Prototype 2 Review
“Catastrophe befalls once again.”
Prototype 2, developed by Radical Entertainment, is a sequel to the original Prototype released in 2009. Prototype is an open world action-adventure video game with mysterious viruses and experiments as it’s main theme.
After the events of the prequel, calmness had begun to spread towards Manhattan, and the Mercer virus is rumored to have been gone. However, this is just a calm before the storm as almost a year later, one of the Infected creatures suddenly emerged among the crowds and in queue, the long-gone Alex Mercer had been spotted.
Prototype 2 follows a new protagonist, James Heller, an ex-military soldier, who got infected by the Mercer virus, but somehow gained control of the power. Together with this newfound power, he will unravel the mystery and conspiracies behind Blackwatch and will perhaps improve the situation which is somehow constantly turning from bad to worse.
The story in Prototype 2 feels repetitive, with similar settings and atmospheres as the prequel. The plot begins with some mystery, as Heller is seen moving about here and there, consuming important targets in order to gain some valuable information. After the process of revelation, comes the process of elimination. From then onwards, he kept on consuming and killing everyone who was related in the Blacklight virus project, with his ultimate goal of vengeance against Mercer in mind.
If there’s something good about the game, it’s the characters, especially James Heller and Alex Mercer themselves. During the prequel, Mercer was an especially stoic and dry character. In contrast, Heller is more expressive, and at times, humorously sarcastic. However, it is ironic but what makes Mercer’s character more colorful in Prototype 2 is the fact that he turns heel, and he actually performs a better job as a bad guy. Although there’s not much explanation as to why Mercer’s aim suddenly changed from stopping the virus to spreading it, aside from reading the comics that is.
Also, by making Alex Mercer the main antagonist, it makes the final boss fight much more conclusive, since you’re fighting an ex-lead character who were developed full-time in the prequel. Mercer’s own final boss fight in the original Prototype doesn’t even feel much like a “boss”. You’re fighting against some random (albeit stronger) Infected which he had already dealt with countless times in your playthrough, so in contrast to Jame’s Heller final boss fight in Prototype 2, the prequel’s final boss fight feels pretty dull in comparison.
Although you will be controlling James Heller, gameplays feel more or less the same. You will sprinting and jumping about the city; smashing buildings and vehicles, killing Infected, consuming people, destroying labs and so on. Minor changes were made throughout and some of these are a welcome addition. The new “hunting” makes it easier to consume your targets. With it, you can scan the whole area and once you have your target, dive down and consume.
Other then recurring powers like the claws and tendrils, there are also a number of new combat abilities like the bio-bomb, which is an excellent skill to use in stealth attacks. By secretly infecting someone with the virus, you can quickly walk away, while watching the person in agony and explodes (quite literally) and destroys everyone within the radius. It’s stealthy, yet destructive, making the whole gameplay much more interesting. The devastator attack returns, and as it’s name implies, it’s still as destructive as ever. You can also now tame the Infected themselves and use them to assist you in combat. Brutes, who were one of your nemesis were now your greatest arsenal. Either way, Prototype 2 adds an already huge array of attacks in the original Prototype 2, in addition to new ones.
Most of the optional missions available via Blacknet terminals were fun at first but halfway through, the feel incredibly repetitive. Hunt VIPs, consume them, destroy respective labs, etc.. You will be doing almost the same thing for nearly every optional missions. However, it is still recommended to play them since you can obtain a fair amount of EP (Evolution Points) and could even perhaps gain some much needed mutations. There are also a number of interesting ways to obtain more EP, like field ops, black boxes, clearing lairs and so on.
The AIs also feels incredibly silly. Without disguise, you will be easily spotted, but with a proper disguise, it works so efficiently it’s almost stupid. Donning on either a scientist or a military disguise, you can let people see you running along buildings, leaping 20-feet into the air, sprinting faster then vehicles, gliding along the air, etc.. and they won’t even suspect a thing.
The game’s difficulty is another matter too, as it’s ridiculously easy, even when set on the highest difficulty. These makes the fights somewhat dull as a result.
Likewise with the original Prototype, Prototype 2 creates an idealistic sandbox world. With such a world, you can abuse your supernatural abilities to the maximum. You can run, jump and glide anywhere you like without the slightest restrictions. The world of Prototype 2 promotes free-flowing movements and the highly detailed New York city makes messing around the place even more fun.
During story cutscenes, visuals are shown in high contrast; black and white with a bit of bright colors like red and blue. This creates a vague atmosphere yet a dynamic effect at the same time. It gives the impression that the characters were still trying to figure out all of this mysterious mess.
Ultimately, Prototype 2 is a fun game but it doesn’t leave a good lasting impression. To me, Prototype 2 is more about having fun destroying instead of the stories, and with such a wide array of offenses, you can go about your destroying activities with glee and style. Choose your method of destruction, and let loose!