Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

FH6- Literal Genie Begins


Chastity's power trip is in full effect. If only she had a microphone to slam down in the sand when making her exit... I'd say she's done a fairly good job of orchestrating a scheme that will keep the Sins occupied AND annoyed. Poor Lust can't even punch a precocious kid without getting guff. How the mighty have fallen. Pride seems pretty danged stoic about the whole thing. GASP! He was in on it the whole time! Double agent with morphing powers!

So if you didn't read the notes on Wednesday, you're probably not reading them today, but if you are! Today's update covers Friday, Monday, and Wednesday because I don't know what my Internet connection situation will be next week, so I'm uploading a lot in advance. I'll pop in and comment/answer emails when I can if all goes well and ideally, I'll be able to update Friday as normal.
I uploaded the TWC voting image for next week as well. This time, the Mercs try the best ways they know that don't involve nudity to get the Internet to like them.

In bizarre Pip-based news, I think I was in a commercial today. I was walking through the city and a camera truck drove by filming the street and the camera was pointed in my general direction. That is by no means impressive, HOWEVER! I was wearing my Sloth hat at the time, so I will chalk this experience up as: The Sins have been on TV! Maybe even internationally. So as you're home channel surfing and you stumble upon a commercial for Compass USA that takes place in San Francisco, you can take solace that somewhere in one of the backgrounds is Sloth. Or it was all B roll and it wound up on the cutting room floor, in which case, nuts to you, TV!

And just to make sure you have enough content to tide you over, a review!

