Prototype's virtual Manhattan seethes with a veritable wall of humanity
- Incredible sense of power and possibility, beautiful and moody, tons of stuff to do, satisfying story
- Not much difference between different enemy types, some irritatingly drawn-out missions, some sudden jumps in difficulty
I suspect that some people will find their enthusiasm drained more than mine by the shallow enemy gene pool, but even they're bound to get swept away by the myriad pleasures of tearing up town as a ghoulish and preternaturally fleet-footed shape-shifter.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
Choose Your Own Disaster
All those powers let you achieve your objectives using drastically different approaches, and Prototype's best missions take full advantage of that flexibility. Need to infiltrate a base? You can rush around on foot sabotaging defenses then stealth-consume some patrols before quietly snacking on the base commander. Or you can grab and eat your target in full view of his comrades and try to bull your way through the ensuing aftermath. I have to admit that I occasionally got frustrated with a few of the longer missions, particularly one that insisted I sustain the interest of a Hunter with attention deficit disorder while luring him from one end of the city to the other, but the majority were entertaining and varied enough to keep me playing for many hours at a time.
But even after you complete the 31 main missions, there's still plenty left to keep you busy. Web of Intrigue targets unlock hyper-stylized movies that dribble out tantalizing details from this dark alternate universe, and collectible landmark and hint orbs hide all over the place. Tons of side missions challenge you to run through waypoints, slaughter crowds, glide for accuracy, and much more. I spent at least two hours happily hijacking helicopters and annihilating infected base buildings just for the sheer hell of it.
A Potent Pathogen
There were a couple things that got on my nerves, apart from the occasional unheralded spike in difficulty. The first was the surprising lack of monster variety. Sure, there are different species of Hunter and walking wounded, but they don't behave all that differently, and it falls to just a handful of cool boss battles to fill out the mutated zoo. I was also irritated when temporarily robbed of the powers I'd worked to upgrade for a handful of missions, and disappointed that a game that seems to owe a debt to Crackdown doesn't feature a co-op mode.
But the truth is that even talking about these issues feels like nitpicking because I can't wait to go play some more. I suspect that some people will find their enthusiasm drained more than mine by the shallow enemy gene pool, but even they're bound to get swept away by the myriad pleasures of tearing up town as a ghoulish and preternaturally fleet-footed shape-shifter.
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