PrototypeHD Biohazard Bundle is a major discouragement
Without any notice of arrival – the remasters of Prototype and its 2012 sequel appeared in the Xbox One store – almost as if you didn’t want to be caught. Looking at it is a standard remastering: both games run at native 1080p, improving image quality over the sub-720p versions of the PS3 and Xbox 360. However, everything else is the same: each game maintains the same viewing distances , textures and shadows.
We have an HD remaster that quickly stuns the negative. The first one runs at 30fps with adaptive v-sync, dropping to 20s with tearing when explosions occur. You can play – solid in general – but without ambition considering the repetitive design of the world.
Even by the latest PS3 and 360 standards, the animations, effects and textures don’t hold up very well on the new console and it’s hard to see why this game doesn’t run at a fixed 30fps. Seriously, considering the age, it is a complete dismay that the programmers have not achieved 60fps. For the rest, it is an empty conversion.
If the first one disappoints, Prototype 2 on Xbox One is a mess. From the start, the cutscenes hiccup a frame whenever the camera changes its angle (apparently due to the change in a lighting passage). Ascending to the skyscrapers of Manhattan shows the game running between 20-25fps with a very intrusive screen-tear. It is among the worst Xbox One games to date, despite its modest origins. Despite the more ambitious physics and lighting than the original, it’s amazing to see the frame-rate at One get so low.
The worst is how the sequel on One compares with the originals. Neither PS3 nor 360 has triumphed in this; on the Microsoft console we had a lot of tearing and worse frame rates, the PS3 won the original showdown. In direct comparison, Xbox One has difficulties to match 360, going as low as 18fps when flying over the city (on the original consoles it ran at 20fps fixed with double-buffered v-sync).
In gameplay, the frame-rate on One is far behind that of the previous Microsoft console. In one scene, the 360 wins with a 4fps advantage in a fight against a tank, the One is 23fps near the end. The increase in resolution to 1080p is a bonus for the current console but when the fight scenes are very slow and the visuals are sobbing, we are left with a clearer version of the original without any increase in gameplay. We don’t have as much fun as we would like.
Worse is that the PS3 version beats the Xbox One version. In our tests, the Sony machine runs without tearing and still manages to beat both machines at the frame rate. Unfortunately, this is another aspect in which the remaster fails: the tearing is horrible at One and rarely disappears. On PS3 we smoothly navigate the gameplay, without tearing – even with lower resolution.
Putting it all together, it really is a disheartening effort. We have an increase in resolution but the core assets are the same. A lack of promotion before launch makes sense now; none of the remasters triumphs. A complete overhaul of each one’s visual design was not expected but as a rudimentary conversion we expected a solid 30fps on Xbox One. A PlayStation 4 version of each is on the way and if there is hope, it is that these versions will not get any worse.