You are Alex Mercer. A Prototype, who has lost himself, his mind and has awoken to a world in which he feels he does not belong but will conquer as if it was his own. A viral outbreak has claimed Manhattan, forcing the island into a military quarantine. The infected citizens are undergoing radical, monstrous changes -- none more drastic than Alex himself.
Prototype is a single player, open-world action game in which you play as a man gifted with superhuman powers and the option to go most anywhere you like and do most anything you want once you get there. Mercer has vowed to destroy those responsible for his current situation and he has the means to do it. To gain new powers or refill your health bar, you'll literally absorb other living beings. Find yourself a little low on hit points and you can simply grab an innocent bystander, crush his or her head, and then consume them for a quick boost. If you find yourself in a pinch with attack choppers chasing you through the roads, you can absorb a person and morph into their likeness to blend in with the crowd.
As you work your way through the game you'll unlock new and ever more exotic powers. The storyline involves 31 missions including everything from simple seek and destroy affairs to stealthy infiltrations to escort missions and massive boss battles. The missions aren’t sloppy but can get sloppy-looking as instead of fighting a few enemies, the game tosses dozens upon dozens at you. Then it throws in a few tanks and helicopters as well as a couple dozen innocent bystanders for good measure. It all plays into a well mix but lacks in character as you can't do something as simple as run through the city while leaping off of buildings without alerting the Strike Teams, at which point you're forced into some shape shifting or combat. The action heavy sequences involve barely surviving to the next checkpoint or running in and out of the action to stay alive.
Alongside the main quest is a set of side missions called events to tackle at your discretion. Beat them and you earn some Evolve Points (EP) to upgrade Mercer's powers. Radical smartly hands out EP like candy. Complete just a mission or two and you'll quickly find yourself spending EP to grab new powers and abilities early and often. More interesting than the halfhearted side events are the undirected diversions. These don't pop up on your city map and aren't missions in a traditional sense. These diversions merely exist within the world -- even while playing through one of the main missions -- for you to tackle. The concept of collectibles has been extended to what's called the Web of Intrigue.
The game renders smooth animations, which does a great job towards making Mercer's powers feel real. Running up the side of a building, doing a flip over a wall and then leaping off into a charged drop attack just feels cool. The blandness is seen throughout in a city recreated with few landmarks and instead filled with generic, lifeless buildings. Move quickly along the building tops and trees, bushes, cars and other structures pop in and out as the game struggles to draw them. Aside from specific infected buildings, no structural damage can be done. You can't even knock over billboards. All of the real chaos you can create is limited to vehicles and passing pedestrians. Your cool powers don't feel quite so cool when you can't even break a window by throwing a tank at it.
Overall, the game gave me plenty of laughs slicing and dicing through anything that got in my way including civilians. The visuals do suffer at some points and the gameplay occasionally becomes too chaotic and unfocused. Some cutscenes feel out of place and pointless while others are well done. There are a ton of upgrades to nab in Prototype and improving your character is some of the most rewarding gameplay offered here. There are so many powers, in fact, that cramming them all on a controller proved difficult.
The strong points for the game would be the many types of superpowers you get to use, the missions and the slicing and dicing of anything that gets in your way. The downfalls would be the lack of destruction, the choppy graphic gameplay (at times) and the weird button configuration for some of the powers and rewards.