Prototype 2 Review
Prototype is back and it brings with it a new protagonist in the form of generic marine James Heller. The premise is simple, Alex Mercer, Prototype’s original anti-hero, caused the deaths of Heller’s wife and daughter, and infected him with the same virus that has turned him into the embodiment of a Sheffield knife grinding factory. Now Heller is seeking revenge.
Actually the story isn’t really that important. Prototype 2 is a sand-box game and as such is merely a vessel for bloody and gratuitous violence, something that Radical have actually implemented fairly well. The game is set on the streets of New York, only this is not the New York that you or I know. This New York seems to be covered in a thick grey sludge and is populated with all kinds of enemies and mutants, and harmless passers-by all of which Heller mercilessly hacks through in pursuit of revenge. If you have played the original Prototype you will see some familiar tropes returning and also some new bad guys. You can still roundhouse helicopters, and you have access to all kinds of pointy new upgrades like a machirologist’s wet-dream.
The Good News About Prototype 2
If you care more about the action than the plot then this really is the game for you. Heller is a one man killing machine. He is a powerhouse of concealed weaponry, brute strength, and biochemistry. His secret weapon is a BioBomb that he can use to infect his enemies and have them explode all over the pavement in a puddle of gooey tentacles. You also get to exercise your thirst for blood as you can kill everything. In fact, you are positively encourage to slaughter every living thing you find, even if it poses you no threat whatsoever. The senseless bloody murder of passers-by earn you extra health bonuses, and the more you kill the more you upgrade, so that you can kill on an even greater level and in more spectacular style.
Combat has been significantly improved, fans of the original game were often left frustrated in the centre of the chaos, now there is a more logical order to the mayhem. Prototype 2 does everything in its power to ensure that you get to kill things. The menus have seen a massive improvement too. Actually the menu system is rather impressive, it sounds like a mundane thing to point out, but for those of you who have played Infamous or Saints Row, you will know that a good menu system is an invaluable resource in an open-world game.
The Bad News About Prototype 2
This game gets old pretty fast. The violence is impressive, but with such a weak story, there is nothing to tie it all together and the game just feels pointless. Once you have got the hang of the jump and glide, it really feels like you are just floating around the world looking for the next altercation. When the game was first trailered, it seemed like Heller’s back story would help cement the gameplay into a plausible scenario but this is not the case. James Heller is boring and two dimensional. He has all the personality of a foul mouthed über-hoody, and he wants to shiv you. He’s not the kind of character that most people want to succeed so it really is difficult to really get behind his cause. His constant cursing, and frankly comical laments of “oh my poor girl…” make him seem so pathetic. It was really quite a struggle to get through the 14 or so hours of gameplay.
The Bottom Line
Prototype 2 definitely delivers what it promises, over 10 hours of relentless, pointless, and senseless violence, and if that is your thing then this is the perfect game for you. However, the game lacks finesse, and direction. Its pathetically weak story line and charmless characters destroy any hope Radical may have had of replay value. It’s definitely a game to play when you are mad at your boss, your significant other, your parents, or just the world in general but I am not sure I would recommend paying full whack for a new copy. To be honest I would wait for it to come down a bit in price first and then check it out. It might be your exact thing, but chances are you will find it all a bit pointless.