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OMG! Level 15! - Level 15
I have played hundreds, possibly thousands, of video games throughout my life, but Prototype 2 was the first time I have ever skipped every cut scene in a game. Even the worst video game stories have demanded my attention, but with Prototype 2, it just seemed like the right time to completely ignore the story.I love jumping in games. I love platformers, but even more than that, I love jumping from absurdly high heights to the ground. I will never forget the first time I played Spider-Man 2, impatiently pushing through the tutorial just so I could do the thing I saw looped on the Game Stop in-store video hundreds of times each working shift: Spider-Man taking a flying leap from a tall building and landing on the ground. It was every bit as amazing as I hoped it would be. I experienced similar moments of exhilaration when playing Crackdown, InFamous, and the original Prototype. The one thing that separated Protoype from the aforementioned games above is that I didn’t play it for more than a few hours. Crackdown doesn’t have a story, so there is very little getting in the way of all the jumping and shooting, and Infamous has a very compelling story to accent the vertical action. With Prototype though, the cut scenes kept me from getting to what I wanted to do, which was jump really freaking high. I got frustrated.I would see Bryan Vore playing Prototype 2 in the office while he was reviewing it, and I would think, “man, that looks cool, but the first one never really grabbed me.” I decided to take the game home over a weekend and play it, but I had no intention of beating it. I started the game up, controlling the player character (whose name I do not remember) while he ran after the guy from the first game without any special powers. You’re just a regular dude.I made it through the opening, and the first cut scene started playing. Maybe it’s because my gaming time has become limited living with a newborn, or maybe it had just been too long since I played a good jumping game, but something in my brain clicked and I realized I didn’t have to wade through the story. I hit the A button, and the cut scene paused and a prompt came on screen that said "hit back to skip, or start to continue." I hit the back button, and another cut scene started. I hit A to pause and the prompt came up again, so I hit the back button again. I had to do this three or four more times before I finally took control of my character. I did some combat training, and another cut scene started. By this time, I had learned to hit the A button and the back button in quick succession, and I kept doing so until I was in the city. I held down the right trigger, ran up the side of a building, and jumped off as soon as I reached the top. As I soared to the street below, I felt confident in my decision.
A very familiar prompt.
From there, the game became less about my character's narrative motivations, and all about my personal motivations to level up my character. A marker on the map was no longer an opportunity to find out more about the story. It was an opportunity that would give me more experience to add to my jumping height and traversal capabilities.I originally had no expectations of beating Prototype 2, but I ended up playing the entire game this way, skipping every cut scene except for one. After fighting the dude from the first game on top of a roof for some reason (don’t ask me why, I have no idea), I did watch the end cut scene. I felt like I had earned that, even if I didn’t really want it.After watching the end cut scene and skipping the credits, I jumped right back in, grabbing everything I had missed trying to grab every Achievement. I like Achievements a lot, but the motivation to collect them had nothing to do with my gamer score. I just wanted to play the game more. In the end, I finished the game missing only two achievements, both of which would have required me to replay the game. I have no idea what happened in Prototype 2, but I do know I could jump really high, run really fast, and uppercut helicopters, which is all I really wanted from the game.
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