Mastering the Art of the Overpowered Main Character – Prototype

Craving a power trip? Prototype delivers an incredibly satisfying experience with its overpowered main character.

Alex Mercer Prototype Protagonist
How To Do Main Character Right - Prototype

Prototype has to be one of the most underrated and undervalued games of its time. Developed by Radical Entertainment, the game came out in 2009, with its sequel coming out in 2012. In my opinion, the Prototype has incredible combat, a mid-tier story, and one of the best handling of an overpowered main character.

Key Takeaways
  • Prototype embraces the power fantasy, letting you unleash a destructive array of abilities on a vast battlefield.
  • Enemy variations with unique powers keep the combat dynamic and engaging.
  • New York City becomes your personal sandbox, encouraging free exploration and experimentation with your abilities.
  • Secrets, missions, and upgrades reward your curiosity and mastery.
  • You customize Alex’s combat approach and grapple with the psychological toll of wielding such power, adding layers to his character.
  • The combination of chaotic combat, open-world freedom, and character progression with depth creates an exhilarating and endlessly replayable experience.

Many games struggle to balance an all-powerful character with engaging gameplay. Prototype, however, sidesteps this pitfall entirely. Instead, it embraces the sheer joy of unleashing unbridled power on a sprawling open world that becomes your playground. The result? Non-stop, exhilarating action that keeps you hooked from start to finish.

The Chaotic Combat

Fighting Tanks in Prototype with Claws
Fighting Tanks With Claws

Prototype may not have the strongest of the stories, but it still delivers on all of the tropes you come to expect from a game like this. There are shadow governments and shady experiments that turn our main character into a walking weapon. You play Alex Mercer, an amnesiac who can absorb and mimic anyone he consumes.

I do believe, Alex has the gnarliest and coolest-looking powers in any video game. He looks like his powers were pulled straight out of a main villain from Resident Evil games. This translates into gameplay as a gloriously chaotic combat system.

Black Light Monsters in Prototype
Black Light Monsters

Imagine tearing through enemies with razor-sharp claws, morphing into a hulking brute to smash through concrete walls, or raining down biological devastation from the sky. You even have several area-of-effect attacks, that look equally gnarly and can cause severe damage.

Prototype embraces this power fantasy, letting you unleash many destructive abilities on a vast battlefield. However, the combat isn’t just about button mashing.

The developers cleverly introduce enemy types with similar or even enhanced versions of Alex’s powers, leading to thrilling showdowns between Titans.

You have a huge arsenal of superhuman abilities to draw from, and you will end up using all of them. Different Black Light-infected enemy types require different powers to defeat them. This keeps the combat dynamic and forces you to adapt your tactics on the fly.

Moreover, the game is relentless and will keep throwing enemies at you, unless you decide to morph into someone else and hide in plain sight.

The Open-World Is Your Playground

Open World Map New York in Prototype
Open World New York

One of the most important things this game gets right is the open world. This game would have died instantly if the open world wasn’t designed especially for Alex Mercer.

Every car and helicopter will explode and Alex leaves a crater in the ground every time he lands. The sprawling cityscape of New York City becomes your playground in Prototype.

Unlike many open-world games that funnel you down a specific path, Prototype lets you truly explore its vast environment. Want to scale the iconic Chrysler Building and launch yourself off the top? Go for it. Want to go on a destruction spree, destroying everything that moves in front of you? Feel free.

This freedom of movement and approach to exploration adds a layer of depth and replayability to the experience. It never felt as if I wasn’t playing as an overpowered being.

No matter how I chose to tackle the open world, the sense of unbridled power and the joy of playing as a biological weapon never stopped coming.

As the game progresses you are given the ability to fly or glide across the city. It keeps the gameplay fresh and adds a whole new mechanic to how you can traverse this huge open world. 

Gliding Powers
Gliding Through Open World

But the open world isn’t just a backdrop for destruction. It’s filled with secrets to uncover, missions to complete, and hidden upgrades waiting to be discovered.

This encourages you to explore every corner, constantly rewarding your curiosity and pushing you to master Alex’s ever-growing arsenal of abilities.

Character Progression

While the initial focus is on acquiring raw power, Prototype goes beyond a simple power fantasy. The game has a surprising number of biological powers, however, the game never overwhelms you with them at once.

As you progress, you unlock new abilities and consume enemies with unique skills, allowing you to customize Alex’s combat approach.

Climbing Buildings
Climbing Buildings

This grants you a sense of agency and lets you tailor him to your preferred playstyle. More importantly, the game explores the psychological cost of wielding such immense power.

Alex grapples with the memories he absorbs, blurring the line between human and monster. This internal conflict adds depth to his character and prevents him from becoming a one-dimensional powerhouse.

Why Prototype Lives On

Prototype’s success lies in its masterful blend of these three elements. The chaotic combat keeps the action exhilarating, the open-world environment provides endless freedom, and the character progression system adds depth and customization.

While the story might not be its strongest suit, Prototype shines by letting players revel in the thrill of wielding immense power in a wide-open sandbox. This is why, despite its age, Prototype remains a captivating experience for anyone seeking a dose of unadulterated, chaotic fun.

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