Review

Prototype 2

Abattoir Blues

Prototype 2 is so fixated on violence, it forgets how to do almost everything else.

By Russ Fischer • May 1, 2012

During the indie comics boom of the mid-’80s, small publishers could make easy bucks with knockoffs of popular Marvel and DC characters. Some of these doppelgängers were merely high-profile fan fiction, look-alikes engaged in gory violence that mainstream publishers avoided. Faust, for example, was like Wolverine and Batman with a lot more blood and some seriously messed-up sex. The video game series Prototype doesn’t have the sexlet’s stick to the bodily fluid that passes through the heart, pleasebut it embodies that old exploitative spirit, allowing players to wade hip-deep in viscera spilled by twisted mutations of familiar superhero powers.

Prototype, released in 2009, was an open-world game in which the shape-shifting, supervirus-infected protagonist Alex Mercer wasn’t bound by the morality code of licensed hero characters. Mercer could juice his health by consuming anyone, enemy or bystander. Batman may be a kook, but he doesn’t use pedestrians as Happy Meals. Prototype 2 admits Mercer’s moral turpitude by casting him as the villain—yet the new hero, a psych-damaged soldier named James Heller, engages in the same unrestrained people-eating. Whoa, what ironic potential in that protagonist/antagonist reversal! Prototype 2 could not care less, not when there are limbs to sever. 

Prototype 2

Prototype 2 seeks to refine the violence and movement of the first game, and in that respect, it is largely a success. Heller can do all the stuff Mercer could do and more. He can manifest claws and blades, with which humans and mutated grotesqueries are rent into chunks. He has a new, admittedly impressive ability to manifest gooey tendrils that bind and quarter victims. Other characters can once again be consumed for a health boost, and to appropriate that person’s form. Small ability tweaks and mutations are regularly unlocked, though some require registration with the developer’s own online service, RADnet—a scheme by which Radical can cut out parts of the experience for those who buy the game used. This sequel adds a hunting ability, as Heller emits a sonar-like ping to track down distant targets. It’s a nifty trick, though a side effect of the ability—allowing Heller to see what targets are most vulnerable at any given time—ultimately makes sneak missions far too easy. 

The controls have been smoothed, and while targeting enemies still can be wonky, navigating the city is a breeze. Setting aside a new tendency to take control of the camera to point out story beats and mission goals, often mid-battle, Prototype 2 is a well-behaved beast happy to do as it is told. Heller moves with great fluidity, and the dance of combat doesn’t require complex control combos to pull off. While the violence is generally uninspired—a mashup of extra-violent comic book character ideas, similar to the action movie trope stew of Just Cause 2—it is quite polished, and the single-mindedness of the destructive vision can be arresting. Still, the joy of other super-powered sandbox games is barely in evidence.

Prototype 2

The story is anything but polished. Heller moves through a pale reflection of New York City, and the bland urban character undermines the pleasure of exploration. Heller’s screed of revenge and conspiracy is garbage, full of angst and cliché, no more engaged in theme or metaphor than it is in the irony of a former hero cast as evil. The script suffers from an egregious reliance on the word “fuck,” even in static character-upgrade screens. At moments that vulgar reliance almost suggests comedy. Being generous, perhaps it fails in that respect because the writers tried to be subtle. Since there is no other example of subtlety in the game, however, that’s an unlikely theory.

The mission development is just as stunted as the story. Dozens of times, for example, Heller will take a military commander’s form to sneak into a highly guarded base—just as in Prototype (and as in Shiny’s decade-old Messiah, which deserves a nod). Impressively liquid as it may be, the combat eventually falls into the same perfunctory routine that plagues the story and mission structure. It is big and bloody and gooey, but not only does it fail to go beyond that, it doesn’t go much beyond what was achieved in the original game. As an exercise in exploitation, Prototype 2 caters to players who like shredding and blowing up stuff, to the exclusion of everyone else.

Prototype 2
Developer: Radical
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Price: $60
Rating: M

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773 Responses to “Abattoir Blues”

  1. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    I am not surprised.  My brief experience with the first game was pretty dull and unlikeable, except for the joy of random mayhem.  For a sandbox superpowered hero game, I hear InFamous 1 and 2 and Arkham City are far better choices.

