Prototype Review – We Are All Soldiers

July 1, 2009

I make Wolverine cry

I make Wolverine cry

Prototype is a free roaming action game from Radical Entertainment, makers of The Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and it shows. The two games are similar in that they give you a large city to roam around in as an incredibly powerful being. In this game, you’re Alex Mercer. You wake up in a morgue with super powers, and everything gets out of control shortly afterwords.

Prototype revolves around a series of 31 missions. They are punctuated by cut scenes that move the story forward, but lets face it, the cut scenes aren’t that great and the narrative suffers as a result. Luckily, there is more to the story than just whats going on in the here an now. The back story resolves around a government conspiracy that stretches all they back to the 1960’s and is revealed through the web of intrigue. To unveil pieces of the web you have to consume people with knowledge of what’s going on, and there are 130 of them wandering around. Each of them gives you a different cut scene that reveals a new tidbit of information. When I beat the game I only found a 97 of them and you better believe I’m not going to stop until I absorb every last one. It’s that good.

Besides the main story and the web of intrigue, there are side missions you can complete for evolution points, such as consuming a certain number of people in a set time, racing around the city, or blowing stuff up. They’re pretty fun for the most part and help to break up the main story.

Speaking of evolution points, Alex can unlock a lot of powers. I mean A LOT. So many that I didn’t even use all of them. One of the most most useful power sets is the movement powers. Moving around New York is fast and furious. Alex hops over cars, runs up buildings, and glides through the air. You can get from one side of the island to the next very rapidly. One of the other powers I really enjoyed was the sword arm. What else needs to be said? Your arm is a giant organic blade.

One of the things I didn’t enjoy about Prototype were the weird difficulty spikes. One minute you’ll be slaying hundreds of people, the next you’ll be wrecked by a boss battle. There were a few missions that had me spewing expletives, which is a rarity for me. It’s mad frustrating when you’re doing a mission or fighting a boss for the fifth or sixth time. Luckily, most missions do have checkpoints throughout, so death doesn’t mean you’ll have to restart from the beginning. Radical gets a few points for that smart move.

Another negative I hear brought up is the graphics in Prototype aren’t great. They’re not, but it’s OK. There are soldiers, infected, civilians, tanks, cars, and helicopters all on screen at once. Not to mention the explosions. With so much going on something had to take a hit, and it wasn’t the frame rate. You can be in the middle of a huge battle between the infected and the military and the frame rate is still rock solid. Even though this game isn’t much to look at, it is still technically impressive.

In game advertising. If not done well, it can be like nails on a chalkboard (lookin at you Axe body spray in Rainbow Six: Vegas). I saw a few posters for GameStop, the musical Jersey Boys, and even one for Panasonic. As the game rolled forward, I forgot all about them. Why? Because they all get covered up by military propaganda. “Support the Quarantine”, “We Are All Soldiers”, “A Cure is Coming”, and “America is Behind Us” are just a few. I thought this was pretty cool when I realized they did it.

I had a lot fun with Prototype. It’s got slick action, the web of intrigue, and a version of New York City under military quarantine. If you want a game that doesn’t hesitate to make you feel like the ultimate bad ass at every chance it can, then this should be right up your alley.

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