Back in 2009, I was fortunate enough to own both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (both which I paid for myself, thank you very much). That means I never really fell into the whole console war of the previous generation. So while fanboys were arguing whether the multiplatform Prototype was better or inferior to the PS3 exclusive, inFamous, I was happily enjoying both. Spoiler, inFamous was way better than Prototype.
At the time, open-world super-hero games were sort of a big deal. Spider-Man 2 paved the way for future titles in terms of how they're experienced and their structure, which many games followed. Radical Entertainment went a slightly different route with The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. This overlooked gem was an absolute blast to play, giving players a playground of destruction as Hulk was able to easily scale buildings and bring them down with a few hits. Trying to capitalize on this style of gameplay, Radical's Prototype in 2009 contained many of the elements found in The Incredible Hulk, without the recognizable license, and three years later, released a sequel.
Both Prototype games introduced some very unique mechanics, one of which was consuming key individuals and learning their secrets, and filling in the web of intrigue. This allowed the player to fully explore the conspiracy regarding the viral outbreak and the player's role in it. Traversal was also extremely fun, though a bulk of it lifted straight from The Incredible Hulk. Running up buildings, leaping into the air, dashing and gliding to your destination always felt pretty incredible. While I always preferred to be web-slinging around New York, this was definitely the next best choice.
I'm not going to go too in depth on reviewing these two games, as we already have reviews for both Prototype and Prototype 2 on the site. Granted, both gave each game a score of 9/10, which I think doesn't really apply now. Simply put, the games didn't age very well.
To call these games remasters would be doing other, more legitimate remasters like The Last of Us a huge disservice. Sure, the games now output at native 1080p resolution and do in fact run at a better framerate, but that doesn't really do anything for the bland environment, wonky animations and odd glitches.
In 2009 I might have been really forgiving of the lackluster gunplay, the horrible dodge mechanics, and the choppy combat, but playing through that all again now really shows just how bad it was, and how far games advanced to not only be more playable, but more enjoyable. Since the games rely so much on city traversal, missions that task you to dispatch enemy indoors are absolutely horrible. Like nearly unplayable.
The fact that you're sometimes forced to use some of the enemy weapons, which makes zero sense considering you're a mutant killing machine with terrifying claws, is downright ludicrous. The gunplay is atrocious.
What I did enjoy was the game's stealth segments, even though those also had a few glaring problems. Sneaking through a heavily guarded outpost, disguised as an enemy soldier and quietly consuming guards is super satisfying.
Prototype 2 fixed a lot of the issues that the first game had in terms of both gameplay and visuals. The lighting was certainly better, and I enjoyed the more RPG based leveling mechanic instead of simply earning skills. But, for the most part, this was still a very similar game to the first, with a protagonist that wasn't nearly as interesting as Alex Mercer was. If you haven't yet played either game, I won't spoil what happens with either of these characters, but it's probably one of the cooler aspects of Prototype.
At $40, the Prototype bundle is hard to recommend, even for newcomers. It certainly has a few redeeming qualities and traversing New York is definitely the game's best feature. However, the bland combat, and extremely unappealing visuals, coupled with some horrible AI proves that some games simply don't age well, even with a new resolution. If the games go on sale separately, I'd say check out the improved sequel if you're really interested in seeing what this series is all about. Otherwise wait for a deeper discount. At around $20, I can see this bundle being worth it.
A stealthy release of two mediocre titles with amazing traversal options but lackluster gameplay.