    • RidleyFGJ says:

      The first inFamous is not a better game than the first Prototype, but that’s not really much of putdown for the former as it is a revelation that both were quite mediocre for their own reasons.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         inFamous has a black vs white moral choice system.

        • RidleyFGJ says:

          “Do I pick the poster that bathes me in white light or the one that bathes me in red light and does nothing to hide the fact that I look like a Neo Nazi skinhead?”

    • dreadguacamole says:

        I actually had a lot more fun with Prototype than on Infamous, but I wouldn’t defend it as any more than a mediocre game with some fun bits.
       As I mentioned in some other article, it let me careen down busy streets at supersonic speed batting aside bystanders and cars alike, so I can’t really hate on it.
       
       …This sequel got rid of that.

    • 3FistedHumdinger says:

       I found both equally unlikeable.

    • jessec829 says:

      I enjoyed the first Prototype well enough (though I never finished it), but I lost interest in InFamous pretty quickly. Make of that what you will.

  2. RidleyFGJ says:

    Activision has done a pretty good job of spending the least amount of effort in letting people know that this game has come out. Granted, it may not seem like it’s worth the effort as Radical Entertainment is all but assured to be closed down by the end of the year here, but Activision isn’t doing a lot to dissuade the perception of them being the Call of Duty Company (With a Sprinkling of Skylanders on the Side).

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Man, that’s harsh; All the best to the folks at Radical.
       And Fuck Activision.

      • RidleyFGJ says:

        It’s not something that they’ve announced yet, but given that they already laid off half the company after Sony killed the Spider-Man 4 film and Activision’s tendency to drop dead weight once they have a clear idea of where sales are going for their non-CoD franchises, it’s only a matter of time.

        If only they had the fortune (misfortune?) of being a FPS developer like Raven Software.

  3. doyourealize says:

    I think I’ll skip on this one.  I tried the first game when it came out, and wasn’t too thrilled with it, especially in the shadow of the far superior inFamous.  Prototype was some fun at the start, but just became repetitive after not too long.  Besides that, the city in Prototype lacked any character, again made more noticeable by the almost simultaneous release of inFamous.  The buildings Mercer could climb just seemed like verticle sheets of paper with drawings on them.  Whereas Prototype used the city more as an obstacle course to unfold, inFamous had a city you could interact with.  I guess I’d give Prototype 2 a try if it seemed like they tried to improve this, but I don’t remember playing the first game and thinking, “This could really use a lot more blood, and then it’d be perfect.”

  4. HobbesMkii says:

    Totally ignoring the rest of this review (I read it, but I also played Prototype and lost interest about one chapter in), but videogames and sex: not so hot (wink wink) at it, huh? And it seems like even if they were to throw some hot pixel-on-pixel action into a game, they couldn’t rise above the level of soft-core porn.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Yeah, I’m still cringing from the mass effect sexytime specials…
       The Witcher 2 does it as well as could be expected; the scenes with Vess are still very skinemax-y (and also very uncanny Valley-esque), but at least the characters’ relationship is well-defined enough to also make them come across as kind of sweet.

    • Chip Dipson says:

      The words “sex” and “video games” goes together about as well as the words “celebration” and “Arby’s”

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        It’s really a two-fold failure for the medium.  Even the best video game writing still handles sex and relationships two full grade levels below the rest of the story.
         And despite how sophisticated character models are getting… whenever I watch video games through my wife’s eyes, and look at my character jumping as he has a thousand times before, but really notice how the animation is the same regardless of height, direction, or surface -resulting in a stilted, marionette dance… applying that principle to the much more delicate art of lovemaking.
         To sum up; two words:  Collision Detection.

      • trilobiter says:

        I tried thinking of counter examples to the assertion that sex is always written poorly compared to the rest of the story.  The only thing that comes to mind is the teen pregnancy subplot in Final Fantasy VI.  SNES RPGs weren’t exactly Pulitzer-worthy texts, but I’m still impressed with how naturally it fit into the rest of the story, and how it was handled maturely.  The flashback scene of how Terra’s parents met also implies sex in a way that is appropriate and mature.

