Review: Prototype Biohazard Bundle (PS4)

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Title: Prototype Biohazard Bundle
Format: PlayStation Network Download (Prototype 7.7 GB) / (Prototype 2 9.3 GB)
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Radical Entertainment, Funlabs
Original MSRP: $49.99 (US), €49.99 (EU), £39.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
Prototype Biohazard Bundle is also available on Xbox One.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

The Prototype Biohazard Bundle includes all DLC that came with the original RADNET Edition of the game, as well as the majority of the in-game content offered through previous pre-orders.

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I never got round to playing either Prototype game when they released on the PlayStation 3, I was far too busy with games like inFAMOUS, Uncharted and even some Just Cause 2. The mediocre reviews, including one from PS Nation, didn’t compel me to ever grab them, even when on sale. I didn’t expect much when I booted up these new PlayStation 4 versions so what I found truly shocked me.

Gameplay:
I’ll refrain from dwelling on the poor story that’s supposed to drive your characters through these sandbox worlds as they do hardly anything to excuse the obscene violence and destruction that you cause throughout the game. You’ll barge past innocent civilians and wreck their cars far quicker than anyone in Street Fighter ever could. Your characters have immense strength and can easily throw people and vehicles great distances without even a second thought. This move can be used to wipe out the many generic enemies you’ll encounter and your move set grows to include many other devastating attacks.

Cause enough carnage and a strike team will be dispatched to your location. When I first heard this I thought I was in for a big fight, but all it took was a projectile or two to easily down the incoming attack helicopter and the armed team inside. Unlike the far superior inFAMOUS games you can use actual weapons, but they are nowhere near as satisfying as the special abilities you’ll learn. Stealth can often come into play as you can absorb NPC’s and take their form, allowing you to quickly hide from pursuers by changing form when out of sight. This even works when strolling through a heavily armed compound and using fingerprint scanners if you manage to get a person with high enough clearance.

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Traversing the open world environment is better and faster than I expected. Knowing where you are isn’t so easy, especially in the first game as it seems like there are only a few building types that are copy and pasted throughout the entire map. Prototype 2 does a slightly better job of building a more realistic and natural city but it still pales in comparison compared with any inFAMOUS or Grand Theft Auto game.

Missions in both games become boring and follow the same patterns which usually involve lots of killing. Prototype 2 does offer some extra variety and challenges that go towards unlocking upgrades and leaderboards for some friendly competition. Both games seems to have an excellent premise and some gruesome special moves but fail to deliver on almost everything else.

… I can’t help but question Activision’s motives …
As a remaster these two titles don’t seem to offer what other remastered games have. From The Last of Us and Grand Theft Auto V to Tomb Raider and even Oddworld, all these games have warranted an upgrade, shown some remarkable visual improvements, and altered and upgraded various things that improved the games in many ways. But it would seem the developers at Funlabs only ported over the exact same games. In fact the supposed ‘improved HD renders’ and ‘high-res effects’ seem to make the first game worse, as if you’re viewing the game through a thin layer of Vaseline.

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Prototype 2 is a better and more refined game than its predecessor but an average game overall. It looks far better than the first iteration but still feels like a PS3 game and doesn’t really take advantage of the PS4 to add anything to the experience. I can’t help but question Activision’s motives for releasing this bundle, as every other remaster from other companies is a highly rated game to begin with whereas the Prototype games are average at best.

… a small improvement with frame rates …
Visuals:
The glut of remasters and definitive editions of late have shown many gamers that the older games can still warrant our attention. Upgrades in visuals and small gameplay tweaks can be enough to give a last generation game sufficient appeal to sell another half million copies. Every game company and publisher seems to have noticed the further back they look for potential remasters the more that has to be done to make them acceptable. Unless you’re Activision and Funlabs it would seem. A straight port of a six year old PS3 game just isn’t good enough.

There is a small improvement with frame rates for both games and the second looks marginally better overall. I didn’t notice any of the screen tearing that became annoying on the PS3 version of Prototype 2 when I played it for comparison. For the people like me who couldn’t bear to play much of the first game in this bundle you’ll be happy to see a recap video in the main menu of the second title. The first Prototype game looks painfully old now and there is nothing compelling about it.

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Audio:
This department is exactly the same. Average sound effects and an abundance of swearing slowly begins to annoy and irritate. Radio transmissions and calls come through the DualShock 4’s speaker and add a layer of depth and involvement to the game, which was a pleasant addition.

Online/Multiplayer:
These games are single-player only with no online component.

… it looks and feels like an ugly cash-in …
Conclusion:
The Prototype Biohazard Bundle is a big disappointment. While both games are playable and have a silky smooth framerate now, neither have been improved enough to make this bundle seem worthwhile. I feel Activision has tarnished the surprisingly good quality of remasters that have graced this latest generation and they should be ashamed. Prototype really shows its age on the PlayStation 4 and it looks and feels like an ugly cash-in.

Prototype 2 with its few redeeming qualities manages to drag this bundle from the ‘Bad’ and ‘Poor’ scores to scraping the midway scale of ‘Average.’ For the right price and on its own, Prototype 2 is a run of the mill distraction and a somewhat enjoyable open world game. The Prototype Biohazard Bundle is a perfect example of more isn’t always better, it’s just a collection of decent ideas that tend to be rather bland and forgettable.

Score:
5.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Prototype

Prototype 2

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  • Oh dear. Would have been nice to see both games available separately as a download and the package on a disc.