Rental Reviews 13/08/09

This week’s Rental Review was for Prototype and after submissions were initially slow I got a sudden rush after I gave you all a gentle reminder. The standards were generally high again but it was very obvious that some of you had real problems keeping the review under 250 words.

Lorcan did our original review of Prototype but for Rental Review we asked Davs to give us his brief appraisal. Here’s what he had to say:

Mayhem, destruction and gore – three suitable words for Radical Entertainments sandbox action game Prototype. Playing as Alex Mercer, you were infected with a virus that has caused you to change – along with a lot of the cities inhabitants. Said virus causes you to wield the powers of shape-shifting and enemy-absorption, which you use to consume the memories of enemies to piece together the Web of Intrigue to reveal what on earth has actually happened.

The incredibly brutal attacks are overly satisfying and extremely powerful to begin with, but become more frustrating and repetitive as the game progresses. Requiring animation to be completed before changing power becomes very frustrating during some battles when there are more enemies than sense. Aside from the offensive and defensive abilities, Alex traverses the city of Manhattan using what can only be described as über-parkour, running up skyscrapers, launching great distances, sprinting at extreme speed and gliding through the air. As a means of transportation, this is quick, efficient and enjoyable, which becomes the most consistently enjoyable attribute of the game.

Unfortunately, for all the badass action, everything lacks that bit of polish. You create smash marks on the floor and windows but they are ultimately undamaged, the character models are incredibly repetitive where in some cases an entire army base will comprise dozens of the same character, and rather than create a variety of increasing difficulty enemies, more are just thrown at you, turning battles into frustrating scrambles. A good attempt, but unfortunately lacking.


TSA member iNsAnE_gAmInG was slightly more charitable than Davs though, saying:


Prototype is a game that requires patience and acceptance that the game is challenging. I do enjoy a challenge, no doubt, but I lack patience unless I’m playing a game I’m really enjoying, which is why Prototype made me feel frustrated and unentertained most of the time.

The gameplay, as a whole, can be fun. Using an impressive arsenal of superpowers to take down loads of enemies, whilst consuming a few people, jumping between rooftops, beating time challenges etc, it can all be relatively entertaining. However, when things become a little bit too overcrowded and it becomes harder to move, the game becomes very frustrating in my opinion and it comes down to luck whether or not you find a space to get away from the mayhem and recover some health.

The graphics are by no means terrible, but the world around needs work. Manhattan feels dull and I spent a lot of time hoping a blanket of graphical beauty dust would be spread all over the lacklustre virtual representation that Prototype offers. Travelling to missions was only enjoyable as Alex Mercer is a fun character to control.

On a more positive note, Prototype does, in my opinion, offers an impressive wealth of options for tackling each of the missions, therefore mission gameplay doesn’t feel linear and repetition is masked.

Prototype is a game that is enjoyable due to a wealth of powers and mission options, but is let down by lacklustre visuals and frustrating overcrowding in some battles.


Whilst the opinion of one of our community stalwarts, Hodgi92 fell somewhere in the middle:

The main problem with Prototype is the lack of choice. In inFamous you have an option to be good or bad, but I will try my hardest not to compare the two for this review. For some reason there are mutants running around the city (I didn’t watch the cutscenes) and the military are trying to kill the mutants and you. Now why couldn’t you work with one of them to, either, destroy the city or save it. But I digress.

In terms of gameplay it is quite enjoyable. More people to slice in half and blood to wade through than you can shake a stick at, if that is your type of thing. The missions are fun, if not a bit repetitive. Ultimately you are everything you want someone with superpowers to be, super strong, defy gravity, consume people and you can extract more blood than the NHS.

A downside is how much XP you earn for the simplest of things, which means it is far too easy to be at full strength quite early into the game. As well as it being slightly repetitive these are the only two flaws I could find in the game in the relatively short time I played it.


Finally for this week, a glowing review from TSA member spooner_22:

Fun. Action-packed. Fast-paced. Difficult. Gory. FUN!!
These are all terms that can be used to describe Prototype.
What? I said fun twice?? Well, that’s because Prototype provided me with double the amount of fun that most other games do!

You control Alex Mercer, a man who has lost his memory, but gained super-powers…bargain! You start off with limited powers, but as you progress through the game you will gain experience points for completing various missions and tasks including collecting tokens around the city. You can then use these points to purchase new powers or enhance certain abilities.

The game is set in New York City which is growing more and more infected by a virus. The main goal is to gain Alex’s memory back, which can be achieved through using the ability to consume. You can consume infected or civilians which can gain you more energy and in certain cases new memories, which will help you to uncover Alex’s past. The story can be hard to follow at times with all of these memories being a bit random, but when you figure it out it’s intriguing.

This game has a few flaws, but nothing too much to complain about. None textured buildings? Who cares, they serve their purpose. Graphically it’s not amazing, but you don’t notice too much because of the fast pace.

Personally, I would suggest a purchase of this game rather than a rent, mainly because I rented it…then found it so enjoyable that I bought it!


There were a decent number of submissions this week with the scores varying from five-out-of-ten all the way up to nine-out-of-ten which indicates that this game might walk that fine line between brilliance and disaster.

The average TSA member score from submitted reviews was 7.7/10

Our Rental Review score was 6/10

TSA’s full review rating was 7/10

Next week’s game is the recently released demo of Batman: Arkham Asylum. We thought it might be a bit easier to keep to the word count and also give the maximum number of people a chance to take part and earn those TSA points. So if you’ve played it send us a review and if not then you can download it over the weekend, it’s free! Send your reviews (under 250 words) to peter[at]thesixthaxis[dot]com with RR in the subject line and maybe you’ll be the proud recipient of 75 TSA points after next week’s round-up post.