        Not showing the actual sprite-humping probably had a lot to do with that.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        “Catherine” handled sex rather well, I think.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          I’ve heard that. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Catherine come to think of it. But could you expand on this?

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          @HobbesMkii:disqus : Well, without giving too much away (and I guess there are plenty of ways to read into what is revealed), the game wraps around a series of nightmares in which you must find a way to scale a tower of blocks before you plummet to your death and are consumed by your fears of commitment, children, etc. There’s a guilt-riddled affair, a lot of drinking and dishing about relationships, and while I don’t remember there being any animated sex, it handles the adult stuff that remains rather fairly and maturely — and that’s for a game in which dream-people appear as sheep and devils speak to you in rocket-propelled confessionals.
          It’s well worth checking out, and although there’s a “morality” system that determines the sort of ending you get, the choices aren’t B&W (by which I mean BioWare).

        • dreadguacamole says:

           It’s a horror game about sex that has no sex scenes and no nudity (at least up to the point where I got to) where the horror is based around things like fear of commitment, intimacy, guilt, and infidelity. It also uses mundane settings and situations very often and very well, and strikes a fairly tongue-in-cheek tone.
           The game itself, however, as in the puzzle segments you must finish to advance the story, I found completely horrible and often extremely frustrating. It also suffers from an excess of Nolan North, wonky anime-isms and an art style I didn’t like at all for the animated segments.
           It really is well worth checking out, and a great call. I wish I’d clicked with the gameplay.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Yeah, I’ve read and participated in a lot of discussions about sex in videogames, and it usually results in most of the parties shaking their heads in embarrassment. Having not played Mass Effect (I know, I know, I’m sorry) I can only go on what I’ve heard, that the actual choreography is not really that great. I haven’t heard very many people talking about whether it’s important to the story or characters or themes, or whether it’s just gratuitous, but hey.

      Only two examples come to mind of sex being used well in videogames, and in one of them it might have just been my imagination. In Final Fantasy VII, Disc 3, before you’re about to head into the Northern Crater, Cloud sends everybody home to be with their loved ones and think about what comes next. Cloud and Tifa stay behind, because their home is a corporate shadow-play of its former self, and have a couple of nice moments and a fade to black. The next morning, when Tifa realizes that everybody on the ship “saw everything” or whatever, she freaks out and falls to her knees in embarrassment. I always interpreted this as being Cloud and Tifa consummating their relationship/friendship on the night before the end of the world. (@trilobiter:disqus listed a really great example from FFVI as well)

      The other example? Katawa Shoujo. I mean, the actual sexy stuff is not really sexy most of the time (although I get the feeling they were actually shooting for it to be), but in almost every case the sex progresses the story and the relationships of the characters in a way that feels natural and real. Plus, in each of the five scenarios, the way the intimate scenes play out teach you a lot about not only each of the five girls, but about the protagonist as well. If you can stomach japanese flavoured visual novels, Katawa Shoujo is actually a treat.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         Mass Effect (1 & 2, haven’t played 3) suffered from having sex scenes that seemed to come as a “reward” for having done a bunch of relationship building tasks throughout the rest of the games. So you’d get to romance the object of your desire three or four times, with it going nowhere, and when the time was right, the game would pat you on the back and say, “here you go. Here’s what is almost nearly a shot of our characters naked. Wasn’t that worthwhile? Ooo, Miranda has balloons on her chest. And she’s voiced by the woman from ‘Chuck.'”

        • Effigy_Power says:

           ME relationships really did seem to treat sex as a reward. “Do this right and you get to bang Jack right before the suicide mission you’ll likely survive.”
          Dragon Age did the whole relationship thing better, not perfect, but better. Relationships grew over a certain amount of emotional plot-points that could be rewarded with sex, but didn’t have to. Dragon Age 2 even had a character (Sebastian Vael) with who sex wasn’t an option, but an emotional, loving relationship with feelings and shit.
          The stigma overall is however that videogames are for kids and teenagers and in North America at least, sex no for kiddies.

