Tuesday, July 21

GamesThirst Reviews Prototype: After Infamous, I’m left unimpressed

Publisher: Activision
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Player (s): 1
Genre: Action
Release Date: May 26, 09
Score: 7.0

It’s kinda hard when you’re huge fan of The Incredible Hulk series watching him roam the streets of New York City, feared by the helpless while being chased by the military, and another game becomes a clone. In many ways you feel kinda…..well….. Disappointed. Prototype, Activision’s new action adventure in many ways is The Incredible Hulk with a brand new character named Alex Mercer.

Go figure, the game was developed by the same guys behind the Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction (Radical Entertainment) and follows down twin paths. Both have super natural abilities, both takes place in New York City. Both are open world allowing characters to do almost anything, from climbing atop buildings and doing massive damage without thinking about insurance.

What Quenched my thirst
The freedom of roaming New York City, pushing through crowds, jumping over cars or running on rooftops gives you the feeling that you own the city. Your movement capabilities will be upgraded as you proceed on your journey. Gliding long distances will become child’s play later in the game as you blaze across the skies of New York. Speaking of journey, the sweet juice of Prototype’s story isn’t found on just a run through of the game, you literally have to stop and grab specially marked pedestrians which then triggers flash backs in your mind hence helping you fill in the blanks as you learn what your victims knew about the dangerous plot that made Alex Mercer the way he is. The flashbacks add a deeper intensity to the action and an added incentive for the player to scour the vast city adding more length and replay ability to the game.

Ever wanted to be a super hero? Well Alex’s you guy. His journey begins with powers already not natural to any human being. For example running up buildings and as you proceed you’ll notice that Prototype’s upgrade system will transform Alex Mercer into an astounding monstrosity. There are several power sets to utilize, each with their own unique uses and moves mostly manifested about the super hero’s hand. My favorite is the blade power which turns you arm into a massive edged weapon.

Alex can also take on the look or appearance of any NPC in the game allowing him to blend in seamlessly with the population and in doing so erasing any trace of his whereabouts. You will find yourself using this technique multiple times throughout the game, sometimes to escape and other times to get through enemy strongholds. Also, certain NPCs can be absorbed to learn new skills, example helicopter piloting proficiency.

Another neat aspect of the game is being able to hijack helicopter and tanks, moving towards your objective and laying the smack down on your prey. There’s also a special feature titled: “New Game Plus” Once you’ve completed the game, you can play through again with all the powers and abilities you’ve unlocked. This makes for a good payback because believe me you’re gonna get your butt kicked the first time around.

What left a bitter taste
The game’s difficulty is unbalanced, and that’s extremely irritating. One minute you’re proceeding while kicking some butt, the other you’re dead because they just yanked 3 then 4, plus 1 brand new foes at you, hence finding yourself back at the same check point too many times. The game is not well paced at all, you’re not gradually introduced to new enemies; they just come at you fast and furious. That’s very frustrating.

Apart from the flashbacks that occur when you grab specially marked pedestrians, the story of prototype is bland. No taste at all. The voice acting is so-so and it makes it very difficult to be stoked about what will happen next. You won’t be very intrigued by the characters, especially Alex’s sister; whoever did the voice acting for her character needed to wake up. She’s dry.

The side missions also left me confused. Though some missions synced well with the storyline, some just made no sense at all. What’s destroying a mutant hive has to do with the original plot? I mean, c’mon! I know it’s a side mission but at least make it be relevant in some way to the original plot.

The game is decent to say the least. While strikingly similar to The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, it’s good to see Radical Entertainment try something new. (most developers are afraid of new IPs). Prototype unleashes a monster’s share of power in your hand and it’ll feel good to scour New York City doing just about anything in order to attain victory. But after playing the master piece that’s Infamous, it’s hard to recommend Prototype as a must buy. Rent first because you might really enjoy playing this one, or you may not. Different strokes, different folks.

07/21/09 Ernice Gilbert

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