Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prototype third impressions

I didn't put in Portal in the end, I turned back to Prototype; trying to switch between two sets of controls can be disorientating for me.

First up an apology, well sort of. It seems I'd been handling the target lock (L2) incorrectly. See in most games it only locks while you're holding the button down, in Prototype it locks when you just press and release L2; also might explain the difficulty I had with that tutorial. Anyway you press L2 it locks and stays locked, if you want to release the lock you press it again, if you want to change the lock you hold L2 and flick R about. Boy did this make the helicopter mission so much better.

It still doesn't differentiate between enemies though and will happily lock onto an infected if you're supposed to be targeting military and vice-versa. In that scenario you'll often blow your cover and have both infected and military attacking you from an accidental shot and besides you still want to hold down L2 because it slows down time to allow you to flick between targets, but doesn't lock-out the attacks. So jump, hold L2 and hit triangle and your whip fist will stretch out to snag an enemy and then use R to switch to another target and hit triangle all before you land while holding circle to jump back up and repeat.

[Update - Nope I recant my apology. The Press L2 and release to lock-on appears only to work while in the helicopter. For every other vehicle and  on foot you have to hold L2 to stay locked on. So the developers changed both the combat buttons between vehicle/non-vehicle and the lock-on method. Did they have two teams working on this who didn't talk to each other?]

I also want to take to task the controls set. On foot or with a weapon you smack enemies around with Square, or special attack with Triangle plus some other combinations of the face buttons. When you're in a vehicle these two attack types get mapped to R1 and R2, well sometimes. If you're in a tank or APC R1 fires the machine gun while R2 fires the missiles. In a helicopter R1 switched between the three weapon types and R2 fires it. Joy to be had if you come out of a vehicle mission and head for an on-foot mission. I often need to restart it because for the first 10 seconds I'm hitting the wrong buttons.

Anyway the target lock still doesn't forgive the "Use only the provided weapon" missions nor the incessant "There are powers you haven't used" pop-up. A good example of why I don't switch powers is as follows.

I'm using the, by now, default whip and shield when a couple of tanks decide to attack me. Whip doesn't do much against them I need something more powerful like the Big Fist, that means holding L1, remembering which icon is the one I want, using L to highlight it, then releasing L1 at which point I get knocked down by an explosion because the game doesn't pause while I do this. Now if this were a multiplayer game I'd understand why selection doesn't pause, but it's not. Better yet having been knocked down by said explosion the power hasn't manifested, you need to be out of combat for a second to shift. So if I use the quick selection d-pad keys is it still set to whip or fist?

Press L1 and it'll highlight the powers you have active, but won't show you which ones are currently assigned to the d-pad. What's worse is that these selections are pre-determined in that left is for disguise, down is for defence, right is for passive powers, and up is for active powers. So you can't assign whip to up and fist to right. In itself this wouldn't be a problem except the game demands you switch powers and, as I say, doesn't pause while you do so.

As I've said before once you get the movement upgrades it's fun to dash about, no laborious climbing up the side of buildings you sprint up them. There's always an exception though; in this case two. The first problem is when you're on a narrow vertical spire, you can use circle to stay 'stuck' to the building and climb slowly, but veer even slightly near an edge and you'll swing round rather than go up, on pointed spires this isn't fun. Why climb such things because it's got a happy blue orb stuck to the top that's why. The second problem is that despite sticking to the side of buildings you can't run upside down. Who cares? Well if you duck into a colonnaded building to avoid the helicopters and want to leave by running up said building you have to leave the shelter then run up the post without veering off to the side. In some case these insets appear at the top of buildings and you'll fall into them, run up the wall and just backflip off the ceiling. There doesn't seem to be a reason why I can't run on ceilings other than I can't.

Oh and once again if you reset a mission can you please please remove the debris that's piled up during the first play through. I was wondering why I was having to use a rocket to take out soldiers until I realised they were behind an impregnable wreck of a car. Oh sure they could shoot me though; figures.


Orphi said...

My first impression still remains that this is a rather poorly designed game, and why are you still playing it? ;-)

FlipC said...

Heh for pretty much the same reason I finished off the eye-strain inducing TimeShift.

There's a good underlying mechanic here and occasionally it just shines through the murk they've wrapped it in. When you're actually free to romp around the city doing what you like it really is fun, it's just that the developers seem scared of that concept and slap you in a straight jacket for every mission.

Oh good example from last night - big ugly kidnaps my sister and off I go chasing after them and have to keep them within a certain difference. Except the mission statement was to stop him. So I'd get within attack range, and at times end up standing next to him, let fly an attack and watch as it didn't even dent his health bar.

Yep it was a "You're supposed to stop him, but you've got to fail" mission. Except of course with the got to fail being got to fail in the way we want you to rather than just not bother to follow him.

But the running around was fun :-D

Orphi said...

My God, that sounds horrifyingly sucky. o_O

FlipC said...

It just smacks of pointlessness which sadly affects quite a few games at some point and this one in almost all its side-missions.

Why am I doing this? For the EP. But that's an out-of-game reason what's the in-game reason? Um.

Orphi said...

What the heck is EP?

FlipC said...

In every role-playing game and quite a few supposedly non-rpgs it's XP that is eXperience Points.

Do some action and get XP/EP as a reward. Use that to buy yourself some extra health or explosive ammo for your gun. Basically it's role-play cash and not something that should crop up in-game that'd be like telling a hitman he should take this job just to 'keep his hand in' rather than for the money.