        • HobbesMkii says:

           @Effigy_Power:disqus The best part of BioWare’s sex scenes are all the controversy outside the game they cause. Mass Effect had that right-wing Christian guy who denounced the games for featuring sodomy (which, ironically, was actually missing gay characters) and bestiality (I guess that’s what you call having sex with an alien?). Then Dragon Age 2 had the writer totally smack down that one forum poster who went “there’s too much gay sex in my DA2.”

          Actually watching them is just cringe-worthy.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Yeah, I never take part in comments…
          -universe collapses into itself-

        • Aaron Riccio says:

          It’s the same with “The Witcher,” although at least they handle their sex (or at least try to) with slightly more finesse (and a lot more nudity).

  5. Raging Bear says:

    I wondered if I should’ve held off on ally my Prototype 2-related ramblings of the last week in case there was an actual review. Still, no need to restate my points, as they’re pretty much in 100% agreement with the review.

    Seriously, no one likes a good blue streak as much as I do, but there should be at least some sign that you know how “fuck” is used in reality. By the time Heller has an insane tantrum when trying to log on to a computer where he screams “fuck” about 8 times, you really have to wonder.

    Speaking of that scene, he had just eaten (and thereby, allegedly, gained all the knowledge and memories) of the scientist whose computer it is. Yet he can’t figure out how to log on. That seems to happen in a lot of cut scenes. Internal logic is apparently something that happens to other people.

      • HobbesMkii says:

         If you listen to the audio commentary, David Simon fucking loves that scene.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      I had a few of those rants in mind as I played through it this weekend. All those mustache – twirling scientists and rent-a-soldiers…

      • Raging Bear says:

        Oh my god, exactly. “But sir, these are innocent civilians!” “I don’t give a fuck, soldier! Our fucking orders are to shoot every fucking civilian we see! If they beg for their lives, aim for the fucking crotch!! BWAAAA-HA-HAAAA!!”

    • caspiancomic says:

       I’m glad you brought this up, because I’ve watched a couple of video reviews of this game and the profanity use is outrageous. Personally, I like a bit of profanity (and consider myself something of an artist with it in real life) but for some reason I’ve almost never heart the word ‘fuck’ used in a videogame without it sounding really tinny and inappropriate. I feel like every time I’ve heard a game character swear it’s like a kid proving to his friends that he’s a grown-up because he knows the word fuck.

      • Effigy_Power says:

         The problem for me is that the total overuse completely devalues the shock-factor a word like “fuck” is supposed to carry with it. It has seeped into everyday usage to such a degree that I don’t know why the FCC continues to bleep it or even consider it a swear word. It has replaced “very” in most cases.
        I actually prefer using words like “clod”, even if that constantly scores me hipster-hoots.
        It’s a bit like when an old woman says something totally sexual and naughty, but when Betty White does it 300 times in an episode of whatever she’s in right now, it’s meaningless and boring.

        • 3FistedHumdinger says:

           The only excessive use of ‘fuck’ I’ve ever encountered in a game where it wasn’t just bad writing is in the Dead Space games when you click on the stomp button 10 times in a row.  It was especially funny in the first game since he never talks, otherwise.

    • RussFischer says:

      It comes down to a simple thing for me: use the word like you mean it. The Big Lebowski, for example, may feel like it is just throwing the word out there, but there is really a deliberate usage going on. The Coens could have chosen any word to use, and they specifically chose ‘fuck.’

      Prototype 2 never convinced me that the word was really chosen. It’s just there, for… some reason. In fact, at times it is very much like the way the word is used in real life, but the game isn’t real life. Everything else in the game is a deliberate, specific construct. When the words aren’t, I find the experience very jarring. (I had this same issue with the film Hobo With a Shotgun.)

  6. Raging Bear says:

    As long as I’m here, I’ll throw out a broader question Prototype 2 forces me to think about: is it wrong to expect competence in the story department? I mean, how bad does the story and its writing have to be before it’s no longer acceptable?