Long, Technologically advanced new Velcro Review: Prototype 2- As I mentioned in the last podcast, Prototype 2 is kind of dumb. You start off in a terrible tutorial full of quick time events and one section makes you control your character when he's not even on the screen. That's not the best introduction to this world. Once you get into it, the dialogue and characters are hilariously bad, in an almost mocking way. What kind of highly trained military soldier can't use a computer? Is this some kind of jab at the industrial military complex ooor just rather bad writing? You decide! I was kind of hoping that Heller would just be an idiot because he's infected so maybe his brain is turning to mush and his emotions are all out of whack but he's shown to be a curse-y dope even before he gets messed up. Heller is so generically angry but the bad guys are so cartoonishly evil that they belong to each other. Every other soldier or scientist you meet in the game is thrilled about running tests on innocent civilians or gleeful about shooting up regular people. There are some occasional flashes of humor but I don't know how intentional it was. There's one mission that IS intentionally funny and it genuinely is funny. The title of this review comes from one the scientist's lines and it's a legitimate laugh out loud “I was not expecting that” piece of dialogue. Other parts of the game are hilarious for how over the top or dumb characters are but I don't think any of that is by design. Pretty much any time Heller tries to spout an action hero one-liner, it's just so dumb but I think there's a writer out there that thought it was really bad ass.
Prototype 2's mechanics don't fair much better than the writing. The game's targeting system is just spectacularly awful. I have no idea what it prioritizes but it certainly isn't anything close to you or even remotely helpful. You can pick up soldiers' guns but it's so obscenely difficult to get the game to target what you actually want to hit, that firearms are useless. And the camera is almost as bad so trying to keep enemies onscreen is nauseating with how much the view swings and spins around. Thanksfully, most of your melee powers are area of attack moves because trying to do anything in this game with some semblence of finesse is not going to happen. There's so much you can interact with but rather than giving you freedom, it makes the targetting a mess. When you're in the middle of a battle and low on health, you can run over to an enemy and consume it but you're just as likely to grab a gun off the ground or pick up a car. The large scale battles are a mess of starting with the poor camera and then obscuring your view even more with giant enemies, smoke, and constant explosions. And if you're locked on to an enemy and you jump, you activate a slow motion dodge that ruins your groove and the flow of the game. There is a cheap/boring way to overcome the bad controls in combat. Once you get the hammers or blades, jump straight up in the air and do a ground pound. I didn't encounter a single enemy that this "strategy" didn't work on. When you jump straight up, enemies run directly under where you are so you almost never miss and they can't block it. It's really boring but if you're ever low on health in a fight, just jump straight up and ground pound and the battle is a cinch. There are lots of little annoyances like every time you upgrade or get a new power, the game remaps your controls without telling you. Why? At the most, pause the game and pop up the weapon swap menu but don't shift the controls around in the middle of a fight.
This certainly isn't to say that Protoype 2 is a hot mess.When they do something well, they do it surprisingly well. Just when starting up, the load times are great. It gets you into the world quickly and the load times between missions are snappy. It ramps up at a great pace, giving you new powers and perks at a nice rate. It also does collectibles fantastically. There aren't too many of them, 2/3 of the kinds of "collectibles" are events rather than items (cleaning out lairs of the infected or killing teams of the bad guys), and you can check the map for them. They aren't explicitly marked on the map, but it gives you a general area and then when you get close, it gives you a kind of hot/cold indicator to help you zone in on it. Plus, completing each set of collectibles in a zone rewards you with a free perk so actually want to find them.
If you buy the game new, you unlock a lot of extra missions but it's not that they're bad, just more that they're pointless. They aren't fun, they're frequently tedious, and they serve to higlight just how bad the camera is or how hard it is to target enemies. One mission forces you to kill 30 enemies in 30 seconds with a grenade launcher. I found one, walked into an Army base swarming with dudes, and I could not do that mission. All my shots either went sailing over their heads or straight into walls because the game was trying to target something on the other side of a building and I absolutely could not break the lock-on and aim at another target no matter how hard I jammed on the stick.
Almost predictably, P2 suffers from that open world jank. Mostly just odd behaviors and plenty of graphical issues (mainly in cutscenes though, go figure) but I did have a few major bugs. In one mission where I was confined to a room and couldn't leave until I slaughtered everything in it, the game glitched and thought there was an enemy outside of the room I had to kill. I looked at the main map and zoomed out and the spot it was telling me to go to was in the middle of the ocean and since I was trapped in that room, I had to quit and restart. Those segments aren't great to begin with and having to do them over again because the game messed up is double not fun. In another mission, I completed the race, got the end of mission cutscene, and then the game wouldn't accept that I beat the mission. And when you're in this state, you can't pause, save, or load your game so I had to stand around for a few minutes while a tank shot me so I could die and return to my last checkpoint, which happened to be the start of the race and I had to do the whole thing all over again.
The good, the bad, and the dumb culminate in a rather disappointing ending. The final boss is a series of quick time events (which you previously mainly only saw in the tutorial) and guess and check button mashing. Each form of the boss is seemingly only weak to one weapon set and if you use the wrong one, the boss auto-counters and batters you. So you spend the fight trying a weapon, getting hurt, switching and repeating until you find the right one, button mash until a quick time event appears, repeat that process with the right weapon a few more times, then the boss switches forms and you have to repeat the process. Thankfully, they do checkpoint you when the boss is changing forms so if you die, you don't lose too much progress in a tedious fight. It's certainly not a long game but it's long enough and if it had gone on for more than a few extra missions without drastically changing anything up, it would have worn out its welcome. You can beat it in a weekend's rental if you stick to the story missions and renting it/mooching off of a friend is probably the way to go. The pre-order bonus that Best Buy was STILL giving away was a pointless skin for the tanks and the Radnet content you get for buying the game new is locked away behind the boring/broken thanks to the game's bad controls extra missions and ultimately doesn't look like it's all that interesting (some making of videos and a new character skin). I can wave away all the poor writing, bad characters, and corny plot because I came into Prototype 2 WANTING the gaming equivalent of a B-movie. But just because your game is cheesy, that doesn't mean you can't have a working camera, good controls, and a functional targetting system.
Sins Commited: Bad camera, Bad controls, Buggy, Quick time events, So so dumb
Virtues Acted: Good escalation, Fun powers, Collectibles done right, So so dumb