Prototype 2 Review
A good romp through NYC that falls a little bit short.
When I first played the original Prototype game back in 2009, I thought that developer Radical Entertainment had gone insane. Here was a game where I had to run around a city and basically amputate or destroy everything in sight. And while the game did have a few bugs and quips of its own, I did have a ridiculously good time playing it. Fast forward a few years and we’re here again with Prototype 2, which aims to once again lure players into a delicious mix of gore and violence. Oh and throw in a few flying tanks for good measure.
If you weren’t lucky enough to play the original game, there is a ‘Prototype Recap’ option available which talks you through the events that unfolded in the first game. You originally played as Alex Mercer, who was infected with the Blacklight Virus and set out to get to the bottom of things. In Prototype 2,you play as Sergeant James Heller, who lost his wife and daughter to what became known as the ‘Mercer virus’. His emotions in turmoil, he is discharged from duty but quickly reinstated and sent to the Red Zone, one of the most infected areas of New York City. It is there he meets Alex Mercer, and tries his best to enact his revenge for the loss of his family. But you soon learn that Mercer isn’t the real enemy, and thanks to a little slip of the virus from Mercer, things soon start to get interesting.
While the general population has been cornered off into sections for their own supposed safety, they are in reality just being used a test subjects for Blackwatch’s various biological experiments. Heller then sets out on a rampage to get into Blackwatch and find those responsible for the chaos ruling the city.
From that point onwards, you’re eased into Heller’s new abilities, such as increased attack speed and strength, and of course the ability to mutate your hands into claws to shred your enemies into pieces. As you progress through the game you can of course unlock various new abilities in a number of ways. Completing main story missions will unlock new DNA for you to evolve further, while attacking and absorbing certain experiments or key targets upgrade current combat skills or provide new offensive tactics. You can also locate lost Blackwatch agents in the city who carry vital tidbits of information – find enough of these and you’re granted an upgrade.
Once you’ve settled into the story and met a few key characters, the gameplay juggles around a bit to try and keep things interesting. Your missions start off being simple ones where you hunt down a particular target and absorb them for snippets of information (which then lead you to further targets) or sneaking into enemy bases undetected. One of Heller’s abilities is that he can absorb any person in the game and then immediately take on their disguise – this is essential if you want to sneak into enemy bases undetected or use terminals to obtain classified information, which you have to do quite frequently.
The story does try to pace itself as best as possible, but in some areas the cutscenes and dialogue are just so drawn out that you’re almost itching to get back to the gory action. Heller’s swearing also tends to get a bit irritating after a while, but thankfully the brute doesn’t talk for very long before you can get back to mauling tanks and terrifying civilians. Speaking of tanks, as with the first game you have the option to hijack military vehicles for your own amusement or to use in various missions. You can quickly rip off weapons or destroy the vehicle entirely, but there are several instances where hiding in a tank when under assault is a good idea. For the most part the game doesn’t try to pigeonhole you into just following the main story – there are enough side missions and extra things to discover to keep you occupied for a good portion of time.
The graphics on the game look fairly decent, with cutscenes animating well and character models looking somewhat realistic at times. The live-action flashback sequences are a nice touch and help distract you from the game’s occasional texture clipping that always seems to happen when you’re jumping from a building onto the streets below. The background score isn’t obtrusive and for the most part goes unnoticed until you are spotted by enemies and the music changes to a fast-paced score to compliment the frantic escape.
Prototype 2 is a fair follow-up to the original and fixes some of the combat and targeting issues that plagued the first game. While a lot of fun can be had rampaging around the city, you ultimately have to decide if you really care enough about Heller to pursue his former captors and seek revenge or just roam around the city causing mayhem. Thankfully with a vast city to explore, that choice is up to you.