Prototype HD Biohazard Bundle is a huge disappointment
Without any pre-launch announcement – not a single word of warning – the remasters of Prototype and its 2012 sequel quietly hit the Xbox One store earlier in the week, as if no one responsible wanted to be caught on the spot. . Many might wonder why. On its facade we find the typical remastering: both versions work at native 1080p, increasing the image quality of the Xbox 360 PS3 sub-720p. However, everything else remains the same as before: the two games maintain the same drawing distance as on previous consoles, and the quality of the textures and shadows is identical.
If what we are looking at is an HD remastering by the numbers, the situation changes slightly for the worse. The remastering of the first Prototype runs at 30fps with adaptive v-sync on Xbox One, which drops to the mid-20s with tearing when things start to explode. It’s generally solid – and playable enough – but it’s unambitious, considering the simple and repetitive design of its world.
Even the standard animations, effects, and textures on the PS3 and Xbox 360 don’t hold up very well on current consoles, and it’s hard to understand why such a game isn’t locked at 30fps. In fact, due to the years that have passed since its release, it’s a real disappointment that the developers didn’t go all out and target 60fps. Otherwise the original game is passable in the remastering, although it is a somewhat limited conversion.
If the remastering of the former is a disappointment, Prototype 2 is almost a suffering on Xbox One. From the beginning, cutscenes lose a frame whenever the camera cuts to a new angle (apparently due to the lighting changing each time) . When we emerge from the Manhattan skyscraper complex, most of our travels around the world run at 20-25fps, with highly intrusive screen-tearing. It is without question among the worst performing games to appear on Xbox One thus far, despite its relatively modest origin. Although there is more ambitious lighting and physics compared to the original Prototype, it is shocking to see how the frame-rate on Xbox One remains consistently low in this remastering of the sequel.
The real salt in the wound is the way the Xbox One makes Prototype 2 work when compared to the last-gen versions. Neither on PS3 nor on Xbox 360 was it an example of great performance, exactly; on the Microsoft console it suffered from a lot of tearing and a worse frame-rate in general, yielding the victory to the PS3 version in the comparison we did at the time. Comparing them directly, Xbox One suffers even to match the 360 version in some points, and the frame-rate can drop to 18fps while we fly through the city, when in previous consoles it was blocked at 20fps by means of a double-buffer v- sync.
When it comes to gameplay, the Xbox One frame-rate is interchangeable with Microsoft’s previous platform, and it lags behind far too often. In one scene, the 360 leads by a margin of 4fps during a tank battle, while on Xbox One it stays at 23fps when the fight is over. Upgrading the resolution to 1080p is an obvious plus on current hardware, but when Xbox One combat sequences perform so poorly, all we’re left with is a version that looks a bit clearer than the original and that doesn’t. It offers no gameplay advantage over 360 and PS3 games. We are not going to have fun anywhere near as we should.
Worse still is the fact that the PS3 version exposes the Xbox One version in playability. In our tests, the Sony console works without any tearing, and still manages to maintain a consistently better frame-rate than both Xbox consoles, new and old. And unfortunately this is another area where the remastering falls short: the tearing is horrible on Xbox One, and rarely disappears. The PS3 edition is much smoother, and also tear-free, even at its lower resolution.
In short, it is really disappointing. All we are left with here is a resolution boost, with the original materials exactly identical, it seems. The lack of any marketing campaign is something that now makes sense; It is not up to scratch. We weren’t expecting them to totally redo every visual design for both games, but as a rudimentary conversion, we expected it to run at a solid 30fps on Xbox One. The PlayStation 4 version is on the way too, and if there’s anything that might shed some hope to this project, is that it is quite unlikely that the Sony console will work even worse.