Prototype 2 1

Prototype 2 Review

If you like open world games at all Prototype 2 should be a game that interests you. In this genre there’s no real imperative on the developer’s part to offer extensive characterization, or even a good plot – although Rockstar managed it with Red Dead Redemption as did Sucker Punch in the inFamous series which shares some distinct thematic similarities with Prototype.

It’s perhaps because of these facets of the genre that Prototype 2 actually works. Destruction is the main attraction here and you really don’t need to do much to achieve enormous amounts of carnage even if the game’s controls are sometimes less than slick.

Keeping that in mind there really isn’t be much here for anyone looking for an emotionally engaging title. James Heller, the game’s protagonist, has a very limited range of emotions. There is some relatability in Heller’s character and the trauma he suffers from the loss of his family yet this connection is destroyed by the incessant language which reduces his story to nothing more an a series of over the top action sequences. Of course that isn’t the draw here.

Prototype 2 is relentlessly accessible which proves to be one of the game’s greatest assets as well as one of its greatest liabilities. There’s very little here in terms of a challenge and losing sight of your opponents, the Goliath for instance, will rarely get you killed.

There are no real struggles to overcome and as such the sense of accomplishment is greatly diminished and yet, for all that, it’s hard to play Prototype 2 without a grin on your face due to the sheer overstated capacity for… well smashing everything.

It can take around 12-14 hours to complete if you finish the main campaign and all of the side quests and over that time you’ll encounter a raft of bad guy cliches running throughout the story which is taken fairly seriously even if you’re never presented with much of a reason to take them out beyond the fact that they’re basically just evil.

Vengeance is all that interests Heller, principally against Alex Mercer, the original game’s protagonist and antihero who Heller blames for the death of his family.

His powers; which range extensively from allowing him to leap over tall buildings, to turning people into walking bio-bombs, and even consuming people so he can absorb their memories and assume their form while navigating in the open world environment is both empowering and fun. You walk up a building for instance, or traverse entire streets in a single leap. Gliding too makes for a far faster way of getting about the city than the options open to, say, Cole MacGrath inFamous.

The mission design in Prototype 2 may be slightly repetitive; essentially wreck stuff, hunt, and consume somebody over and over again but the game gives you the tools to make you feel like a badass so you really don’t mind and inevitably completing quests unlocks new powers, such as immunity to harm from bullets and the ability to pounce on your victim from a greater distance.

You can also assume control of the game’s tanks and helicopters and this proves to be both a well thought out addition to the game and a fun one, of course you can always simply choose to destroy them if you prefer.

The game offers some problems in terms of twitchy controls, particularly when you want to focus on just one enemy. Heller moves so quickly that it becomes quite awkward to target your attacks on a single opponent. You might pick up a bench for example or a dropped rocket launcher instead of an NPC.

Meanwhile the camera can’t always properly cover the action sequences, particularly in enclosed areas – with enemies becoming obscured behind obstacles – though you’ll rarely be faced with death as a result. Again this is Prototype’s weakness, you’re so powerful that even when the game confronts you with these problems you’re never really in any danger and there’s very little sense of accomplishment due to this lack of challenge.

Prototype 2 is a game that’s all about empowerment. It’s forgettable certainly but when you play you’ll enjoy the hell out of it. It has some moments of pure nonsense, for instance, if you can escape your enemies line of sight and transform into someone else it will throw off their pursuit even if you’re climbing up the side of a building. Yet for all the the problems that are present here the game is well worth a look if only for the sheer ridiculous good fun.

Stephen reviews Prototype 2.

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