Developer: Radical Entertainment
Almost three years after the original, Prototype 2 is here. With New York City still in disarray after the outbreak, Prototype 2 has a new protagonist, while the old protagonist, James Mercer, returns as the antagonist. Does Prototype 2 improve on the original formula, or will it need to go back to the drawing board? Pull up your hoodie, it’s time for the review.
And you can have it all…
The story of Prototype 2 picks up about a year after the original. New York City has been quarantined and cut off from the rest of the world due to the “Mercer Virus”. The game’s new protagonist, Sgt. Jason Heller, is out for revenge against Mercer as he feels that Mercer is responsible for the death of his wife and daughter. As Heller confronts and tries to kill Mercer, Mercer gives him the same powers he has and offers to become allies. Heller agrees in the hope of taking down the Blackwatch Special Forces. However, through plot twists and turns, Mercer uncovers a deeper plot that leads back to Mercer’s wrongdoing.
Newcomers won’t get too lost in the story since it is fairly easy to follow. However, the game doesn’t recap the events of the first game with any frequency. Thankfully, that doesn’t take away from the experience. Those that have played the first game should feel right at home and will have fun with some of the new powers such as the tendrils, the bio bomb, and summoning monsters to fight on your behalf.
Revenge… Best served cold
Prototype 2 takes place in three sections of New York City, which has now been separated into islands: the Green Zone, Yellow Zone, and Red Zone. The Green and Yellow zones are about the same, with both zones feeling like small areas of New York City. However, the Yellow zone has a slightly heavier Blackwatch presence. Once you enter the Red Zone, you see the once-proud New York skyline with buildings leaning on one another, the biological material that gave Mercer his powers running up the sides of buildings, and the infected running rampant while Blackwatch troopers try to fight them off.
The graphics are on a par with what current-generation games should look like. The animations are good but still a little rough around the edges, and the game does suffer from minor issues from time to time. For example, floating between different objects or passing through them entirely is not an uncommon occurrence. Though this doesn’t get in the way of the gameplay, it is still noticeable.
Hey, both their names end in “ER”…Does that mean anything?
Sure, this game is violent, but Prototype 2 has an “M” rating also because of the foul language used. Despite Sgt. James Heller being a family man, he does curse. A lot. It’s almost to the point where if any television stations used footage, they’d have to censor almost everything he says. All kidding aside, the voice acting is good and works for the feel of the game. They conveyed this story of revenge well. The supporting cast play their roles well, even though the main focus of the game revolves around Heller.
I’m falling… With style!!!
The best part of Prototype 2 is the gameplay. The powers granted are fun, and as you progress the powers grow, and this opens up the game. With claws, blades, tendrils and more, there’s no shortage of combinations to use while battling zombies, the Blackwatch gaurd, Mercer, and his forces. Building up powers usually involves hunting down certain enemies with symbols floating above their heads. The problem is, these enemies are few and far between, so you will be spending the majority of your time using the powers you’ve already built up.
This makes James Heller a virtual Swiss army knife of super powers, which is by far the best thing about the game. Don’t like the claws? Break out the blade. Don’t like the blade? Break out the whip or the tendrils or the crushers. You get to choose up to two primary powers for strikes, so find two weapons that you feel most comfortable with and go to town. If you feel like shooting things up or disarming a tank or helicopter, this game offers you plenty of ways to get the job done while having a blast.
The power of revenge
While the gameplay in Prototype 2 does an excellent job of keeping the player entertained, the controls can be a little inconsistent. The controls are responsive and work well, but the targeting system is off. There are a few occasions, on stealth missions in particular, where you target and grab random objects instead of the person you want to take out. Once something is targeted it is difficult to change your character’s focus – you have to move around and break line-of-sight to switch focus, and this wastes time in addition to taking the player out of the game.
Another drawback of Prototype 2 is the perceived length of the missions. It isn’t the general length of the missions in particular, but they do feel short based on how easily you can get through them. The first two thirds of the game definitely have an easier and shorter feel than the last third.
Despite this, there is still a lot to do in the game. There are around 12-15 hours of gameplay including all the side missions, which is a decent amount of game for the dollar. Sure, some of those missions might be padded and somewhat repetitive, but all in all you won’t feel like the game doesn’t deliver a worthwhile experience.
Along with the story and side missions, there is an extra set of challenges under RadNet. There are over 50 challenges the player can complete, earning medals and challenging friends. This content is protected by an online pass, so if these missions interest you, be sure to get a new copy of the game.
At the end of the day, Prototype 2 is a fun game. The first two thirds aren’t anything special story-wise, but the last third really picks up the action – with the powers you’ve been granted by then, the Red Zone is the best part of the game and definitely the best setting.
We suggest newcomers at least rent Prototype 2 to see what the game offers. For those who played the first one, you should buy a new copy. Although if you can find a copy on sale, go with that option simply because Prototype 2 is missing a few key features, which prevents it from being a great game worthy of the full $60 price tag.
If you’re up for a game with super powers, revenge, blowing stuff up, super powers, dismembering monsters, and super powers, Prototype 2 is worth your time.
Final Verdict: Prototype 2 gets 7 Flying Jason Hellers out of 10
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This review is based on a retail version of the Playstation 3 version of Prototype 2 by Activision