Monday, January 25, 2010

Prototype the final review

So first, second and third impressions aside I'm at least three-quarters of the way through both in the main quest and side-missions so here's my final verdict - The developers do not want you to play this game. It's either that sheer ignorance, or a deadline to meet.

If InFamous is a rough-cut diamond of fun, then Prototype is a perfectly cut shiny jewel that's been shattered into a thousand pieces and dropped in a vat of sewerage; objectively it's more 'fun', but you have to wade through a ton of shit to find those slivers.

It's simple really, if you have to pause the game to tell the player they haven't used certain powers, if you force them to complete missions using only a certain power then you haven't designed the game correctly; I should want to use these powers as part of the game.

Most of the side-missions restrict you into what you can and can't do, some allow you to use the full panoply of powers you have, but you don't want to. Case in point. I zip up to the top of a building and find three normal soldiers on it armed with rocket launchers, I have selected my shield (which gives me some protection while allowing free movement) and my whip fist. Out snakes the whip and I smack down two of the military before I even land before turning to take out the third, oops here comes a super-soldier whip's not as effective against them so I need hmm the Blade. L1 and select, out the menu and woah he's close (because it doesn't pause) so I lash out to keep him at bay with my whip because you'll only change active modes if you stop to allow it. So I jump back and almost get blown up by a fourth rocket-launching guy so I target him and lash out with my whip, that's now a blade because I've had a pause in combat.

And that was a good mission because I was allowed to change powers; most of the time you're stuck with what you're given and half the time you're not told what it is until you start. Couple that with a time limit, a random start point for teleporting enemies, enemies that only teleport in waves, enemies that aren't enemies (only the ones with floating red targets over their heads count, except sometimes the others do count) and sometimes a restricted area to work in (which also fails to get mentioned at the mission start) and completing a mission with a Gold rating becomes a matter of luck. In one mission I failed because I started in a basketball court and the enemies couldn't negotiate either the chainlink fences, or the ankle high barriers surrounding the paths meaning they weren't getting to me I had to get to them; all within a time limit.

I've restarted countless missions simply because the enemies appeared in the wrong place, I or they have got caught on debris from the mission I'd just aborted, or simply because I'd run up to a tank to hit it with my Blade and ended up running onto it and finding it won't target anything below me (no you can't choose another power). I've got these wonderful Devastator attacks that only work when I'm at full health and in these missions although I can use them none of the kills count as it wasn't with the "Active Power".

I still only have a Bronze rating in "Fire in the Sky" because I'm in a helicopter trying to attack a limited number of ground based infected enemies while trying not to target the military they're attacking as they'll start firing at me if I do. (A quick search seems this is one of those missions where you get points even for those that aren't highlighted so yay) and a Military Consume event seems impossible as there are five detectors and two floating ones to avoid all in three minutes when it takes almost a minute to get to the base. (again a quick search seems that rather than take-down the ground based detectors what you do is swoop in, grab the commander, consume him, then jump out as fast as possible, switch back to Alex, hide until the heat dies, switch to the commander and then walk into the base where they've obviously suffering from short-term memory loss "Hey chief didn't I just see you get eaten?" before the alarms go off again)

So take that and add in an inconsistent control system that seems happy to switch both combat controls, mechanics and even out-game menu options and the game just falls apart. It could have been so fun, instead it's just frustrating - you fail events, you get killed, and it's not your fault.


Orphi said...

Well, maybe it's only the prototype. Maybe the real game will be better? ;-)

FlipC said...

Rimshot! Verrry good sir, verrry good indeed.