|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Radical Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 9, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Maria Montoro
May 21, 2009 - You thought you had it all figured out for this year: God of War 3, BioShock 2, Assassin's Creed 2, and even Red Steel 2. But, you know, they're all sequels! Isn't it time for a sweet and uber-awesome original title? Don't you want to encourage developers' creativity by giving new games a chance?
Just a couple of days ago, we got the opportunity to visit Sin City and check out both Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Prototype at the New York New York Hotel and Casino. It was, without doubt, a worthwhile experience, especially considering these games are headed in the right direction. I'm already convinced that Prototype will be a strong candidate for game of the year, as it seems to contain every necessary ingredient for a great action / adventure title.
The backdrop of the game is a somewhat familiar story - a guy, Alex Mercer, wakes up from a deathly sleep at the morgue in New York City. He runs out as fast as he can, only to realize he's lost his memories and can't figure out why the heck he's able to run so fast, or jump so high, or wait grab vehicles and throw them at people, turn his hands into extremely destructive spikes that perforate the ground, or slash citizens into ten or twenty pieces as he goes.
The action turns into a rampage right from the get-go. You'll learn that with just the push of a button, Alex Mercer can pretty much harm any enemy on his way, whether it's one (or many) of those hostile army dudes or the pinkish, vicious mutants that keep jumping at him when he reaches certain areas of the city. Is a tank shooting at you? No problem! Smash it, Hulk-style, and you're onto the next thing. Oh, no! A helicopter! No problem. Just a quick jump and a smash, and the thing's demolished.
That's how fast-paced the action is in Prototype. Of course, after this brief but very juicy (as in bloody) introduction, the game takes you back in time 18 days, just so you can see how it all started and why we're where we're at right now. It turns out there must have been some government conspiracy, possibly related to dangerous biological experiments taking place underground. Mercer still can't figure out what happened, but little by little, he'll start to make connections that will get him to the truth.
As we advanced through the game, we learnt a few new techniques. Sometimes one needs to be stealthy in order to get to certain areas and obtain sensitive information that would be impossible to obtain otherwise. A meter onscreen shows if you're keeping a low profile or if, on the contrary, the soldiers are looking for you. We also found out that Alex can silently attack enemies, consume their biological matter, and then use their former appearance as a new disguise. You certainly couldn't expect less from a shape-shifter! Changing disguises helps to keep you cloaked in areas where things could get tricky, and you can even take advantage of your new look and jump into a tank or pilot a helicopter. This won't always work out, as it's almost impossible to keep a low profile when it's so easy to just push people around, destroy anything your way, and ultimately cause mayhem wherever you go. However, players will be rewarded depending on their actions.
The basic structure of the game consists in completing missions in order to acquire forgotten memories and Evolution Points (EP) that you can then use to level up the protagonist. Numerous powers will become available in order to strengthen his attacks, protect him from damage, making him run faster, jump higher, and much more. The goal is to tailor Alex to your liking and turn him into your ideal superhero, although some of the upgrades are required in order to take on certain missions.
I left the best for last. Alex can climb buildings too. Simply hold the right trigger and you'll be on your way to the top. This button can be used for sprinting as well. But, back to building-climbing; if you ever dreamed of going to the top of the Empire State building, this is your chance! The beautiful and ultra-realistic environments of New York are completely at your disposal in this game. Whenever you choose to do so, you can just free-roam around the city, explore the surroundings, and enjoy beautiful views from the top. You'll feel like Spider-Man or Superman, only deadlier.
Prototype can be compared to God of War 3 when it comes to action, Assassin's Creed when it comes to strategy, and even Spider-Man: Web of Shadows when it comes to badass superhero abilities. However, it looks to be a very successful title that can stand on its own. Prototype is an intense adventure game with over-the-top action, a neat storyline, high-quality graphics, and smooth, pick-up-and-play controls. It's definitely one to look for once it reaches store shelves on June 9th. Of course, we'll have a final verdict and score by that time, but get ready because you might find this one to be one of your favorite games of the year.
CCC Site Director