- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Radical Ent.
- Also On: PS3
- ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
- Genre: Action
- Pros: Crazy powers; bloody good gameplay; endless opportunities to goof off
- Cons: Oblivious AI; missions aren’t as fun as goofing off
Prototype tells the story of Alex Mercer, a man who wakes up one day with super powers but can’t remember anything about his past. At the same time, a terrible virus is turning the people of Manhattan into mutants. It is your job to guide Alex around Manhattan to not only learn about his past (by absorbing specific people walking around NYC who know about his past) but to try to stop the virus at the same time.
It is, honestly, a pretty darn easy task when all is said and done because Alex Mercer is insanely powerful. Think of any nifty abilities we have had in previous sandbox games. Mercer can do them all and more. He can pick up cars and people and throw them all over the place. He can run up buildings. He can glide through the air. His powers let him make shields so he can run through crowds. He can send spikes through the ground to attack enemies from underneath. His arm can turn into a whip to attack helicopters from a distance or clear crowds like a lawnmower. And best of all, he can absorb civilians and even enemy soldiers and then take their form so he can blend in to escape the authorities or even walk right into military bases (since Alex “is” the commander after you absorb the right person). You can also eventually drive military vehicles and pick up their weapons to use against them.
Perhaps the best part is that you earn XP just by running around and goofing off. You can upgrade your abilities and earn new ones insanely quickly in this game. It is absolutely brilliant in that it keeps dangling new abilities and more power in front of you to keep you playing for hours at a time.
My only real complaints about Prototype are that the actual missions themselves aren’t as fun as just goofing off. They usually consist of “Destroy this”, “Absorb that person”, “Get into that building”, etc. that you have been doing all along, only now rigidly structured and not as fun. The game also has a nasty habit of throwing insane numbers of enemies at you late in the story, and it definitely stops being fun at a certain point. The AI is also completely moronic and just ignores you killing people and running up buildings for the most part. It is nice to not be hounded by cops, but really silly.
Graphics & Sound
The sound is similarly just okay. The music and sound effects and voice acting are just not particularly special. They get the job done and don’t annoy you, at least, so that is a step above a lot of other games.