Review | Prototype 2
Sometimes a game’s sequel can change very little from the first game and yet still surpass the original. Radical Studio’s Prototype 2 is the perfect example. From the onset of the game we are reintroduced to the original Prototype protagonist Alex Mercer and the Black-light virus that infected the entire civilization. If you did not play the first game, don’t fret. There is an option in the main menu that allows you to be caught up to speed via a cinematic recap of the first game. I would recommend that you watch it, even if you did play the first one, just to refresh your memory before you jump in to it. Now in the second one we are introduced to former Army Sgt. James Heller who is to avenge his wife and daughters death by killing the man he holds responsible, Alex Mercer. That’s right folks, the protagonist in the first game is now the antagonist in the sequel. This doesn’t happen very often in the world of gaming. Upon confronting Alex, Heller is turned in to the second prototype. You will spend the rest of the game unlocking the story about who is behind the Black light Virus, the anti-dote, government cover-ups and plots for world domination, all told through Frank Miller inspired cut scenes.
I do want to mention that this game does have subtitles for those who need them (my deaf self included). The game is an open world third person action game that maintains the original hack and slash game play of the first Prototype game while feeling strangely similar to the Crackdown series in terms of open world exploration. For instance, the game depends on a upgrade system that is based on leveling Heller via xp (which is earned killing enemies, completing missions and finding collectables). You have five different ways to modify your body to defeat enemies as well as upgrades to your weapons systems and you flight/gliding ability. Once you make progress in you jumping ability you can clear sky scrapers in two jumps. It really is quite enjoyable combining the attack abilities with the flight abilities to make some multiple level kills. While I can go through each of the abilities you are given throughout the game, I really don’t want to ruin the enjoyment of earning each of them and the stories that tie in to them.
Returning from the original game is the ability to consume individuals which allows you to take on their form and identity. In order to successfully play this game you will have to find a happy medium of utilizing your attacks, weapons, and consuming individuals. This requirement allows you to approach the mission with multiple options in how to complete it. There is almost always a bonus method to completing each mission that relies on how you can best utilize all of your skills. You may be asked to kill all of the enemies in one specific fashion, hijack a vehicle or consume someone without being noticed. Some of the bonuses awarded upgrade your powers while others just award XP.
While the game play is very simple and enjoyable, it is the storyline that makes or breaks this game for the player. There seems to be an abundance of multiple storylines and characters that weave in and out of this game. While I love the premise of the story and the “Who is responsible” story with multiple twists and turns, but at the end of the day there are too many loose ends for anything definitive ending to be made. I don’t want to give too much of the story away here, but the way we find out who all of these various doctors are and the minimally detailed story about Heller’s daughter makes it seem as if they were writing this story as they went. It leads to a convoluted mess of a story that interferes with the fluidity of the game.
Overall, this a definite rental quality game or a twenty dollar used game purchase. The game play itself is fun with multiple replay value for achievements and trophies if that is what you enjoy and upgraded difficulty once you beat the game. An average gamer will appreciate the graphics and story and should be able to beat the entire story mode in about 6 hours. The downloadable content for the game is nothing more than new weapons and skins but there is nothing that is really necessary to buy or that improves the game experience enough to recommend buying them. Radical games (which has since seen layoff due to this game) should not be discouraged by the game. The game could definitely benefit from a multiplayer and an online multiplayer, especially considering the multitude of uses for the Prototype ability. It doesn’t appear though that we will be seeing anything new for the Prototype series so know going in that what you buy is most likely the end of the series. My overall recommendation would be to rent the game and decide if you want to really to buy it. If you decide to buy it, hold of it won’t be long before the price is at the twenty dollar level at your local used game location.