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Thursday, June 25, 2009

First Impressions: Prototype

I don't have much time to write up my full impressions of Prototype. Instead, I'm going to copy some of the e-mails that I sent a friend who's on the fence on whether to buy the game now or wait to borrow my copy. I will quickly say that Prototype is not as good as inFamous. Where inFamous has a lot of polish and care put into it by Sucker Punch, Prototype feels like a rushed title devoid of soul.

You can read more about my feelings towards Prototype after the jump.

Email #1:

Picked up a copy of the game on Friday. The game's okay but it's not inFamous. Graphics are pretty poor and the gameplay has been pretty ho-hum as well. If you ever played any of the Hulk games on the last gen consoles, you'll know how Prototype plays.

The thing that I don't like is the sheer number of upgrades and the controls used to activate/use your powers or the "devastator" attacks. The game is pretty frantic (even on the easy difficulty) and it's pretty hard to not just resort to mad button mashing.

All that aside, I did play quite a bit of the game this past weekend and had a relatively fun time with it. There's something to be said for being indestructible.

Email #2:

I found the controls [for inFamous] to be pretty good. After you play a little while, it will all click. And when it does, you'll be unstoppable. Unfortunatley, playing inFamous may ruin the Prototype experience for you. Prototype is all about running around and smashing stuff - but the graphics and story are pretty disappointing. And the controls are terrible. For example, static thrusters in inFamous require the press of one button while the similar power to glide in Prototype requires a 3 button combo. WTF?!

The other thing I don't like about Prototype is the way that powers are used. Why introduce so many different powers when there just aren't enough buttons to handle everything. For example, there's a power that let's you do a stretchy-armed thing. But if you'd like to really use the power properly, you need to perform a timed two-button combo. These things are hard to do in the heat of battle.

If I had to choose, I would say that inFamous > Crackdown > Prototype. My biggest beef are Prototypes graphics and controls. Another annoying thing is the lack of character model varierty used for the citizens and enemies in Prototype. All military personnel look exactly the same, including personnel not wearing masks. The city itself feels dead when you're jumping from rooftop to rooftop due to the poor drawing distance. For example, when you stand on a building and look down, you'll see a few cars (with no detail, shadow, texture) and no people. Once you jump down, people just pop into view. So last gen...

One other thing about Prototype is that insane difficulty of the trophies/achievements.

Still, I'm sure you'll at least find the game fun for a little while.

Email #3:

As for replayability, Prototype may have more replayability than Crackdown is many ways though Crackdown's style is so much better.

There you have it! I find Prototype to be a game that is fun in small doses. It doesn't really advance the sandbox genre very much. And the game relies quite heavily on the user's desire to explore and destroy as a means of stretching out the gameplay.

One thing I will say is that I'm only 11 missions into the game. I have quite a ways to go. But this is a "First Impressions" post and, so far, I see nothing spectacular about Prototype. I hope that changes though. I hate paying full price for a game only to be disappointed by the gameplay, graphics, and story.

Unfortunately, Prototype will have to wait for at least a week or so. I popped in Prince of Persia last night and got caught up in the game. I'm amazed at how a little polish in terms of graphics, story, and voice acting can make all the difference. So an infected and bloody Manhattan superhero caper will be put on hold while I explore the sands and sights on my way to defeat an ancient evil in Prince of Persia.

Long live the Prince!