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Monday, April 25, 2011

Crysis 2 (9.2/10)

Having never owned a PC capable of aiding space shuttles in returning to Earth, I was naturally not able to play the original Crysis. For those of you not in the know, the joke was that the first game needed a veritable super computer to run at max settings. But if you had the rig the results were, at the time, the best anyone had ever seen. I had heard a lot about its amazing graphics, but never actually played the game. When Crysis 2 was announced for consoles I was interested, but not stoked like a great many people… one of whom is a good friend of mine.

This friend, who I’ll allow to remain anonymous, actually had a computer built solely for this game. I played the PS3 version on his TV while he set it up (long story, don't ask) and let's just say I was more than slightly  impressed. "Wow!" thought I, "This looks amazing… maybe God of War 3 or Uncharted 2 can compare, but it’s close!" But then he fired up his new baby, complete with liquid cooling system (that’s right, his comp has a radiator!), and started playing…

Admittedly, I was fairly inebriated by this point in the proceedings, but "Holy crap!" was my slack-jawed response. As good as the console version looks, the PC version is like night and frickin’ day. He may have spent a fair amount on his new tower, but being able to run Crysis 2 on max settings (with ease, I might add) is beyond impressive… in fact, it may be the most impressive graphics I’ve ever seen to date, and that’s saying something!

While I’ve got other things to spend my tax return on than super computers (or even semi-super computers), I dashed out and bought the PS3 version of Crysis 2. I'm happy to say that under all the muscular graphics is some pretty intense semi open-world FPS action makes it a fun game to play as well, and at the end of the day isn't that what's really important?

The real draw to Crysis 2 is the 'Nanosuit.' It's a sort of bio-mechanical armor that can augment the wearer. In short, it puts the "Super" in super-solider. Not only giving you virtually super-human strength and speed, the suit also allows you to temporarily become invisible (as long as it's power gauge lasts; same with sprinting, jumping, or increasing it’s damage resistance… but don’t worry, it recharges pretty fast).

Stealth plays a more important role as you’ll quickly learn, because of the level design. The original Crysis was (apparently) a completely open-world sandbox where you could go anywhere and do anything. Crysis 2 follows a much more linear path, but each individual section is much more open than we have become accustomed to in modern FPS's. There are relatively few instances of "bottlenecks" gumming up the works leading to drawn out firefights. Most of the time there are multiple routes you can take to pick off your enemies one by one or avoid them all together. I'll be really frank here: this level design is some of the best I've played simply because you have options. How you choose to play the game is up to you... I always like it when a game allows you to define your own experience. 

This plays a more important role because the enemies are amongst the smarter I’ve faced... most of the time (when they aren't standing perfectly still, patrolling in predictable patterns, or getting stuck in the environment... but I'll let that go and focus on when they are being a pain in the ass). They can be fiendishly clever, employing flanking tactics and effective retreats. Basically, they make use of the same open environments that you do.

But what I found interesting is that rather than becoming boring, the repeated use of a similar design is thrilling because the levels are massive. There are consistently multiple ways to approach, flank, or outright avoid enemy patrols. There is even a clever ‘Visor’ function that allows you to ‘tag’ certain foes (so you can track them) and helpfully shows where weapon caches can be found. It's almost like the levels themselves are puzzles, but without the puzzles if you see what I mean. It's left to you to find your way through the labyrinth and find the best way to deal with the threats you face. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from planning your route and then executing it perfectly, just as there is an almost manic frustration and consequent cluster&%$@! when everything goes wrong!

As awestruck as I am by the action and graphics, I’m less than overwhelmed by the plot. The weakest link to the Crysis 2 experience is the story… even at the end of the game I still didn't have a really clear picture of what was going on. I think a big part of the problem was simply the fact that I hadn't played the first game, and thus had no frame of reference. Without that, the constant allusions to what happened previously may as well have been in Portuguese. It was almost frustrating, especially considering the promising premise.

As the game begins, New York City has been quarantined due to a viral outbreak, martial law invoked. You play as a marine with the codename (at least I assume it’s a codename) of Alcatraz tasked with extracting someone important from within the cordoned off city. The proverbial shh-tuff hits the fan early on and you are pulled from a watery death by a person wearing hyper-cool body armor. Given the Nanosuit by the doomed man, you’re pretty much tossed into the meat-grinder from the get go. Your contact, the person you were there to rescue in the first place, thinks you are the poor bugger that saved you, and frantically orders you about the greater Manhattan area in an effort to skirt the military and find him. Oh, and to make matters worse there are aliens... lots of aliens called Ceph... who are mean, nasty, and pretty much responsible for everything bad that is happening.

