It seems like open-world games are the order of the day at the moment. Regardless of the actual genre, since about the arrival of the current generation of consoles, there has been a steady increase in games which say, “Here’s your character, here’s a big world to play in, have fun!”
Less than a month ago we had inFamous, a highly anticipated open-world action game for the PS3, and now we have Prototype for the PS3 and Xbox 360. In Prototype, you play the role of Alex Mercer, a guy who finds himself in a disaster-stricken New York City, pursued by armies for reasons he cannot recall. As if that’s not enough, he discovers that he has a whole repertoire of abilities that are not typically human, including the ability to sprint up the sides of buildings, turn his limbs into different kinds of weapons, like blades and clubs, and “consume” people to absorb their memories and assume their appearance. Determined to find out who has done this to him and why, Alex sets out on a quest for answers and vengeance, and he doesn’t care who gets in his way.
This is where you come in. As with most other open-world games, there is a main quest for Alex to follow, which allows him to find out more about his past and bring justice to those who turned him into a freak, and hundreds of side missions which Alex can complete to beef up his abilities. Alex finds his targets to pursue through the Web of Intrigue, a map which can be viewed through the pause menu, showing how each person whose memories Alex “consumes” is related to the next. Every time you find and consume one person, more targets are revealed, until their memories all fit together like the pieces of one big, cryptic jigsaw puzzle.
You can dive right into the story missions, if you want to, but if you don’t do at least a few side missions every now and then, you’ll find that Alex is a bit lacking in power. Each side mission rewards Alex with Evolution Points, which he can spend to increase his awesome abilities in various ways by, say, increasing his running speed, increasing his damage resistance, or learning new attacks and powers.
Prototype is actually surprisingly good fun. Alex controls well, and his abilities are fun to let loose on enemy soldiers and innocent civilians alike. It’s also tremendous fun to simply run up the side of a building and glide for miles and miles across a huge, open cityscape, especially when you’ve increased your run speed, jumping, and glide abilities to the max. The story is intriguing, and the characters, especially some of the villains, are really cool. The voice acting is great too, but the only slight let-down is that the CG is a bit on the shabby, low-budget-looking side.
If you’re looking for a decent open-ended action game with hours and hours of play value and an interesting story then you definitely want to give Prototype a try.