Header Ads

Prototype 2 Review

To best understand what the Prototype series has to offer, picture Spider-man without the tights, oh and the fact that a world consuming biological virus has struck, that essentially lays out the setting and game-play that the player will encounter.

Alex Mercer, the previous protagonist has now gone rogue and has become … well he's still Alex Mercer but this time around you neither play as him nor particularly like him but can a fresh start be enough to redeem the series and justify a purchase?

Prototype 2 begins with a slight twist on the ending on the previous game, due to reasons explained in the pre-release comic Prototype 2; Alex Mercer has gone mad, like absolutely despising the whole human race mad. A brief but emotionally involving introduction is given on James Heller, the new protagonist that lays the foundation of the game. Heller is a military sergeant that previously resided in NYZ and he is returning from his latest mission with the hope to leave the city with his family in order to stay with his mother-in-law. Things go awfully wrong when a sudden outbreak of the virus infects the area and both his wife and child are proclaimed dead. Driven by anger and of course the desire for revenge he chases Alex Mercer as he believes that he is the cause of the outbreak, however Mercer proves to be too powerful and infects Heller with the virus but due to his DNA, Heller proves to be a little more resilient than the others and becomes an 'Evolved' similar to Mercer himself.
I wonder how far this can go...? Woops...
The narrative is not very difficult to understand even if you have not played the first Prototype, Radical Entertainment also, wisely, includes a catch up section in the main menu that allows players to understand the events that have occurred. The story mode for Prototype 2 is linear, similar to the first in the series and players will find themselves often traversing the city in order to find the mission start points and key points across the map. There are no choices to be made here, no questions of morale, Heller simply does and chooses what has been scripted and perhaps that is the redeeming factor of the storyline. His character is conveyed strongly throughout the game and in general Heller is very relate-able but there is one thing the story lacks which is depth. It seems as though Radical took the players attention for granted as many characters seem to lack depth and seem to be thrown in just to make the world more realistic and seem full. For example, many of the NPC's that need to be assassinated (consumed) lack any sense of depth until they are consumed and the whole essence of their character and their importance to the progression of the story is portrayed through a 15-20 second short cut scene. This approach works very well when the player is in a side quest and the dialogue of these mini cut scenes is very well thought out however as a part of the main storyline this approach seems feeble, almost as if the developers were just creating 'filler' content to entertain the player in between destinations.

The story itself is interesting at first, tugging the player all across the map and introducing more NPC's to obtain missions from in order to unlock more of the plot however as the minutes turn to hours, the entertainment value wears off and the player starts to get bored of the point A to point B blow some shit up and escape alert missions. That is until another key point of the storyline is introduced which again arouses interest. As a whole, the story is possibly the best incentive to play the game in the first place as it becomes interesting to watch Heller betrayed over and over again and yet still cling on to the fact that he can trust people because of his one glimmer of hope Amaya, his daughter. The ending of the narrative, even if it is not up to Naughty Dog standards, still manages to give a sense of finality to the game and as time goes by, Heller does not become tiring to play as.

Another interesting and perhaps unique asset of Prototype 2 is its gameplay. For those who have played the first in the series it may not be the improvement that creates a master piece however it offers a refreshing take to games of a similar genre and although the mechanics are not too deep or complicated the attacking sequences offer a broad range of destruction that would only work in an open world game.
Wait for me! I want to ride on it too!!
Heller's attacks are all based on his virus aside from the general kick and punch, and even those are hard to get bored of. As Heller progresses through the game his powers widen and son he is able to do all kinds of things including wielding a blade almost as tall as him, growing claws out of his fingers or tendril attacks. Each of these powers also has the ability to be upgraded providing further damage, range etc. and making Heller all the more deadly to his foes. Grunt's can be dispatched of pretty easily thanks to the weapons available to Heller however the larger foes can prove a little more difficult to best. Each unique foe that the game steadily introduces has their own weaknesses towards individual weapons that Heller acquires throughout the course of the game and a mixture of weapons is almost demanded in order to win.

