Genre: Action Developer: Radical Entertainment Publisher: Vivendi Universal Publishing Classification: MA15+ Release Date: To be advised (future release) Platforms:XBOX360
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The military base down the road from you is almost serene, except for the armed infantry surrounding it. Two tanks are parked at either
entrance as you approach the base. As you walk through the massive gateway the soldiers salute you. You're their commanding officer, as far as they can tell. A helicopter is parked on the roof, you can see its rotors. Suddenly an alarm goes off - you missed a biological sensor on the other side of the wall. The soldiers start firing on you as you duck behind a crate. A rocket flies past - it's time to ditch this form and run.
Your hands morph into blades as you leap into the air. You surge towards the ground and thrust both fists down - spikes leap from the ground around you, impaling soldiers and tanks alike. A machine gunner radios for help as you punch his friend in half. The machine gunner's request for strike teams goes through just as you rip his limbs off. You have to leave - fast. You run at the wall as rockets and grenades explode around you, morphing your arm into a whip as you land on the wall. You start to run up the wall as the gunships roar into range. You jump on to the roof of the building and leap at the closest chopper, whipping your arm at its windshield.
You latch on and swing your way up, bursting into the cockpit and tearing the gunner apart. You leapt into the pilots seat and destroy him in a spray of blood, taking control of the chopper. You swing around and launch a rocket at the other chopper just as your own tail rotor is destroyed. The chopper is going down - you bail as the other gunship explodes in a ball of flame. You plummet to earth, the combined forces of an entire military base waiting for you to land. Just before you land your body erupts with tendrils, impaling everything. The air thick with blood, you assume the identity of a nearby citizen and walk away, no-one any wiser.
For a game about deceiving your enemies as much as possible, Prototype is perfectly honest in its intentions. It's a game where you wreck stuff, all the time. As soon as you start you're thrust into a world of destruction - a virus grips a panicked Manhattan and a hooded terror is on the loose, menacing the public. The menace is you - when you kick off you're capable of a few things - punching people in half, shape-shifting into anyone you see and running up walls.
Further down the track the scene described above will be a regular occurrence for you, but for now it's all about low-key destruction. With the exception of the movement upgrades (faster running, higher jumping and the awesome glide ability) most people would be happy with just the small abilities anyway - the very visceral ability to punch a person in half sticks with you far longer than using a whip arm to decapitate the 30 soldiers standing around you (although that's absolutely awesome as well).
As you progress through the story missions and uncover more details about the main character though, you'll start to find stronger and stronger enemies on your tail - the army sends tanks, choppers and super soldiers after you soon enough, and the infected (the zombie-like other bad guys) send super zombies and Akira-esque boss monsters after you.
Naturally the game - like its not so subtle inspiration Spiderman 2 (one of the best superhero open world games ever) - helps you combat these foes by giving you EP (evolution points, because experience points is too nerdy). Each kill and mission is worth experience points which you then spend on buying new powers (unlocking, whatever, it's semantics).
You won't unlock them all until near the end of the game - thankfully you feel powerful enough at the beginning that the game isn't a chore. You can also unlock certain abilities by absorbing people with the skills necessary - helicopter pilots hold the powers to flying helicopters, machine gunners let you wield weapons better, etc.
The how of this is all explained in the game's plot. You are Alex Mercer, an ordinary man with an extraordinary virus. You follow him through what appears to be your average amnesiac anti-hero plot - find who infected you here, save someone who's apparently your girlfriend there - and while there are a few interesting plot points via the Web of Intrigue targets (wherein when you absorb certain people's forms you obtain all their memories) the game doesn't really expand beyond the basics of sending you from mission to mission.
In fact the game's biggest flaw is the way it treats its characters - you never really give a damn about anyone at all in the game, especially not Alex Mercer. His sister, his girlfriend and the people who help him are really just objects used to push you towards the end of the game, and it's hard not to regret the mistreatment of everyone involved at the hands of the writers. The idea behind the main character is actually something worth looking into with some detail - check the breakout box for more, as it's a spoiler - and they might have expanded on the concepts within the story to great effect.
Another thing missing from the game is a soundtrack - many open world games ignore the soundtrack these days, but I've always felt it a welcome addition to making the game feel alive. There's barely any ambient noise at all beyond the screams of those you're ripping to pieces and the radio chatter of nearby military - it gives the game a sterile, static feeling. Fortunately on the Xbox you can play a custom soundtrack, but they might have done more with it.
On the other hand, Prototype isn't trying to be Grand Theft Auto IV with superpowers. It's clearly trying to be Spiderman 2, except you're almost invincible supervillain Carnage instead of mid-puberty Peter Parker. The story for Prototype is clearly an afterthought - an interesting afterthought - and the music is the screams of those you destroy.
It doesn't have a lot of replayability in the traditional sense, but Prototype is worth a purchase because at the end of the day, when you've finished the main mission and you unlock New Game + there is nothing more satisfying than coming home, switching it on and punching a dozen people in half. Prototype will sit close to my Xbox 360 for a long time for this reason alone.
To me this game is a carbon copy of assasins creed in that there is a main mission and the side missions are a bunch of pointless mini games. GTA set itself apart from this where the missions had purpose and playing through killing hordes of infected isn't as satifying as watching innocent civies fall by the hands of one of you devistator attacks. The game holds itself up only on its gameplay and interesting super powers. The game is comparable to Shinobido for the PS2, where its only plus point was killing the innocent in new and innovative ways. This game doesn't really live upto the hype and at the end of the day i really find it a chore to play although I'm probably being a little over critical of it because it reminds me of Assasins Ccreed