Anyhoo, between trying to avoid the invading Ceph, not-so-friendly military forces (you'd think we'd all be on the same side here against the aliens, wouldn't you?), and the greater part of midtown Manhattan falling down around you, it's really all on Alcatraz to save not only the Big Apple, but the rest of humanity as well. So, no pressure...

Alcatraz reminds me a great deal of Issac Clarke, the similarly silent protagonist from Dead Space. I loved that game too (again, mostly for the gameplay) but Issac was really little more than an errand boy told to "Go here, do that!" ad nauseum, a vessel that moved the plot along rather than the other way around. While I get that Alcatraz is a Marine, and Marines follow orders unquestioningly, it didn't keep me from repeatedly muttering "Why?" to myself as I played. This is partly due to the nature of this type of story telling and partly due to picking it up in the middle of the story. Again, I didn't play the first game, but I'm surprised Crytek didn't make more of an effort to tie the narrative together especially since so many people are just now having the option of playing the series. As it was I was consistently confused and slightly annoyed by this guy shouting in my ear… I’m trying to enjoy the amazing scenery you ass, leave me alone!

Adding a little more depth to the Crysis 2 experience is a mild RPG element of upgrading both your Nanosuit and customizing your weapons. By killing the Ceph you get 'Nano Catalyst's in varying amounts (depending on the strength of the enemy) that serves as currency for purchasing upgrades like stronger armor, more stamina, longer time in stealth mode, or more passive attributes like tracers from rounds making it easier to track your targets. All of these are keyed to your fingers and can quickly be changed as you need them for different situations in battle. Be careful though, checking your "fingers" doesn't pause the action so make sure you're out of the line of fire!

On top of Nanosuit modifications you can also customize your weapons with silencers, different sights, or under barrel attachments like grenade launchers. These options are different depending on the weapon in question and Crysis 2 does a good job of giving you lots of opportunity to experiment with them.

I didn't check out the online multiplayer (frequent readers will know by now that's not my cup of tea), but with the Nanosuit you can imagine the possibilities. From everything I've read it sounds like a riot!

Tossing aside the poorly referenced and overly obscure plot of Crysis 2, the fact that I've still given it such a high score really speaks to just how much fun I had playing the game. I can’t say enough about the graphics, they’re really fantastic and hold a tantalizing glimpse of what the future holds for games in general. The ‘Nanosuit’ is cool, especially the cloaking ability with which I had endless fun sneaking around. The gunplay is fast and frantic when you get caught in the open and the enemies are clever bastards who’ll make you pay for exposing yourself. The game is also a good length compared to most modern shooters; around ten plus hours give or take... much better than the modern trend of six hours or less we see with most FPS campaigns. With a cliffhanger ending promising more to come from this series I can't wait to see what Crytek comes up with next... but I will say if you have the means, as good as the console version is, playing it on a capable PC is definitely the way to go!


Score = 9.2 / 10

Saturday, April 23, 2011

ModNation Racers (7.9/10)

I’ve never been a huge fan of racing games. This probably has something to do with the fact that in real life I am, truth be told, a really crappy driver. But the exception that proves the rule was Nintendo’s classic Mario Kart. Ahhhhhhhh, memories. The nostalgia of that childhood staple has been reborn in ModNation Racers by United Front Games.

ModNation Racers is a sort of hybrid between the plumber friendly, physics defying, weaponized kart racing of Mario Kart and the user-created cornucopia of sharable content popularized by Little Big Planet. Following in the "Create, play, share" footsteps of LBP, ModNation offers similarly impressive creation tools and an easy to use forum to share them with the online community.

Right from the off you enter ModSpot, your central hub or lobby where you can, you guessed it, create (customize your own driver (called mods), vehicles, and tracks), play (both online or off, splitscreen or solo, career mode or random race), and share (download the creations of others to use at your leisure or upload your own to share with the community) or just drive in circles and run into strangers (I can't seem to not run into someone...).

The career mode follows Tag, a lovable graffiti artist turned racer in a classic worst to first cliched story. In a weird way it kinda reminds me Speed Racer. It's a good laugh in parts and the courses are cleverly designed with bonuses for completing certain tasks 'in-race' which basically serve to unlock more customization options. This adds a nice replay element rather than just advancing to the next track.