The gameplay is a mixture of stealth and action and Heller, just like Mercer, has all the tools necessary in order to make the transition from one to the other seamlessly. Most of his abilities are upgradeable and players also unlock a 'Finisher' gauge that allows them to pull off a choice of two attacks that either cause great destruction or summon beasts to assist with the more tedious of frays. The game itself however is not very difficult and the main story can be beaten within 16 hours if the side-quests and collectibles are of no concern. A unique mechanic new to the franchise is the ability to 'hunt' targets. This involves clicking the right analog stick which sends out a signal throughout the whole city in the form of a circle which Heller generates. As the world goes red, depending on the distance of the target, the circle is then reflected from the target and reaches Heller which allows him to determine its location in order to consume them. This plays a major in and out of the main storyline and is quite a cool mechanic especially in an open world game such as this.
Will you marry me?
Travelling in particular is almost always fun as Heller is quite the nimble chap and the animations are detailed and varied. Sprinting along buildings? No problem. Gliding between skyscrapers? Piece of cake. Changing course mid-jump in order to bring down a helicopter? Could do it in my sleep. The movement in Prototype 2 feels very organic thanks to the animations and simple control schemes. The game's difficulty steadily increases throughout the course of the story and although the mission’s objectives stay largely the same, the approach to each objective drastically changes as players are forced to be more cautious with the tools at Heller's disposal. All of the game is set in its free-roam mode and the player requires very little of the pause menu's however if the story is not enough or perhaps already completed then there is still a little life left in

Prototype 2 as there is a vast amount of collectibles and side-quests to complete as well as challenges which include racing through the city and a type of 'darts' mini-game with a Prototype twist. If this does not interest you much then there is always the option to just create general mayhem in the hopes that you will unlock a trophy which is very possible. As the game progresses Heller earns EP or experience points that are used to upgrade Heller's life and other skills, there are also mutations that are earned through side-quests and roaming the city in search of unique prey that show a symbol over their heads corresponding to the skill that they will evolve.

A new feature in Prototype 2 is the inclusion of 'Radnet'. Radnet is what Radical Entertainment has integrated in order to convince people to buy Prototype 2 new and it's basically the integration of online services. Unfortunately these services are limited to challenges and not the feature of actual online play. The player is able to compare times/goals that were completed with the rest of their friends list and be able to download themes from the store.

At first glance, it may seem that the graphics are largely unchanged however Prototype 2 offers a significant difference in texturing and optimization. Throughout my whole play-through I never encountered a single frame-rate issue (PS3) even with vast explosions and all around mayhem, the game runs without missing a beat. The texturing is also slightly better in the new installment than the previous one and it adds a more realistic feel to the game as well as making the mutants look especially brutal. The effects are done splendidly; particularly the tendril effects and explosions seem very realistic. The cutscenes of the main story consist of a colourless art style with an emphasis on red and this makes them stand out although at times I wished I could see more of what was going on as it seems that some details are lost in the shadows.
Yaay this is awesome!!
Personally, I think Radical do a great job with the visuals in Prototype 2 and even though it seems like a minor upgrade to the last game, it’s clear that great effort was involved when it came to the graphics in this instalment of the series.

Final Verdict
Have you ever felt the need to be a superhero? Maybe we all have but Heller is no hero, he is portrayed really and truly as a father and someone who has been caught up in a giant mess that he would rather be anywhere but. The one thing Heller does have going for him is character, Heller is a human-being who has been dragged through several emotional trauma's yet remains true to himself and although Prototype 2 is not the best game in the world, the narrative is the one reason alone that this game redeems itself as an interactive experience. If I was asked to recommend this game the sole reason for me doing so would be mainly due to the reason that they can enjoy the depth that the developers have portrayed through the protagonist. If not, then maybe to blow shit up with tendrils.

Story = 8/10
Gameplay = 7/10
Graphics = 8/10

We Know Gamers Final Score = 7.6/10
Had a chance to play the game? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!
Prototype 2 Review

Reviewed by Sarfraz
on Jun 10 2012

Rating: 7.6/10

No comments