    It’s a bit like the old popcorn movie argument: sure, the story’s crap, but we’re here for the spectacle, so it doesn’t matter. I’m finding that terrible stories in games bother me more and more. It’s probably a number of factors. If a movie’s bad, you can either walk out, or enjoy the stunts; either way, it’s probably no more than 2-ish hours of your life. Same with a TV show. If a book (nothing BUT writing) is bad, you simply stop reading.

    So maybe it’s that, with a game, you’re there mainly for the gameplay, and possibly to a lesser degree, visuals, music, online components, etc. So if one part of that is awful, you’re dragged through it for the sake of experiencing the rest of the package.

    So, is it unreasonable to be (as I, at least, am) really, extremely upset when one part of that package is of such drastic low quality that I wouldn’t touch it with a mile-long pole if I didn’t happen to also like the simulation of leaping over tall buildings it’s attached to?

    • HobbesMkii says:

      Story in videogames is like someone playing the bass in rock music: Do it poorly and everyone can tell. Do it right and nobody can.

      • RidleyFGJ says:

        This might be my new favorite analogy.

      • dreadguacamole says:

         I disagree; games with really good writing are recognized for it. It’s just that almost all “good” writing in games is actually “just ok”, or “good for a game”.
         People have extremely low standards for stories in games.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          I don’t feel like I’m asking too much from my video game writing.  I’d be overjoyed with “Attack the Block” or “Cabin in the Woods”.
             Sadly, most all we seem to get is “Battleship”.

        • caspiancomic says:

           Actually I think @HobbesMkii:disqus made a comment even more enlightened than it seems- and it seems pretty enlightened right off the bat. The idea is that something that is bad is usually obviously bad, but that there are different ways to be good. Sometimes something is obviously good: the writing in Mass Effect is considered by many people to be Good Writing, with capital letters and everything. But a lot of the time true greatness is not obvious.

          On Savile Row the tailors say that if you make a client a new suit, and people can tell it’s new, you’ve failed in your duties as a tailor- the perfect new suit should look like something you’ve owned your entire life. Great music can be obviously, distractingly great (Nobuo Uematsu specializes in music of scene-stealing greatness), or it can heighten a scene or create an atmosphere almost without the player even hearing it (think Akira Yamaoka’s atonal screeches and clanks in Silent Hill). The same can be said of stories: Sure, Mass Effect (I really don’t mean to pick on it, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind) has a great story, but think about how involving the story is in Ico without ever drawing attention to itself. The player always feels like the emphasis is on gameplay because cutscenes are few and far between and not even in a real language, but you’re always absorbing this delicate, beautiful story without even noticing it.

          (And @Spacemonkey_Mafia:disqus you just named two of my favourite movies of the last ten years or so, so hats off to your impeccable taste)

        • caspiancomic says:

           Agh, you can tell @HobbesMkii:disqus is a genius because he said in one sentence what I had to write a fucking dissertation to get across.

        • Effigy_Power says:

           Good stories are never recognized during the game. If the story just clicks and makes sense, you can concentrate on other aspects of the game. @HobbesMkii:disqus is totally right. You don’t wonder how the engine in your car works until something makes a funny noise. I don’t think that has something to do with lowered standards, but with the fact that most people are more aware of negative factors than they are of positive ones.

        • dreadguacamole says:

          *sigh*. I now realize he was talking about story specifically,  while I took@Raging_Bear:disqus to be talking about all of its aspects, including characterization and writing. Ignore me, reading comprehension fail…

        • Raging Bear says:

          Not a bit of it; you had it right. If there’s any fail in sight, it’s in the somewhat spastic style of my post which I’ll blame on the a fact that I rushed it out because of being weirdly panicky about the prospect of being caught commenting at work.

          At least in my head, writing and characterization are very much parts of what I’m raging about.

