Developer: Radical Entertainment
Platform: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: Out Now
ESRB: M for Mature
This review is based on the PS3 version of the game
True to what a sequel should ideally accomplish, Prototype 2 essentially takes everything that was good in the previous Prototype game and makes it even better while making everything that was bad in the previous game marginally not as bad the second time around.
The story centers on a new protagonist named James Heller, a soldier stationed in Iraq when the whole of New York is overwhelmed by a new resurgence of the virus that plagued the first game. After getting an early release from service, he comes home to find his wife dead and daughter missing (presumed dead) – by the hands of the infected monsters running rampant throughout New York. He is then led to believe that the source of the new string of outbreaks is none other than our previous hero, Alex Mercer.
After a brief skirmish where our Heller tries fighting him with nothing but a knife, Mercer easily overpowers him and then infects him with the virus, making him into a prototype like himself. Now Heller must try to unravel the mystery revolving around the cause of the virus, the mystery of Mercer, and how to stop the virus from spreading to the whole world – one bloody step at a time.
Thanks in part to the new stylized cutscenes and the narrative, I found the story as a whole a great deal more intriguing and personal than the first game's. Heller, despite his constant swearing, is a likable guy who is just a grief stricken man dealing with the loss of his loved ones and his rage. Even though he cause much death and destruction throughout the game, I found him a lot more likable than Mercer ever was in the first game. Speaking of Alex Mercer, his character in Prototype 2 is rather interesting and menacing. The games and methods he employs make him a far more convincing villain or master manipulator than heroic figure.
Gameplay-wise, Prototype 2 has the same visceral joy of its predecessor, but with more sense of power. As you complete missions and dispatch foes, you gain experience, and upon leveling up, you are granted an upgrade point you can invest in many of Heller“s basic skills, like a faster run speed or the ability to jump higher. And much like in the last game, Heller can also consume his enemies and take on their likenesses, skills, and memories which unlock new missions and quests that open up the story.
When you consume certain foes, like soldiers you can boost proficiency with guns, helicopters, or bazookas. But honestly, you will more likely use the special bio-weapons you get along the way of the game. As you progress through the story, you'll gain access to powers like razor sharp claws, a sword arm, and other nasty tools of death that can also be upgraded upon consuming certain infected monsters.
The nice thing is with each upgrade, you get an immediate result of your investment, so if you invest in the agility skills, you“ll notice a dramatic difference, like when you end up being able leap several stories into the air from a single jump. And even your bio-weapons change and become gnarly and aggressive when you evolve them. The entire system makes it so you can truly feel like Heller is becoming stronger and stronger.
In addition to the base powers, you can also access extra powers and perks by completing side missions. Some of them include being impervious to small fire-arms, gaining more damage from your attacks, or being able to reach your max running speed faster, and using these powers in battle is one of the best experiences in the game. It“s rather satisfying when you slice a soldier in two with a single swipe of your claws. Or grabbing an unsuspecting bystander and throwing them two football fields across the city.
And as a side note, I like the particular sense of realism Radical Entertainment added by having the targets get cut up from a single slash. Most games force you to repeatedly slash at someone before they drop, but in Prototype 2, if someone gets the full brunt of a giant, serrated, biological blade, they“re going to get cut open right down the middle.
However, the game is not without its moments of doldrums. While there are many missions and side missions to embark on, they usually all follow the same pattern of "sneak into the enemy base, kill the solider, then get the hell outâ€; â€œbreak into the enemy base, kill the monsters there, then get the hell outâ€; or â€œdisguise yourself as a soldier/scientist, consume an important solder/scientist, then get the hell out.â€
For a good three quarters of the game, those are the only iterations of mission you get and I found myself just going through the motions after a while. Secondly, the targeting system can get a bit wonky. There have been moments when I tried to stealth kill a soldier, only to accidentally grab a giant gas tank that was sitting next to my target – effectively breaking my cover. Lastly, while the camera usually does a good job keeping an eye on the action, when there“s a lot of enemies on the scene, it gets difficult to pinpoint a single target and I usually end up on the receiving end of several cheap shots as I get my bearings.
In spite of these moments, Prototype 2 does an excellent job of building on its predecessor with a compelling story, relatable character, and solidly written dialogue. If you“re a Prototype fan or just a fan of solid action games, you can“t go wrong with Prototype 2.
+ Sense of power
+ Great story
+ Gameplay is sharp and the world is fun to explore
- Repetitive mission
- Camera gets wonky at times
-Targeting can be a pain
Overall Score: 8 (out of 10)
Prototype 2 not only delivers on all that made the Prototype great, it surpasses it in just about every way possible.