Prototype Review

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Capt. Charles Conley is being an ass. He’s punching everyone in the face as he plows down a New York sidewalk. Right before that he left a massive dent in some strangers car, a dent he made by jumping off an apartment building. I presume he’s no not usually such an ass and that this should be a sign to the other soldiers that maybe, perhaps, this isn’t actually Capt. Charles Conley. Perhaps his new found ability to run up walls and jump off buildings should also tip them off. But it’s too late. Alex Mercer, disguised as Capt. Charles Conley, has just absorbed the tank driver and taken the bases idle tank.

The next series of events gets a little hectic, so I’ll try to go slow. I use the tank to blow up the two enemy tanks waiting at the base, drive down the street while getting to helicopters on my tail. I jump out of the tank, grab a nearby taxi cab, run up a building (carrying the taxi cab above my head), toss the taxi cab at the closest helicopter, glide to the building across the street using what appear to be blood jets, rebound off the wall of the building and karate kick the second helicopter in the face.  Some mutant monsters show up so I transform my arms into massive claws and slash them a few times before absorbing them into my being.  Ding! Mission complete!

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This is not an extraordinary mission in Prototype. In fact, it’s one of the first. Before the mission started, I had to watch a cut scene where my estranged sister explained… something to Alex Mercer. I’m not sure exactly what because I pretty quickly decided I didn’t really care at all about this story. I’m not sure if this is indicative of how awful the narrative of Prototype is or how much I really wanted to get back to playing. Probably more the the latter than the former, but I do want to emphasize that the story here is pretty god awful. Basically, Alex Mercer really wants to make the people who did this to him pay.

Movement is the reason to play Prototype ; with one button you can run straight up buildings and with a second you can jump 30 feet and glide across New York. It’s practically effortless and a constant source of joy. You really don’t ever feel limited by where you can go on the island; your speed and agility are up to you… most of the time. Eventually you unlock a burst power that is sometimes incredibly useful and other times sends plummeting to the streets below. Likewise, the karate kick can be an awesome trick to quickly getting in close to any enemy; other times, it sends you flying into a parked car instead of that tank you’d really, really like to hijack.

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Speaking of karate kicks, you’ll probably be doing a lot of them. Also, you’ll be swinging massive arm blades, shooting 30 foot tentacles at pedestrians and firing lots of rocket launchers. This would be fun, or rather is fun, right up until you start fighting mobs of enemies that use unstoppable combos and constantly ram you like a freight train. You’ll have to learn to be much more agile than you should need to (read: spam dodge button), but then again, movement is such a joy in this game that running away from a fight and absorb some helpless civilians for health is actually a entertaining part of the games flow. Of course, boss fights where this is impossible are on the border of “throw controllers out of anger” type, so might I suggest playing the game on easy?

That’s actually one of my main annoyances: the game doesn’t hand out an achievement or reward for beating the game on normal (just one for beating it on hard). Since I’m not earning anything for playing on normal I would love to change my difficulty down to easy, but you can only do that when you start a game. Just avoid norma the first time and I’m sure you’ll love this game even more than I do.

(Images courtesy of Joystiq)

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6 Responses to Prototype Review

  1. Scott Reeser says:

    There’s only 1 cheevo for beating it on Hard…not sure what you mean by that. I will grant that it seems rather stingy since at one point I had about 27 of the 40 with only 520 points of the 1000. And in no way am I going for the All Gold & Platinum events.

    I also wish there was an extra upgrade that put Landmark orbs & Hint orbs on the mini-map like the Web of Intrigue targets. I love the game otherwise (even the story); I’ve spent way too much time in the Free Roam mode 🙂

    • raxdakkar says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. I updated the review to make it more clear but all I was really trying to get across was that I had assumed that the game, like most, would give me a cheevo for beating the game on normal (thus validating my choosing that over easy) and it turned out you only get one for playing on hard. Since their isn’t really any reason to play on normal and the game gets frustratingly hard at times, I just wish I could switch down to easy, but the game doesn’t allow you to do that.

      • Scott Reeser says:

        I didn’t even think I wouldn’t get an achievement for the Normal difficulty, but I’d choose it anyway…not for the unlocking hard, but it’s what I typically choose in games I’m not playing for achievements (Bioshock on PC for example).

        Also of note, I just beat it a second time (New Game+ on Easy this time) to get the Hard to Kill and Nice Guy. I was a bastard the first hour or so and just loved becoming anyone on the streets unfortunately for the Nice Guy the first time. Sadly, it seems they don’t unlock on +mode. Just FYI…gonna have to start anew in Easy w/o all my upgrades :-/

      • raxdakkar says:

        Honestly, I don’t care much for cheevos either, but with hard games like this one, I sort of want a reward for my penance. Also, after recently being frustrated by Riddick, which took away my “beat it on normal” achievement because I had to complete one part in the middle on easy and then conversley, playing through Red Faction and being rewarded for beating the game, reagardless of the fact that I switched the game to easy for the last mission, makes me a little frustrated that Prototype doesn’t have anything.

        Looking at how much I’m making a fuss about this, I’m starting to wonder if I’m a self hating achievement whore…

      • Scott Reeser says:

        Replying back & forth in this thread makes me wish there were more JPAGers nearby to discuss these games with. We just need a good hour on the show with all people who played Prototype to “riff” on it. 🙂

      • Scott Reeser says:

        Scratch that, paused it right after the last Mission Complete. They popped right after unpausing 😀

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