Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Review: Prototype

It is totally rad.
If you don't enjoy fun then I suppose you might not like this game, but anyone that does should have a darling time with this little gem.

I will admit that the graphics aren't as great as some of the other big name titles but I've found you'll quickly stop caring the instant you power slam someone into a tank. But hang on, the lack of great detail actually seems to serve a purpose... Now they could have made a pretty game where you can see the sweat running off peoples faces or they could have had the most amazing draw distance I've ever seen in a game. It is charming to stand on top of one of the many tall landmarks of Manhattan and watch as people flee a zombie horde... then elbow drop one of them for kicks.

This brings me to another point, this game is bloody... like.. really bloody. You can take a clean street and in five seconds make it look like an accident in a soup kitchen. There is something deeply satisfying when you push peoples heads into their chests, and so far it hasn't gotten old.

The pacing and free world gameplay work well together, while your incredibly powerful some enemies can still give you some serious trouble so it never feels like a smooth ride down easy street.

Now onto the bit you've no doubt been dieing to know about.


The story could really use help. There's nothing... terribly wrong with it... it just feels like it's their to move the game along rather then an extension to the experience. The odd plot hole opens up towards the end of the game but unfortunately Alex is portrayed as a rather unlikeable person. I did try to play the game as a good guy and within five minutes I had accidentally jumped off of someones back onto a building... They were very dead from that. The problem dear reader is that Alex is hooked on this idea of revenge for what has been done to him but throughout I could only ask "Why is he so mad?", its a sign of poor storytelling if your audience doesn't 'get' your main characters motivation.

Basically Alex begins the game with no memories and gets shot by some bad people, and while I imagine that hurt his feelings it doesn't seem like a very likely catalyst for his psychopathic tendencies. Now if you've played the game you'll probably play the "They turned him into a monster" card but I call bullshit on that. How can he be sad hes no longer human if he cant remember what its like? See this is what happens when you give motivation to people with amnesia, it just doesn't make sense. If you however retort "perhaps he remembers what it felt like" I'd say shut up, we don't know if he did because that's never explored in his story and is probably something they should have mentioned.

I believe what they did wrong (Other then not hiring a proper writer... yeah I went there) is that they tried to have their cake and eat it too. I can see where they were going with Alex, he's badass so lets make him angry and badass, but unfortunately a character like Alex needs tragedy to balance out his badass nature... else whats the point in caring about him?

I mean if you go around sort of eating innocent people you can only really get away with one of two things:

A) You are mental

B) You are detached from a world that hates you and the terrible hunger that rests within you must be satisfied... If you die how will you get your answers?

It seems they may have thought about doing B but ended up doing A instead, you never really feel the loss that Alex should feel so he comes off more crazy then sympathetic. The real tragedy is they could have done this if they had just made the cut scenes a little longer, but they may have felt doing so would interfere with the fast paced nature of the game.

I will say however that the web of intrigue thing, where you eat certain people to gain their memories and learn more about the back story and whats going on was done really well. The flash of information and the art style was very good and there a joy to watch.
Well dear reader we've come to what I'm gonna do next. You see sometimes when I'm watching a film or playing a game I sort of make my own story or expand on the one in front of me (In some cases if the story is very bad I might fully go into dreamland). I've decided to start writing these up. I'm gonna do this with prototypes story and I don't think I'll change much... as I said there's nothing really wrong with it, I just feel it could use some expanding. You may feel this is perhaps a little bit of a dick move towards the original writers, but I do this for fun, its just something I do, I like to experiment with other peoples ideas and explore them in ways I want to.
Besides some people can't write for shit anyway.

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