        • HobbesMkii says:

           I think you can’t divorce story from characterization and writing. That said, just because one of those is firing on all cylinders doesn’t mean the story is pulled together. Die Hard has a stupid series of plot events lashed haphazardly together by unbelievable coincidence, but goddamn if John McClane isn’t a great (and well-developed) character.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           @HobbesMkii:disqus That has a very clear analogy in the uncharted games, actually – a few charming characters make up for a whole lot of incredibly bad plotting. Most games don’t even manage that, and instead cover it up with production values, breathless pacing, cheap shocks, or even more bad writing – as if quantity over quality really worked in this case.
           It really is a great analogy, and one I’ll be using for other things, but I don’t think it really applies to games, at least not for myself; then again, I often think I fixate too much on stories and writing in games.

        • I think this thread is genius, but I take umbrage at the suggestion that Die Hard is anything less than a well-made film. I remember someone telling me when I was younger that it was a textbook example of a strongly constructed, great script. I was skeptical. But I watched it while older a couple of years ago, and it’s really well plotted and paced. 
          I’m not the only crazy one with this idea: http://www.screened.com/news/die-hards-a-damn-near-perfect-script-heres-why/2294/

          On one other note, I post on avclub.com as “Now Zoidberg is King”. Anybody know how I can post under that handle here? Is it possible? I don’t really want to merge that account with this one for EVERY site, though. Oh well. 

        • John Teti says:

          @aembler:disqus , the tip at the bottom of last week’s Keyboard Geniuses post may or may not be of use to you:

          http://gameological.com/2012/04/in-defense-of-invisible-walls/

    • Xtracurlyfries says:

      I’m with you. I played Prototype in its entirety, yet was constantly annoyed with the story to the point of wanting to put the game away. It was more a relief than anything else when I completed it.

      Characters just do stuff without cause or consequence, exposition is clumsy when it exists at all. I swear I still have no idea what was supposed to be happening.

      ‘Dragged through’ is exactly right.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       The way I see it is that bad writing is fair game for lambasting if the game insists on force feeding it to you. If the game features a story, characters and cutscenes upon you, then you’re absolutely right in expecting those elements to be at least half-way decent.
       I think a big part of the problem is that there’s this perception these days that games need to resemble a blockbuster movie (and even worse, that they need to attempt to tug at your heartsrings, something this game does both poorly and blatantly) in order for them to be any good; so you get games that should be pure arcade experiences marred by stories and dialog that seem to be written by programmers.

      • trilobiter says:

        Exactly this.  A good game doesn’t even necessarily need a story.  If you’re in it for action set pieces and spectacle, games allow you to experience that independent of narrative.  If you’ve got a good narrative, you can do that too, but if you find yourself contriving a bad story just because you think you need one, then you really, really don’t.

        • Girard says:

           Exactly. Complaining about the story in Mario (or, uh , Tetris) is stupid and missing the point. But complaining about the story in something that is obviously trying to involve you in its story by being overtly cinematic, totally makes sense.

        • Xtracurlyfries says:

          True, but Mario wasn’t really trying to tell a complex story or be cinematic. It’s quite content to do it’s thing.

          I only have an issue when a game seems to think it’s well written, but isn’t. The first Prototype fell into that category for me. If it’s just supposed to be about fighting and stress relief for the gamer, that’s fine, but then don’t give me (seemingly) hours of mopey exposition about the dude’s sister that I could care less about.

    • Merve says:

      For me, it depends on the extent to which story and gameplay are integrated. If the story is delivered mainly through cutscenes, then it’s easy to ignore if it’s bad; the cutscenes can treated as the downtime between the fun, shooty bits. If the story is delivered through gameplay (à la Half-Life 2), then it’s almost impossible to ignore the story.

      Honestly, I can’t recall many video game stories that are flat-out bad. I can recall lots that falter at some point, but none had that had me thinking, ‘Wow, this is terrible’ all the way through. (Well, with the exception of Far Cry, I guess, but I never finished that game.)

      • HobbesMkii says:

         I think Alan Wake might be the high point I have for story-telling in games. It managed to make story an interesting dynamic in the game itself by having the manuscript page scavenger hunt, some of which explained backstory and some of which gave a shrouded heads-up about future events (so that when you got to them, you went “ohhhh, that’s what that page was describing”). Plus, it was meta. Can’t beat that.

