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Tuesday | October 16, 2018
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Prototype (PS3 & X360)

Prototype (PS3 & X360)


Most of us at one time or another would have loved to have a superpower and recent games such as the awesome Infamous have aimed to put us in exactly that position. With Prototype you take control of Alex Mercer, a guy with superhuman powers and the ability to shape shift and assume the appearance of other people.

Alex is an anti-hero, he doesn’t want the powers he has been given and his objective in Prototype is to find the people responsible for his situation and kill them. Unlike Infamous there are very few moral choices and Alex has no problem in absorbing other people to gain health and to gain their abilities. If you are in a near death situation and low on health you can simply grab an innocent pedestrian, smash their head and then consume them for a health boost. Equally so you can mingle with crowds of people by absorbing the likeness of one and disappearing from view.

The story of Alex Mercer is an unusual one, he initially wakes up a morgue and comes to the conclusion that he was not laid out on the slab by accident, he in fact should be dead. He quickly finds out that his body has an array of powers and he can not only scale heights and perform athletic feats of wonder, but he has the ability to mutate his skin to call forth claws and blades from his new found black exoskeleton. He soon finds out that New York City has been subjected to a mysterious virus and that over half the population is infected.

The Blackwatch special forces are attempting to contain the virus and their ways of trying to do so are ethically and morally tainted because they are killing indiscriminately. New York City is now a battle zone, with you involved and high on the Special forces hit list – marked for death. You aren’t here to protect the city, you aren’t the new found hero in a shiny cape, you are out to find out what’s going on and to seek revenge on the people responsible for your predicament.

While Cole from Infamous was able to use train tracks to quickly travel long distances, Alex is able to use an air glide move that means he can get to the other side of Manhattan in a fraction of the time normally needed. He can also use an extending arm to grab onto those annoying helicopters that make all action games frustrating and he has the ability to perform a wrestling elbow drop move to take out tanks with ease. This is the appeal of the game – the continual access to newer powers and the ability to approach the missions from a variety of angles.

Sadistic gamers will find Prototype much more appealing than other games in this genre because you can really run amok in the city and cause massive destruction – even to the innocent residents, without mutating into some salivating demonic reject.

The main story in Prototype lasts for 31 missions and they are diverse in nature from escort missions to full on assaults on key locations with boss battles. While the missions are nothing ground breaking in terms of content they are well executed and people even semi experienced in open world games such as this will feel immediately at home with the implementation.

Where Prototype is different however is in the amount of enemies the game decides to throw at you – some of the missions have you fighting literally hundreds of people and sometimes even tanks and helicopters … just for the hell of it. It would be fair to say that if you value hectic action packed gaming that this will be right up your alley. The only possible complaint would be that there is very little time during the game to catch your breath between missions. The strike teams are always on alert and if you are spotted it is a case of running out of sight and assuming the appearance of someone else.

As well as the main story missions there are the obligatory side missions which you can complete to earn Evolve Points (EP) which can be used to upgrade Alex’s many powers. There are EP points at every turn so you are never battling to earn them and after every mission you will be upgrading your abilities – this is an addictive part of the game and something the developers have clearly focused on to keep people hooked. I was unable to put the game down while I was playing so I could find out just what power or ability was around the corner. A testament to the fine design ethic of Radical Entertainment.

As would be expected, the side missions are not as appealing as the main missions and quite often you have to retread the same ground throughout them to move onto the next one. I wouldn’t say they were poorly designed, but they can get a little monotonous after a few hours of playing. That said, I find quite often in this genre that the side missions are merely included as a little padding for the main quest line.

A nice touch with the game dynamic is the ability to absorb people who reveal personal visions of the infection – if you spot them in the city and take advantage of their knowledge you can quickly make it your own. To compliment your main powers you can also improve your weapon abilities by infiltrating army bases and if you are successful you can get access to attacks such as airstrikes, which bring a nice edge to the combat mechanic.

Graphically the game is not quite as impressive as hoped and I don’t feel it is as polished as Infamous – the game environment is also not as big as I wanted and New York is not accurately rendered to represent the actual city. Obviously this is perhaps a point which won’t annoy many gamers but in such a demanding industry it is a shame that a little more effort wasn’t placed into the game world. The city is also rather unfortunately a little drab in regards to the design and I had flashbacks of games such as Wheelman in which glorious landmarks were replaced with generically designed buildings.

Equally unfortunate are the issues with the draw distance and pop in and while you are running along the tops of the buildings it is clear that the engine is struggling to cope with the environments. The high level of long distance fog is also a good indication of the compromises which had to be made to keep framerates smooth.

Additionally due to playing Red Faction: Guerrilla extensively in the last week or two I found the fact that you can’t damage the buildings rather annoying (apart from a few specific ones). If you hurl a vehicle into a building even a glass window pane will not break – not really very realistic. Redeeming features however are the animations of the characters – they are fantastic and Alex Mercer really feels like a breathing, living, superhuman being. There are really no noticeable differences between the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 version, with both performing at a similar framerate with almost identical graphical detail on the environments and characters.

On an audio level the game is solid with a good array of ambient sounds and the explosions and voice overs are all well handled. There are really no complaints here.

Prototype is a killer game which is sure to appeal to fans of games such as Crackdown and Infamous, unfortunately it lacks a little of the overall polish of both which detracts a little from the overall experience. Its also true that the graphics are a little rough in places and the pop-in can be distracting at times however Alex Mercer is probably the finest anti hero in a modern day game and just for him alone this game is worth a purchase, his array of powers and abilities will keep you addicted right until the end. Recommended.



A plethora of powers for your character and the ability to do almost everything you want, to anyone you want means this will appeal to many gamers.
Some issues with environmental pop in and overall detail which mar the experience.
Good voiceacting and effects. No noticeable issues to mention.
Around 20-25 hours of gameplay time and while the side missions may become repetitive its a reasonable offering.

A very enjoyable game for both platforms which deserves at least a rental.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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