Sunday, April 29, 2012

Game Inspection: Prototype

Hey Gang,
(Still need to come up with some kind of weird nickname for you guys)

I decided to stop playing Mass Effect 3 for a few minutes (hard to do since it is so amazing) to post.  As I mentioned in a previous post the weekend is generally my time to unwind from the stress of my day job.  What does that mean?  It means I play a lot of video games, role-playing games, pool, and generally avoid writing stuff.  However, I don't want to completely abandon you guys during the weekend so I decided I'm going to post smaller simpler posts.

This means every Saturday and Sunday going forward I will have something for you.  If you are only interested in my fiction or poetry feel free to ignore anything I post on Saturday or Sunday.  Monday through Friday will be the main focus of the blog.  Saturday and Sunday is going to be extra stuff as the mood strikes me.  Each post during the weekend will cover one of five topics

1) Video Games
2) Role-playing Games
3) Writing
4) Blogging
5) Random Internet Stuff

Why didn't I post something yesterday?  See above.  I'm telling you, Mass Effect 3 is amazing.  It is easily one of the best games I have ever played.  Why?  I'll discuss it more after I beat it.

With all of that said I'm starting a little section today called "Game Inspection".  It is kind of like a review but much shorter and focused on my particular thoughts on a game as both an avid gamer and a writer.  If you want a full on review the internet is full of them.  Game inspection is going to be more about examining certain elements of the game that I feel are important to examine.  I love games and in another life I probably would have tried to go into game design.

So today we are going to start with the game Prototype.  I just beat it for my friend the other day and it sadly suffered from the same problem that a lot of games.  I played it on my Xbox 360.

If you want to play the game and don't want any spoilers I suggest you stop reading.

Point of no return is right

Alright, so the he general premise of the game is pretty neat.  You wake up in the morgue and you are horribly changed with some kind of strange infection.  Bunch of story stuff happens (nothing that thrilling sadly) and then you are running around the city with crazy powers.

The game starts out super fun but sadly loses a lot of its enjoyment along the way.  Why?  They give you super powers but then gradually weaken those powers by making the enemies super strong and difficult to fight.

I hate it when games do this.  If you give me super cool powers you better let me enjoy them the whole game.  The fun factor needs to stay constant or at least it needs to win out the war.

The war with what you may ask?  Frustration.  Every video game has a Fun to Frustration scale.  A really good game has the scale completely broken and stuck on fun.  Sadly most games aren't broken so beautifully these days.  Most are a tricky balancing act between the fun present in the system and the frustration of dealing with the obstacles thrown at you.

Prototype starts off great but the balancing act gets broken in the wrong way.  As the game goes forward it becomes less and less fun.  I don't want to work for my fun.  More game companies need to remember this fact.

Do I want every game to be super easy?  No.  However, I feel game developers have been putting too much focus lately on the wrong things.  Difficulty is something to consider but I feel it is much lower on the scale of things to worry about.  I would much rather have a good story, and solid control scheme over an artificial difficulty used to mostly pad out the length of the game.

Did I still enjoy Prototype?

However, it could have been a lot more fun if they focused on keeping things fun a bit longer instead of forcing the player to deal with a bunch of tedious super swarms of enemies.

With that said I'm looking forward to Prototype 2. The reviews are mixed for it but from what I've seen the developers have put a lot of focus on keeping things fun.  Some reviews say it is too easy but I don't really consider that a bad thing.  Just let me glide around and fight enemies with crazy powers.  Everything else will take care of itself if you let it.


  1. Mercer has a number of ways to fight. While enjoying Prototype, I found that if I was dieing too easily it was because I was using the wrong tactics against an enemy. I was annoyed that the trophy system didn't award the easy mode complete trophy for a middle difficulty completion.

    I have played and beat Prototype 2 and feel that it was easier then Prototype 1. I enjoyed the game very much, but would not buy it. I recently wrote a spoiler filled post about the second game about why I wouldn't purchase it. Good luck and enjoy.

  2. Levi - First off, thanks for coming by the blog.

    I agree that Mercer has quite a few ways to fight in the game. My problem is that near the end every fight just becomes so tedious. With the swarms of enemies it often boils down to the following pattern.

    1) Do some damage
    2) Get hit a bunch
    3) Run away and eat someone to restore health
    4) Get enough health to use a super move
    5) Use the super move
    6) Repeat

    Once it gets to the point where the vast majority of the city is either infected or under military control I feel a lot of the appeal of the game goes away.

    Once it hits that point the last missions are just obnoxious and at least in my case I no longer cared about what was going on with the story because everything was just frustrating.

    I shouldn't need to constantly push uphill in order to "earn" the right to have fun and I feel at the end of the game that was pretty much what was going on.

    I checked out your post about Prototype 2. Sounds like it certainly has some problems. However, it also sounds like it still should be fun so I'll have to check it out eventually.

    I think I'll wait until it goes on sale though.