Very violent and profane action game with extreme gore.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Our hero is amoral. He doesn’t seem to care who gets injured or how badly, just as long as he can get one step closer to finding out what happened to him and how to get revenge. 


Extraordinarily gory. The guns and rocket launchers, which are everywhere, are perhaps the least violent part of the game. Far more disturbing are the claws that our hero grows from his hands and proceeds to use to shred people into ragged, spurting bits. He can also cause spikes to explode from the ground, impaling foes, and send out tentacles from his body to skewer multiple enemies. Every character on screen is a potential target, including pedestrians (there’s even a civilian body count report at the end of each mission).

Not applicable

Extreme profanity, including not just frequent occurrences of words like "f-ck" and "sh-t," but several surprisingly creative variants. Virtually every cut scene features multiple instances of words these words.


Most of the in-game advertising is for fake products and services, though we did notice the occasional real-world brand on some billboards, such as DC Comics, which is producing a graphic novel based on the game.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this game is absolutely not intended for children. It is exceptionally gory, thanks to the protagonist's ability to grow claws and use them to slice through enemies. Streets often become painted in blood and littered with body parts. It's also extremely profane. Topping things off, our hero is morally vacuous. His only interest appears to be revenge, and he doesn't care who he has to hurt to get it -- including innocent bystanders. Even something as mundane as walking down the street often becomes an unavoidable exercise in aggression as our avatar automatically shoves everyone out of his way.

What's it about?

PROTOTYPE is an open world action game designed for adult consumption. As Alex Mercer, a man who wakes up in a Manhattan morgue with super-human powers and a hunger for revenge, players lay waste to New York, killing scores of military personnel and pedestrians in horrific ways that often involve impalement or dismemberment. Civilians are often caught in the crossfire, sometimes dying in greater numbers than Mercer's legitimate enemies.

For adults able to stomach the gore and questionable morality, there's plenty to do. Players will spend much of their time leaping from rooftop to rooftop, \"consuming\" enemies to gain memories of Mercer's missing past. You can also search out side quests, such as checkpoint races, and learn new abilities, like how to glide and generate a shield. Completing everything in the game takes dozens of hours.

Is it any good?


Though not exactly original -- there are lots of adventure games that allow players to freely explore massive cities -- Prototype is nonetheless well constructed and surprisingly easy to play. Players can move through the streets unhindered, automatically leaping over obstacles such as cars and running up the sides of buildings in spectacular fashion. And while Mercer has enough different moves to make controlling him a bit more complex than the average action game, they are introduced slowly, giving players time to master his claws, kicks, dodges, and leaps.

Prototype does, however, begin to drag after a while. The missions tend to fall into a few different categories and eventually become repetitive and predictable. Plus, there's something distasteful in the fact that even careful players will accidentally kill hundreds of pedestrians along the way. The narrative could have been much more powerful had players been given the option to try to make Mercer a little less amoral; You ought to have greater control over whether or not you injure innocents. Still, its scope is remarkable, and its action leaves an impression. Worth a look for mature gamers with a taste for the genre.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. When is it appropriate? When is it not? Is it more or less offensive if it appears sensational and without purpose? Do you prefer it when violent games offer some sort of morality meter, so that players are encouraged to avoid civilian casualties? Do you believe the type and extent of violence in this game is warranted within its narrative context?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Available online?Not available online
Release date:June 9, 2009
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

This review of Prototype was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 9 years old April 10, 2011

Just fine

I love this game, but it is the most gory game I have played I still consider it a good game, fine for 14/15+.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bycerealkiller189 December 10, 2011

Not that good,but still deserving of four stars.

Not extreme by much,since it happens just at every stop,your kids will soon just learn to get used to it.if you can't get used to a bit of violence in the world,you never will grow up .i play this game at least six seven hours every day for the past two years(I got it in 2009 when it came out)and I don't get violent I don't get into fights though I do get intro arguments and curse at times but these are very seldom and almost not at all.if your kids want to play just let them play.
Teen, 13 years old Written byxXcoleXemoXx July 19, 2010

prototype:desctruction royale

ok this is an AWESOME game...however it is extremely gory and bloody.they say f*ck and sh*t ALOT and the main character alex mercer is uncaring and brutally destroys everything just to find out who made him into a monster.however, if your child is 'emo' like me or even 'goth' they will love it. and most emos and goths have seen gory things anyway because its the kind of thing we like...and alex is pretty much an emo even though he doesnt dress the part. so it just depends on how mature your kid is and if they panic when they see blood DO NOT GET IT FOR THEM because blood is the most common thing you see in this game.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing


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