Prototype Review

If I simply tell you the story behind Prototype, you may just write it off before I get much further. Go ahead and read this next line in your best announcer's voice, but be sure to stick around afterwards:

In a world in which a corporate-engineered virus is turning everyone into zombies, a lone amnesiac with a growing array of powers fights to regain his memory and find who is responsible for his transformation, while trying to avoid capture by the military and death at the hands of the zombie hordes.

Yes, it's an amalgamation of typical videogame story elements used to explain why it's your character against the world in the game, but don't let that stop you from giving the game a look. It has its share of issues that extend beyond the storyline, but there are enough interesting elements to it that make it worth a look if you're into action games.

The game takes place in an open-world environment set in Manhattan. You can go wherever you want, and take on story missions, side missions, and challenges at your discretion, filling the time in between with exploration and a little random mayhem. The thing that makes this open-world interesting is that your powers make you basically a superhero, so roaming Manhattan by running at high speeds down its streets, scaling the walls of its concrete canyons, and gliding from one skyscraper to the next gives the game a Spider-man feel to it. Well, a more accurate description would be a Spider-man meets the Hulk vibe as most of your powers are destructive in nature.

As you complete missions you'll earn points that can be spent to improve your existing abilities or to gain new ones. There are plenty of abilities available in the game, and as you become stronger you'll unlock access to even more powerful ones. The variety and power of these abilities are almost addicting, and with the completion of each mission you'll be like a kid in a candy store when you visit the upgrade screens and once you select your new ability you'll want to go out and use it right away.

Once you've collect a few upgrades you'll be a force to be reckoned with. You'll be able to do things like crush tanks with a powerful elbow slam or unleash an energy into the ground that will pop up to strike multiple enemies around you. So how do your enemies stand a chance? Well, they actually stand a pretty good chance because they have numbers on their side and for all your offensive power you're pretty susceptible to damage. Some missions are downright frustrating because you'll be faced with legions of soldiers along with tanks and helicopters for support or you'll be gang-mobbed by powerful hulking mutants. When these mob attacks occur, and they do occur frequently, you'll be faced with numerous deaths and reloads simply because it's too hard to manage all of the targets gunning for you. You'll need to do a lot of running, dodging, and, if you can manage it, hiding during a fight if you're to have any hope of surviving it, and while you're doing all of that running it can be difficult to line yourself up to make an attack when the opportunity presents itself. The game gives you an opportunity to restore health during a fight by grabbing an enemy (or a misfortunate bystander) and sucking the life force out of him, but the grab mechanism is a little unreliable in the chaos of a full-blown melee.