Prototype 2 - Review - May 26th 2012

Prototype 2 comes to us from the same team that brought us the first Prototype, so it's certainly in good hands. This sequel is set a year after the first game, and follows a new character, James Heller. Heller is a military soldier working with Blackwatch, Gentek's private army. He went back to the military after his wife and daughter had been killed by the virus, which this time is being spread by Alex Mercer, the protagonist from the first game. In the first Prototype, Gentek, a stereotypical evil pharmaceutical corporation, released a virus in New York City, of all places, which altered the human form and turned the whole place into a mess.


Alex Mercer was a victim of this virus, but his DNA reacted differently and instead gave him super human powers. Well, Alex is back and has decided that he wants to change the world and make everybody like him. While out on a mission, James Heller and his team investigate the recent viral outbreak. James and his squad run across Alex Mercer, whom James blames for the death of his wife and daughter. Heller chases after Alex Mercer and ends up also being given these crazy super human shape shifting powers.

Stealing powers from enemies is a lot of fun.

The gameplay of Prototype 2 is very similar to that of its predecessor. Players spend most of the time running around a very detailed depiction of New York City going from mission to mission, and just causing havoc. With Heller's new abilities, players can run, jump, and shape shift like a mad man. Like Alex Mercer in the first game, Heller has some very destructive forms that he can take. The claws make a come back, and they can cut through Blackwatch goons like a hot knife through butter... if butter bled all over the place, that is. There are a few other forms that are unlocked throughout the game, but they all do the same thing, which is basically murder anyone and everyone in sight. The cool part about Prototype 2 and all of these forms, is that you can assign two of them at once, so that you can add another flavor to your cocktail of carnage.

Players can also find, grab, and eat every character that they come across in the game, which allows for more than just taking their form. You can sneak into Blackwatch outposts, no problem. For an action game, there is a lot of sneaking that you have to do. Though, it's a different kind of sneaking, being that you eat everyone and take on their form, picking off soldiers one by one. There are also specially marked characters which can grant new powers, extra experience, or information to Heller in his quest for revenge. When players happened to find, and consume, a character that has a power upgrade, the difference can actually be seen. The forms that Heller takes look more gnarly after gaining the ability. Some characters that can be consumed also have abilities for more mundane things, like a rifle or helicopter skill, but these are all rather lame in comparison to the abilities that Heller has on his own.

This is guarenteed to be gory.

Besides happening upon marked characters that give abilities and grinding your way from level to level, there are other ways in which Heller can level up and improve himself. Throughout the city there are collectibles and pickups, as well as side missions which grant specific ability improvements, such as movement or offensive abilities. These can be upgraded by completing the side missions. The upgrades come in the form of perks. For example: ten percent more damage from aerial attacks, or quicker health regeneration, or immunity to small weapons fire. Very small, but very helpful things. Most of the abilities can be gained by going through the side missions, which are more interesting that finding randomly placed collectibles about New York City. The graphics of Prototype 2 are quite good. Everything is detailed realistically and all of the mutated citizens and monsters are grotesque and disgusting, as they should be. When players finally reach Manhattan Island, the virus has taken over most of the city and the environment has dramatically changed, looking almost alien. Everything has very intelligent use of color, which makes the environment and characters really pop on screen. During important cut scenes for story missions, everything is black and white except for objects that are red, or a certain shade of red. Although it's a rather unnecessarily artsy touch to the game, it still looks neat.

However, the most disappointing thing about Prototype 2 is the sheer laziness of the script. It wasn't offensive, so much as annoying to hear the F word that many times. Every time a character spoke, they dropped the F-bomb, or some other curse word. I know that the situation is crazy and I would probably be cursing my mouth off as well, but honestly, it was just plain stupid how much they swore in this game. It's kind of tough to argue that video games should be accepted as an art form, when we have unintelligently written plots like this being considered the norm.

Now that is a possey.

All in all though, Prototype 2 is a solid game. The gameplay is loads of fun, and it's very entertaining just to run around the city and mess things up. Unfortunately, you have to suffer through the lame story to unlock all the different powers that Heller can get. I'm not normally one for senseless violence or to just tool around in a sandbox game like this, but I actually had fun. Definitely worth a look.


Scott Pell

 

Gameplay:

Not much has changed from the first game, but this is certainly not a bad thing.

Audio:

The story is pretty rubbish, and so is the voice acting.

Graphics:

The art design is actually pretty cool, but not mind blowing.

Longevity:

Once it is over, it is over.

     

Final Score:



Definitely worth a look.

 

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Activision
Radical Entertainment
Out Now
PC PS3 360