Back in June of 2009, Radical Entertainment teamed up with Activision to create a compelling action-adventure open world title set in New York City. Prototype was a story about the lasting impact of a virus outbreak as it spread throughout Manhattan. The protagonist of the game was Alex J. Mercer, a powerful shapeshifting superhuman who used his genetically enhanced powers to uncover the truth behind the epidemic. While drawing early comparisons to Infamous, the game eventually went on to develop it’s own loyal fanbase.
Now with the release of the highly anticipated sequel, the developers are aiming to build upon their previous accomplishments. Prototype 2 is a fun, but repetitive title that offers only a few changes to a proven formula. Here are a few more points to help you determine if this game is worth picking up.
The storyline for Prototype 2 takes place roughly 14 months after the events of the first game. The Blacklight virus epidemic has spread all over NYC, effectively making it a disease-infected warzone. The player takes on the role of Sergeant James Heller, an embattled army veteran who returns home to find that the outbreak has claimed the lives of both his wife and daughter.
Being familiar with the destructive persona of Mercer, he quickly establishes Alex as the prime suspect and aims to take him down. Unfortunately for Heller, his reckless thirst for revenge gets the better of him and he ends up being infected by Mercer after an impromptu confrontation.
The plot further expands when Heller is convinced by Mercer to hunt down several individuals to obtain classified information on the outbreak. He eventually learns more secrets then he bargained for and ultimately ends up in a violent rematch with Mercer. Overall, the narrative is average at best and remains secondary to the core gameplay that the title provides.
While roaming throughout the city, you have the ability to attack and consume virtually everyone from blackwatch officers to regular townspeople. You can freely fly and leap across rooftops and run up building walls.
When it comes to seeking out your prey, it’s recommended that you climb to the tallest building and send out signal waves to determine where your enemy is located. In addition to all this, you can also use your superhuman strength to lift heavy objects like cars and throw them at your adversaries.
Stealing a page out of GTA’s book, there is a smart alert system that monitors the carnage you cause and notifies military personnel whenever you draw too much attention to yourself. Whenever these situations begin to intensify, you can easily run away from the scene and transform into the last person that you consumed.
As you begin to progress through the game, you’ll unlock up to 5 types of mutations that turn your arms into certified killing machines. From here on out, any and every battle that you participate in becomes increasingly easier and you feel a deeper sense of superiority among every being. The campaign clocks in at about 14 hours and has various side missions that you can participate in to level up your skills further. There is no multiplayer option and unfortunately no real incentive to replay the game after completing it.
While Prototype 2 is generally a fun game to play, there are a few annoyances that prevent it from being top notch. For starters, the hunting mechanic in relation to the map system lacks accuracy when finding targets.
To get the absolute most out of this skill requires that you pay complete attention to how signals bounce off the surrounding buildings. The end result will have you searching both high and low for targets, at which point you may actually lose interest in trying to reach your goal.
Another problem with the game lies in the repeating process by which each mission is designed. You’ll receive a lead and after successfully consuming the enemy and revealing their memories the cycle continues over and over again.
What’s equally bothersome is that there aren’t any life-altering decisions or morality choices that you get to make in regards to how you interact with the environment or the people. Instead, this game is strictly about gaining the power of a god and destroying your entire surroundings at your leisure.
In closing, Prototype 2 is a unique open world experience that makes anarchy the centerpiece of gameplay. If you’re looking for a game that’s low on story and high on action, then this game is just for you.
This review was based on a retail copy of the game for the Xbox 360 provided by Activision