That said, Tag's tale hits a pretty big pothole about two thirds of the way through the campaign as the AI gets increasingly tough. Actually, scratch that last, annoyingly tough. It's something other reviewers have mentioned and I'm gonna throw my proverbial hat into this ring as well; the problem with weapon-based kart racers is there is always someone who is gonna zap/bomb/missile/cheat his or her way past you when you are just twenty feet from the finish. I don't mind it happening occasionally (hey, that's life...), but when it happens repeatedly you start to feel a bit cheated which makes it more frustrating than fun.

Fortunately, if you get annoyed with the career mode (as I did, can you tell?) you've got plenty of other options. You can join up with others online and race in any number of ways, be it hot lap or just a fun go around. If your friends are, you know, actually in your house, you can play 4-way splitscreen (easily the most fun I've had with the game... that way when someone screws you over you can at least throw something at them!).

As for the actual gameplay itself, it’s fairly standard kart racing which is both tight and responsive. In standard kart racing style you'll be able to drive through 'pods' containing a random weapon (missiles, shock, sonic, boost). However, ModNation distinguishes itself by adding a wrinkle: you can save your weapon and pick up another pod, thereby making it stronger. There are a total of three levels. Maxed out, a single missile becomes a heat seeking barrage; the simple sonic boom becomes a devastating shock wave. But here's the rub, if you get hit by another driver's weapons you lose whatever you were building up and have to start over from scratch, so there is a risk/reward to trying to build up your arsenal.

Now, drifting is easily the most important skill you’ll need to master early on. "Drifting" is when you go around a turn without taking your foot off the gas: deliberately spinning out the back end but maintaining control and coming out of the turn without losing speed. In ModNation, drifting (along with drafting, aerial moves off of jumps, and taking out your opponents) earns 'track points' that build up on a scale that allows you to either boost or create a momentary shield (more on that in a minute). As you race against tougher opposition, be it human or AI, strategic drifting becomes increasingly essential.

That power bar you build up by earning track points can be used in three ways: a temporary speed boost that drains the bar, a powerful sideswipe if you are next to an opponent knocking them silly, or a short lived shield that can protect you from incoming attacks. A word of warning here, there is a proximity alarm that sounds with imminent danger, but you have maybe a second before you'll actually get hit... if you use the shield too early (or don't have enough charge) it will run out before the strike leaving you completely vulnerable. It's all about timing...

Along the same lines as LBP, I love to download the hard work of others for my own personal benefit. I've got Kratos, a Stormtrooper, Mario, Spiderman, and even a remarkably good Alien in my drivers list. It's all right there, just drive around ModSpot and you'll soon see you can download the most popular mods, karts, and tracks. I'm not clever enough to come up with anything really cool, and some of the unique track designs and hilarious (and accurate) karts and mods the community has come up with will be on my hard drive for a while. That's not to say I didn't spend a fair amount of time tinkering around, creating a 'Simon' mod (that actually looks pretty good if I do say so myself) and some funny karts. The creation tools can go as deep as you want, but are surprisingly simply and intuitive once you get in a bit of practice... I found them more user-friendly than LBP for what that's worth. 

But what really impressed me is the track creator. You basically drive a giant steamroller that lays out your track for you, just drive it around as if it were a kart. You can even change elevation. If you loop the track over onto itself it'll automatically build bridges and the like. What's clever though is once you finish the main lay out rather than having to go through it and lay all the boosts, weapon pods, trees, stands, etc, you can just hit an 'Auto-Populate' button and it does it all for you. This means you can create a track from start to finish in less the half and hour depending on how elaborate you want to make it. Personally, I like this streamlined approach. One issue with LBP was the time commitment to not only master the controls, but then create the levels. It took patience... not a trait I'm known for. But with ModNation I can whip up something playable while the kettle's boiling and get right to the racing.

Visually, ModNation is a colorful explosion that, again, depends greatly upon the user for effect. While it’s not overwhelming, it does serve it’s purpose well. The commentary team of the bully Biff Tradwell and his unfortunate partner Gary Reason alternate between being either groan-inducingly awful or surprisingly laugh out load funny. Sadly, outside of the exploits of Tag in career mode their platitudes get recycled pretty early… just like the kitschy music and sound effects.

