Prototype
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8.5
7.1
The box art says it all (kinda)

Sorry my review readers (if there are any, hopefully) as I was busy for some months, playing new games basically. I’ve now played enough to start writing a fresh new batch of reviews.

So Prototype, huh? What does this Prototype mean anyway? A new type of game from Activision? Or just the character in the game? Tell you what, let’s find out.

Warning: Spoilers

Now, unlike my previous reviews, I am not going to plot down the story. Reason being, it makes the article huge and in quest to keep readers’ interest alive, I make the actual review short and precise covering only the basics. Secondly, you can read it on Wikipedia anyways. So no story here, just review.

To start off, frankly speaking, I didn’t happen to like the story. I’m not saying it’s bad but the story is not a feature of Prototype that I want to point out. You know what I want to point out though? The concept. God it’s great. Some blokes at Activision were really scratching their minds to make a game so cool, that just wants to make you feel like a badass from within. As the story suggests that Alex died but that nasty virus got into him and converted him into a monster. Oh yeah, tell you what, he is a monster. There are I guess more than 20 unique moves you can perform to slice your enemies. Killing here isn’t the objective and neither is it a survival necessity, slicing guts, dripping blood, consuming flesh, destroying Mother Nature; those are the things Alex wants you to make him do. And things like these make you adhere you to the game.

So there are basically two types of physical appearances Alex can live with. First is obviously Alex himself (who I must say looks an awful lot like young Ezio from Assassin’s Creed II) and the other one is the consumed identity, a.k.a. disguise mode in the game. You can make Alex consume anyone in the entire city (yes, Anyone!) including military guards and commanders. The consumed entity then becomes Alex’s second identity.  Alex gains the physical body of the consumed and his/her mind too (I wonder where he stores so much flesh and brain though)!

When Alex is in the physical appearance of Alex himself, there is a load of stuff he can play with. There are four powers, viz., whiplash, muscle mass, hammerfists and blade (forgive if these are wrong names, I don’t remember the names of the powers exactly). Use the whiplash to tame your enemies from a distance by using long tentacles from your body. Whiplash is highly effective against weak distant enemies like military soldiers. Use the muscle mass to gather all the mass in the arms and gain extreme hand fighting and throwing strength. Musclemass is useful for fighting infected monsters and throwing objects over a large distance. Use hammerfists to turn the hands into some sort of heavy rock-like flesh that is extremely effective against tanks and some small containers. A charged hammerfist blow on the ground also produces shockwaves that knocks out weaker enemies in a close proximity. Using blade power turns the left arm into a very sharp and huge blade that is highly effective against ground units like soldiers and the infected.

Other than the fighting powers, Alex also a couple of other cool stuff. Like he can jump, about a few hundred miles vertically, he can glide, about a few hundred miles horizontally. He can dash while in the air to cover 3 miles instantly (replace miles with meters, will you?). Good thing is that he can jump, sprint and dash while being in the disguised mode too. And then there are special powers with which I am not going to bore you with. The thing in the end is, there are so many powers and combinations, you will finish the entire game trying to figure what’s what.

So how do you play and what’s you opposition? Well, there are basically two types of enemies, the infected and the military. Military uses vast number of soldiers, some tanks a few helicopters to take Alex down. The infected on the other hand have Hunters, big, fast running and surprisingly powerful enemies. Then there are huge tentacles that grow from the ground and attack you, there are Hunter leaders who basically are Hunters, only more powerful, bigger and faster and some other special bosses. You need to choose either mode depending on your task and strategy. Alex cannot use those special powers while being in the disguise mode. To use those blades and hammers, you must in Alex’s normal mode himself. Thing is, since the entire military is looking for Alex, whenever you are in the normal mode, military will detect you and try to kill you. So it’s better to roam around in the disguise mode and attack in the normal mode. Military also uses detectors in later levels that can slowly detect Alex even in disguised mode. You gain EP (Evolution Points, I think) by completing tasks and consuming the infected and the military. You use EPs to upgrade and buy new powers. Alex grows stronger but so does his opposition.

Well, looks like so far so good. Not until now. You see, this game came in 2009; does it ring some bells? Yes, dear readers, Activision was busy refining its best-selling franchise, Call of Duty. When you play this game you get a clear sense that Activision was not bothered, may be they were designing a new gun for the upcoming title, Black Ops. The game is so frustrating and full of bugs, it will steal away all the fun. I don’t know if it’s the same in the stupid consoles, but the PC version has suffered real badly. The graphics aren’t good, the game isn’t optimized, the sounds are rubbish, the controls are sluggish, some tasks are frustrating, the AI is pathetic and there are a lot of other issues. I am telling you, there are so many problems, you just cannot enjoy the cool concept. I don’t ask a game to be neither easy nor hard to play, but this one is just frustratingly hard. I had to consult walkthrough three times while playing the game, three times! I have never had more difficulty playing any game before than I had this. Now I am not joking, later in some missions, there are soldiers called super soldiers – Super Soldiers!!! What the hell does that mean? They are bigger, more powerful and can detect Alex in disguised mode. The military could have used some machine, may be a robot for this stuff would be acceptable, but super soldiers? Activision, really? Apparently the military cannot make out whether it’s Alex or just some military guy jumping and flying around the NYC. The game is filled with crap like this and there are so many other examples, I just don’t have enough space to quote them down. And then I saw the credits of the game after I finished, and they were absolutely excellent. I just wish that the entire game could be as good as its credits.

So, if you remember a question I asked in the starting of the article, what is this Prototype? Is this a new type of game from Activision, or just the character in the game? Tell you what, it’s the game. Activision made a prototype game and that’s where the title of the game comes from (according to me). The game could’ve been so much better and fun for these problems weren’t there. It’s not like Activision couldn’t do it, but they just didn’t bothered enough to make it good. They made Black Ops, my God it was an excellent game but they ruined this one in the quest. Only if they made this game some other time when they weren’t as busy, this could have been it. I like the concept so much, I really hope that the PC version of Prototype 2 copes with shortcoming of poor porting and design oversight of its predecessor.