We all know it, the regular guy who can’t remember a thing about his past after waking up but suddenly realises he’s get some of the coolest abilities he can think of. Also Prototype follows this cute faitytale where Alex Mercer gets put in a bed of weapons and swords with as goal to defeat all things evil.
Prototype is about Alex Mercer, a man who got infected with a special virus that next to erasing his memory has only given him “positive” powers. Alex is out for revenge, wants his memory back and prefer to get rid of his special abilities. On paper a story filled with intrigue, plot twists and sensation, but…
In reality there’s little of a storyline to be found. The cut-scenes bring little extra info and the system, called “web of intrigue”, to suck people dry to obtain their knowledge and observe their network of friends is too complicated to gather all information. Luckily there are a lot of people who don’t mind skipping the story and immediately look for the action. Something Prototype does succeed in delivering.
From the first moment on you get flooded with tanks, helicopters and soldiers that do everything in their power to get you back in custody. Luckily you’ve got an entire arsenal, and I really mean a huge arsenal, of abilities to protect yourself from others. Alex can run extremely fast, walk up to buildings vertically, and float and jump like the best. This combination of powers makes for one of the nicest ways ever to roam a city in a sandbox-game.
Alex Mercer can change appearance when he wants to for instance get into a building or catch his breath while escaping and mingle with the rest of the crowd. If you for instance need to get into a military building, Alex can look like a soldier by consuming one. Next to complete shape shifting there’s also the possibility to transfer his arms and hands in all kinds of weapons. From razor-sharp blades and a long whip to a blunt bat to hit with, plenty of variation! Thanks to the shape shifting missions can also be completed in different ways, which brings the necessary variation in the quite repetitive mission structure.
No matter how nice total destruction may sound, after five or ten missions all the fun leaks away. Each time you need to sneak in a base, consume a person or simply kill someone. The battlefields lack overview and you get attacked from all sides so much by rockets, grenades, bullets and mutants that it’s impossible to reach your goal. The difficulty degree isn’t hard but the way you get attacked is just too chaotic and overwhelming. Frustration all around…
Radical Entertainment has tried to circumvent this with side missions but the most interesting abilities are unlocked with the main campaign and you hardly ever get tempted to play the optional missions. Also the fact that Alex Mercer has totally no morals is something that disappointed me a bit. Especially after playing InFAMOUS this felt like a missed opportunity. But maybe I’m just a wuss when it comes to killing people.
Graphically the game doesn’t shine either. Buildings all look the same and the game suffers from pop-up. Next to that all soldiers look equal and the city feels dead and abandoned.
Prototype isn’t a bad game. The gameplay is filled with action, with a lot of great moves to brutally slay mutants and soldiers. Unfortunately both story and missions disappoint while the chaos in the gameplay brings forth some frustration. All in all still definitely one to try out though.