But far and away the biggest issue with ModNation is one that nearly every reviewer (and fan) has already brought up… the load times. It doesn’t make the game unplayable, but it’s immediately noticeable and will wear on you the more you play… going from one area to another (and even back) takes a fair while… every time. I don’t know if the developers couldn’t help this, or if they just thought no one would mind, but it’s more than a little frustrating.

With over two million pieces of user created content and a fairly die hard fan base, it’s good to see games like ModNation Racers and Little Big Planet have not only garnered a loyal community, but a consistent one as well. I, for one, am thankful for the opportunity given to us gamers by United Front Games to share our own visions with the community. And, as with LBP, a hearty thank you to all those out there who spent a lot of their own time to create such wonderful stuff for me to enjoy in my own house. Mario Kart has always been near and dear to my heart, and I’m happy to say that ModNation Racers now joins it... if, that is, you can handle the load times and frustrating AI…


Score = 7.9 / 10

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gears of War 2 (9.3/10)


"They do not understand. They do not know why we wage this war… why we will fight and fight and fight… until we win, or we die… and we are not dead yet."

These words were uttered by the Locust Queen at the very end of the original Gears of War after Marcus and Dom detonated the Lightmass bomb... the bomb may have decimated the the Locust horde, but it did not destroy them utterly. In the highly anticipated sequel Delta squad fights their way deep underground into the very heart of the Locust empire to find out why...

The second chapter in the Gears of War saga (which now includes both comics, and full length novels which I have yet to pick up but am looking forward to reading) continues chronicling the exploits of Delta squad as they fight along with the rest of humanity against the subterranean menace that are the Locust. Set six months after the successful deployment of the Lightmass bomb, the Locust return seemingly thriving and stronger than ever. Somehow the Locust are sinking entire cities! They are, however, seemingly more desperate in their efforts. So the humans, equally desperate, decide to take the fight to the Locust in a massive counteroffensive aiming to hit them where they live… deep underground in hope of finding their stronghold and cut off the head of the proverbial beast so that the body might die.

There are some truly memorable moments in Gears of War 2. I don’t want to spoil them for you, suffice it to say several of the set pieces are jaw dropping in both scale and function. The narrative takes some interesting (and unexpected) turns (there are several "Huh?" moments and some glaring plot holes), but let's just say it poses as many questions as it answers. The problem is that while several of these scenes merit discussion, I can't even begin to talk about them (both the good bits and the bad) without giving too much away.

This time around the story is much more Dom-centric as we learn more about his search for his missing wife, Maria (careful observers will remember his search being alluded to as he asked around among the Stranded). While it’s certainly poignant, I felt it was a tad overdone. This sort of melodrama adds a lot in the way of character development and motivation but for me it seems out of place in such a bawdy, action-focused game. The analogous ‘summer popcorn flick’ that it is, Gears 2 would have been fine without this emotional, albeit well done, baggage.

The gameplay is essentially the same with the main focus being on third person cover based shooting sequences with the odd vehicle section tossed in. However, there are a few noticeable additions such as: chainsaw battles (if your opponent is also wielding a Lancer), new variations on curb stomps (which are endlessly entertaining and beautifully brutal), the ability to use a wounded Locust as a human shield (which I just found amusing) and heavy weapons (the 'Mulcher' machine gun is well good, but the mortar gun is just frickin’ awesome).

Another addition to Gears 2 that I liked was rather than just searching for nondescript collectible cog tags, this time those collectible items actually have descriptions that help fill out the back story and the Gears of War milieu in general. There are 41 pieces of intel to find including things like the aforementioned cog tags (although now they have an accompanying story about the person which is usually pretty tragic) to a Locust calendar… actually most of the Locust intel is pretty clever as it serves to explain more about the species, right down to their mythology.

Gears of War was a stunning achievement from a graphical standpoint showing off the power of the new generation of consoles and wowing audiences (me included) the world over. The sequel builds upon this foundation with even sharper environments and greater depth. There are still some texture loading issues, but the sheer scope of their creation allows that to be forgiven. The animations are not only more varied this time around, but more fluid and precise as well.

The sound work lives up to the precedent of its predecessor as well, with all the actors returning (gotta love Cole-train, especially his eloquent discourse towards the end of the game… I’ll leave that for you to enjoy;^). The wonderful sound and weapon effects are just as good, as are the hair-rising-on-the-back-of-your-neck aural cues of the Locust. Gotta love those Wretches. My only complaint is that the end song doesn’t have quite the same… panache, as the original.

