Saturday, July 25, 2009


by Radical Entertainment, published by Activision for XBox 360

Prototype is a game I was looking forward to a great deal; I mean, it is an open-world game starring a super-powered character from the makers of The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction! It's Ultimate Destruction 2 only you've got over-the-top shape-changing powers instead of just being incredibly strong!

What's frustrating about the game is that it does so many things right. The opening sequence, giving you a tease of what's to come later, is about as well handled as these things can be. And even when you flash back to the beginning of the narrative, the game plays brilliantly. But the game lost me fairly early on, and I'm not likely to go back to it.

What lost me? There's a mission where I break into an office building, and then I am chased out of the building by what looked to be four monsters to an army base. I enter the army base level (being a separate environment than the open world), one of the monsters follows me. I kill it with the rocket launchers left about conveniently (not sarcasm; it is military base, after all), absorb it, and gain claws. Then the other three jump in, and I was learning how fight these things, and I die a lot, but I come back at the checkpoint time and I have these claws now that are way better than my fists if not quite as good as the rocket launcher and eventually I beat all the monsters that were chasing me awesome!

And more monsters jump in the base, breaking the deal I suddenly realize I never had with the game that there were four monsters. I die again, and I have Ultimate Destruction on the bookcase next to me, Crackdown on the bookcase across the room, and Infamous sitting next to my roommate's PlayStation 3, and I realize that while it was fun for the couple of hours I played it, I don't want to play Prototype any more or even ever again and go to bed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Final Crisis

by Grant Morrison, JG Jones et al; published by DC Comics

I originally started writing this as a comment on David Uzumeri's post on issue 7 over on Funnybook Babylon when it got way too long and digressing. Now that I've had a little time to digest the whole of Final Crisis (minus Legion of Three Worlds, obviously), I find that the channel surfing style I've seen mentioned on the internet makes it feels like Morrison tried to emulate how every other capital-C capital-E Crossover Event ties in to every other book in the line, only this time DC never bothered to publish (or even plan to ever have) most of the tie-ins.

Take Aquaman - clearly, the currently running Aquaman ongoing series tied in to Final Crisis and told the story of Arthur's return to Atlantis in its hour of need, except - oops, that title doesn't even exist and was probably never even going to. Mr Terrific & his OMAC Army getting from Antarctica in Resist back to the Castle (and what happened to the OMACs until #7)? Checkmate #32 and #33, also never even conceived.

Despite my snarkiness, this works for me. The DC Big Events used to only last for one month, so the only time I was old enough to have the money and young enough to not have something better to spend it on than a comic book event and every tie-in issue was DC One Million (competing would have been things like Metal Gear Solid), which even then still had a few gaps in it (although that annoyed me at the time - "I GOT EVERYTHING AND YOU *STILL* DIDN'T SHOW ALL THE TITANS ESCAPING THE ROCKET RED SUITS?" - so part of me understands some of the complaints I see on the internets), so any other event I've ever read always has such gaps. What DOES bother me are the ways what ought to be major events are unclear - is Mr Terrific dead? (I don't think he is...) Hawkman and Hawkgirl? (I think so...) Final Crisis is magnificent and the rapid-fire quick cutting works, but simple failures in storytelling - in clearly showing what ought to be seen - keep it from being perfect.