First Impression: Activision’s ‘Prototype’ Shows It’s Good to Be Bad

prototype-military-smallPlease note this is a review of a M rated game. It is violent, bloody, contains harsh language and is not intended for children by any means. If you’re okay with that, read on.

After playing the first two hours of Prototype on the XBox 360 (also available on the Playstation 3), one thing becomes very apparent. Though you have the option to walk through the game in a stealthy manner with minimal collateral damage, that play method is far from encouraged. Why? Because Prototype makes it way too fun to be the bad guy.

Told in a story similar in style to Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, Prototype starts out with the player taking the role of Alex Mercer as New York City has been taken over by a group of monstrous life forms. As Alex fights his way through these creatures, he is also attacked by the military. Using his superpowers of super strength. Carnage-like claws and transforming tendrils that extend from his body, Alex begins an inner monologue where he explains how what has happened to the city is somehow his fault. Flashback to 18 days prior where NYC hasn’t fallen in to complete bedlam yet and Alex is just discovering his powers.

While being given specific target locations and characters he must encounter, there is no real penalty (other than the damage left on your soul) for just being a ruthless, uncaring killer. Even the game’s method of health regeneration encourages the murder of innocents. One of Alex’s ability is to grab and “absorb” a person near him to regain health. These absorptions come in the form of brutal Mortal Kombat style fatalities. Even the game’s XBox 360 Achievements lend themselves to the most brutal style possible such as “Endless Hunger” which awards the player for absorbing 200 victims and “The Butcher” which is given to a player able to kill 50 people in 5 seconds.

So what makes this game so fun? Maybe it’s because people have become so used to playing the role of the hero for so long that it’s intriguing to spend some time on the dark side. Maybe everyone needs a release from their frustrations and they feel the need to annihilate people with reckless abandon. Whatever it is, this game is the perfect form of any anger management as it allows the player to just let loose on an unexpecting and poorly defended city.

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Unlike games like Grand Theft Auto 4‘s police force that can take forever to lose, the military in this game can often be killed off quickly (in an entertainingly brutal manner) or fooled when the player gets out of there sight for one moment and changes form in to one of the victims they had previously absorbed. And then, just for the fun of it, the player can have Alex restart his rampage on the still fleeing horde of civilians. Something about the way people run panicked and don’t do a good job of avoiding your reign of terror ends up making you want to take them out even more.

So far it has been an extremely entertaining game with a story that might not be the most sophisticated but still has the player hooked in enough to want to progress the story in between their relentless assault on the innocent. At the very least, a rental is encouraged if you are on the fence about this game.

But if you like an open world super”hero” style game that combines the best combat and exploration styles from games like Spider-Man: Web of Shadows and The Incredible Hulk and have felt the desire to play on the side of the bad guys, this game is definitely for you. I’d have more to say but I have the urge to continue destroying a city.

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