One thing I found a bit bizarre was in the original Gears of War the final boss fight was quite difficult, yet in the sequel it’s almost like they took that to heart too much, and made the final confrontation almost laughably easy. It’s almost like the developers just couldn’t make up their minds so went completely to the other end of the spectrum.

My biggest joys with Gears of War come from sitting on the couch with a good friend and a couple of beers, chainsawing and curb-stomping Locust to our hearts content. While I don't usually play online multiplayer, I do want to mention the ‘Horde’ mode. This is basically a multiplayer map where you (and a friend) face wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies. It’s a clever addition that serves to lengthen the time you’ll spend playing the game. There’s not much point beyond seeing how long you can survive but it’s a nice distraction and we’ve seen other developers include similar mechanics in their games as well since Gears 2 set the bar.

I’m struggling to score Gears of War 2. In many ways it’s a better game than the original; more well rounded in combat and environments, plenty of new enemies and weapons. In other ways it’s more of the same with probably the best action cover system available and familiar faces and foes. Then there is the story, which for me took a step back. While I appreciate what the good people at Epic were trying to do with Dom’s arc, I felt like it wasn’t… necessary. Trying to inject such drama into what has always been the video game equivalent of a Schwarzenegger film just seems tacky. Don't get me wrong, his search for Maria did affect me, especially the first time I played the game, but subsequent playthroughs have left me wondering if such personal motivations were requisite.

So in the end, I've decided to score Gears of War 2 the same as the original. I love them both equally despite a few flaws. With the third and final chapter on the horizon I’m sure I’ll be playing them both again soon just to get ready! This is, hands down, one for my favorite series. With such a solid foundation I can’t wait to see how the story of Delta squad comes to an end.


Score = 9.3 / 10

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Prototype (7.4/10)

Here’s a link to the freakishly cool Prototype trailer

Well? Good, eh? I though this looked amazing, and was looking forward to playing the game… but sadly, the trailer was as good as it gets. Prototype isn’t a bad game per se, but with such a cool premise it really could, and probably should, have been so much better.

Set in New York City where a mutagenic virus is slowly transforming it and it’s populous into pseudo-monsters (while oddly, not a block away, the good citizens of the Big Apple go about their daily lives… I’ve heard New Yorkers are oblivious to their surroundings but this is ridiculous!), Prototype tells the tale of Alex Mercer.

The story begins, as these stories often do, with a flashback from the above trailer to when Mercer wasn’t such an invincible bad ass. Waking without a memory is enough to ruin anybody’s day, but waking up in the morgue is even worse, especially when the army guys who were guarding your corpse start trying to re-riddle you with more bullets. But rather than winding up right back in the morgue as one might expect, Mercer realizes he has the ability to change his form at will and is now virtually indestructible.

So off goes Alex to uncover the truth about what has happened to him and hunting down those responsible. As New York City self-destructs around him and martial law is invoked, Mercer must deal with not only a hostile military force, but the horrors that the virus has left in its wake.

The story is one of my biggest disappointments simply because while it’s perfectly passable, with such a cool underlying premise it should have been so much better. On the whole it’s a poorly told tale that's poorly acted. Part of the problem with sandbox titles like Prototype is that you tend to lose the thread of the plot while you’re off mucking about, playing side quests and mini-games or generally just wreaking havoc. As a result an already thin plot becomes even more disjointed.

But let’s not mince words here, the primary attraction of this game is you are given control of a virtually indestructible super-human with amazing bio-morphing abilities and utterly no compunction about using them in a bustling metropolis… so let’s talk about those powers!

Mercer reminds me a bit of the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. He can shape-shift his body into different sorts of bladed or bludgeoning objects. His arm can become a massive blade-like sword or he can transform his fists into giant mitts that are slow but powerful enough to club tanks. There is even a wicked set of claws for quick attacks. I should also mention that you can use the weapons dropped by the army during your rampages and use said arsenal against them... but with so many cool powers why bother?

My personal favorite was the 'Whipfist' which is sort of his ranged-attack weapon. A long tendril will shoot from his arm with a spike on the end, sniping targets from distance... but he can also swing it around or even vertically to slice and dice anyone in his path. What's more, with the 'Whipfist' Mercer can hijack helicopters in mid air by pulling himself up to them almost like a grappling hook. I loved it when the chopper I was currently flying was on fire and going down and Mercer jumps out only to hijack the next one without ever touching the ground.

