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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Radical Entertainment

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

June 9, 2009

 

- Agility, mobility, and speed of the protagonist are awesome

- An assortment of upgradeable abilities that make the protagonist even more powerful

- Some really crazy fights

- Camera actually does a good job keeping up

 

 

- Some battles are physically exhausting

- Disjointed storytelling, though cool conceptually, just didn’t make me care

- Forced vehicle sections were the most aggravating part

 

 

Review: Red Faction: Guerrilla (360)

Review: Afro Samurai (PS3)

Review: Grand Theft Auto IV (360)

Interview: Prototype Post Mortem Interview with Max Belanger

 

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Prototype

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

Prototype weighed heavily enough on my mind that I had a couple dreams of flying and running up buildings.  The mobility, agility and speed of the protagonist, Alex Mercer, is second to none.  He’s already very powerful at the beginning of the game but as “Evolution Points” are put toward physical upgrades, the range of movement available makes Alex the most mobile character in gaming history.

 

prototype          prototype

 

Alex’s powers are suited for the environment – New York under attack from an ever-expanding “virus” which is wiping out the military sent to control the situation (and everything in between) – with plenty of massive buildings to leap off of,

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enemies to kill, cars to hurl, and crazy battles, some of which are so long that I felt physically drained after putting the controller down.  It’s a big, bloody playground and Prototype is at its best when it asks you to do two or three things at once, forcing you to put all of Alex’s abilities to use. Hit, fade, armor up, blade out, slash, slash, hijack a tank, blow a helicopter out of the sky… it’s all really satisfying, to the point

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where I skipped pretty much every cutscene to get back to the good stuff.

 

Not every encounter ends in a massive bloodbath and billions of dollars worth of damage.  There are some objectives that require a modicum of stealth to complete.  Consume and take the form of a soldier to gain access to base or stealthily consume a member of Blackwatch and take a helicopter – that’s about it.  The direct method is usually the best method.

 

The backstory of what brought Alex to his current condition, is told by disjointed pieces that can be stitched together to figure out what’s actually happening.  There are flashforwards and some short mission cutscenes, but the bulk of the true story is viewed by “consuming” characters.  In the process, their memories are absorbed by Alex, as well as, topping up his health bar.  Prototype obviously had a lot of effort poured into making a stylishly told tale, but it falls flat simply because there are no characters to hang it on.  By default it should be Alex, but I stopped caring about him, as a character, in a little under an hour.  A couple hours into the game and I started muttering, “Just point me in the direction of something to kill.”

 

          prototype

 

Fortunately, the challenges that are continually added to the map break down the parts of Prototype that I found so fun like the checkpoint races across large swathes of the city or just seeing how many “infected” enemies you can take out before you die.  There’s no story to worry about, though there are “consuming” missions if you feel compelled to complete the Web of Intrigue.

 

Prototype is definitely a worthy spiritual successor to Radical’s own Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction – even some of Alex’s moves are recognizable as pure Hulk – so it should go without saying that the story doesn’t actually matter.  Prototype is about mucking around in a sandbox filled with viscera and it certainly excels at it.

 

- Aaron Simmer

(June 29, 2009)

 

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