    • ToddG says:

      I don’t think a good story is necessary at all for a good game.  For example, Bayonetta was my favorite game of 2010, and I skipped literally every cutscene after like the 25% mark.  Not that I won’t laud games for good storytelling when applicable, but I will rarely hold bad storytelling against a game unless it is obnoxious or intrusive.

      • Aaron Riccio says:

        Bayonetta didn’t have a bad story, though. It had a *nonsense* story. I’ve no problem with a game that’s so up front about its ludicrous premise that it can focus entirely on chaining combos and the like (Shadows of the Damned! Fuck yeah!). And while it’s true that you can skip the cut-scenes of most truly cringe-worthy games if the gameplay is that stellar, the truth is that so many games are clones of one another that they often *need* the story to set themselves apart. (Mirror’s Edge, for instance, had a story that didn’t matter: nothing else was like it.)

        Can’t a guy just be psyched about Lollipop Chainsaw?

        • dreadguacamole says:

          Hard not to be psyched about Lollipop Chainsaw when you know James Gunn is writing the script for it : )

  7. stakkalee says:

    I don’t have much to say about Prototype 2 (I played the first one and was mildly amused for an hour or so) but I do want say kudos for the Nick Cave callout in the title – an awesome, awesome song from an excellent musician.

  8. Mookalakai says:

    You guys are being really harsh on Prototype. Think of it less as a game with a story, and more as a stress relief mechanism. Yes the story makes less sense the more it unfolds, but I’ll be damned if there’s a game that lets you sweep through the streets in more of a violent rage than Prototype. Admittedly, Prototype 2 is basically the same as the first one, and there isn’t much reason to play both.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      If all Prototype was consisted of sandbox-style slashing, fine. But every game that insists on telling a story in order to advance why we are playing it and more importantly wants us to empathize with the protagonist (a word here used in the loosest sense) needs to give us something to work with. Bejeweled works without a story. Prototype could have, but fearured a poor excuse for one. I think that’s what people are unhappy about and I have to agree.

      • Mookalakai says:

         Maybe I just have low standards for what constitutes a video game story, but I find the story passable. I think the evil guys are absolutely ridiculous, but there are some interesting, albeit poorly executed ideas in the story in Prototype.

    • 3FistedHumdinger says:

       The problem with these types of games is that often, you’re hamstrung from actually using the full effects of your powers and exploration.  I’ve not played too much of Prototype, but this was certainly the case in inFamous, where you only fully have all the available powers and free reign of the city maybe 2 missions from the end of the game.

      Grand Theft Auto, while not fully exempt from this, nevertheless USUALLY gave you quite a bit of stuff to play with starting out, and didn’t force you into too many missions to unlock more of the world.

      It’s a bit of a balancing act, and one that I personally think most sandbox games fuck up more often than not.

      • Mookalakai says:

         Prototype is actually an enormous tease in this regard, because you have access to all your powers in the first mission, but don’t regain access them again until near the end of the game.

    • it’s a spiritual successor to Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. i picked up the first one, got out some rage, and never picked it up again

    • Afghamistam says:

      Prototype would have been a lot stronger as an experience if it had made me care about completing a given level.

      Contrast to say… Final Fantasy 7, which was just about using up all of my patience until Sephiroth did The Deed. Then I wouldn’t rest until I had made that bastard pay.

      Almost every game I’ve played from that point has prompted the subconscious question: Does this game have an Aeris Dies moment?

  9. OhHaiMark says:

    I disliked Prototype but my interest was piqued when I heard that the protagonist from the first game was the villain in this one.  I thought that there was some serious potential to explore what the mayhem you had caused had done to someone else.  Oh well.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Ad hoc comments section Inventory: franchises where the first game’s protagonist is the sequel’s antagonist? Drakengard? Megaman Zero? Suikoden III, kind of?

      • Effigy_Power says:

         The Disciples series, I believe, features a “Damien” style kid as a “protagonist” in one version, then as the world-threatening villain in the next.
        But since it’s a game that allows several factions, it might not be as poignant.

      • dreadguacamole says:

        Diablo, kind of (hell, it’s a running theme at Blizzard)

  10. HULK: ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION is this game