Mercer's new powers not only allow him to change his form at will, but also give him super-human strength and speed. He can leap tall buildings in a single bound... okay, not quite, but close. When sprinting he'll automatically vault cars or toss them clear out of the way. He can even sprint up the sides of buildings... and jumping off said buildings from a good height and hurtling down into a crowded street is a good laugh, although not for the people on the ground.

The controls can be a bit a of a pain and are fairly complex (other than mashing the attack button, which will only get you so far), there is a pretty high learning curve here. But even with practice they don't work particularly well. The camera can be a burden at times as well, especially in the crowded streets. But if you can look past these annoyances, controlled chaos has rarely been as amusingly brutal.

Now, I feel the need to impress upon you, gentle reader, just how over-the-top violent Prototype is... it's almost gleefully graphic. Using your powers result in incredible carnage: slamming down your 'Whipfist' will slice a foe (or bystander) right down the middle, the two halves falling apart. Your blade is adept at separating a person's top half from the bottom and using your claws leaves a pile of body parts on the floor. The giant 'Hammerfists' leave little more than a bloody puddle.

One of the more clever and useful of Mercer’s powers is his ability to absorb or consume, well, pretty much anyone he wants. By doing this he’ll not only take their form (you can absorb an enemy commander so you’ll gain access to a military base for example) but also their memories (absorb a pilot to learn how to fly a helicopter). You can also absorb innocent civilians if you’ve had a rough run in with the army and need a quick disguise or some health. But oddly, no one seems to notice when Granny Doris starts running up the side of a building or leaping over cars. I guess in New York that’s considered par for the course...

While the story may have left me wanting more, I was partially placated by the 'Web of Intrigue.' Basically, a great deal of the plot is told through flashes of memory of Mercer’s victims as he consumes them. Part of this is revealed while playing out the story, but other people who hold pieces of the puzzle locked away in their juicy brains will appear randomly throughout the city.

When Mercer absorbs these poor sods he soon learns of a larger conspiracy. What was a bare bones story gets fleshed out well in this regard, but there a couple of problems with it. First of all, there are a TON of random people you must consume. You don't always find them in order though, it's more of a jigsaw puzzle approach to telling the story which can be confusing.

My biggest complaint about this is that the randomly generated NPC's you need to consume spawn at the most inopportune times. You'll see the tell-tale orange profile icon pop up on the mini-map only to have it blink away seconds later because the poor sap gets run over by a tank or something. It's even more frustrating when you're bearing down on your victim, the chaos of battle all around you, and right before you reach him one of the army men shoots the bastard. I can't tell you the number of times I nearly hurled the controller across the room in frustration.... the only satisfaction I got was hurling the corpse of my prey at the offending jackass instead.

Aside from checking in with the story occasionally and generally running rampant around town, there are a number of optional tasks and challenges you can attempt at your leisure for XP. Each challenge has different medals you can achieve: gold, silver, and bronze. Everything from taking out ‘X’ number of bad guys with a particular mutation to check point racing mini-game as you try and beat the clock. There is even a cool free fall mini-game where the goal is to glide from a distance onto the bulls-eye. These are fun diversions, but some of them are almost impossibly difficult to get the 'gold' medal. Rather than giving specific examples I'll just say this... Prototype is the only game where I've actually broken a controller in frustration... with my bare hands.

I've already mentioned that I thought the voice acting was pretty poor, and the soundtrack doesn't do much either. Graphically Prototype is decent, although draw distances are an issue, especially from height. There are also some lag issues during major fights, but considering how crowded the streets of New York are in the first place, adding mutated monsters and veritable platoons of army guys amidst the throngs of terrified tourists, makes that understandable.

Despite some pretty glaring flaws, I actually quite enjoyed Prototype. I had a lot of fun absorbing little old ladies then sprinting up the side of a skyscraper in a print floral dress... but got more and more bothered that no one seemed to care. I know New Yorkers have taken minding their own business to a whole new level but I just felt it was a bit off, and that, in a nutshell, is the problem with Prototype. Every time you feel like you are losing yourself in the game something happens that pulls you back. It feels shoddy. If a little more time and effort had gone into this game it could have been so much better, especially considering the promising premise. Factor in Mercer’s crazy abilities and it’s senseless violence at it’s finest, especially if you lean more towards the sadistic side;^) As it is though it's merely a fun and sometimes frustrating distraction that leaves us wondering what could have been...


Score = 7.4 / 10