Prototype 2 Review


This game is a classic example of second-helpings. If you enjoyed the original I would definitely suggest coming back for more. Developer Radical Entertainment has set up a fun house filled with mutants and blackwatch troops, while the mirrors may often reflect familiar images, the repetition is complimented by it’s ability to be tolerable every time. You play a distraught solider hell-bent on revenge for the death of his wife and daughter in the city formerly known as NYC (now called NYZ, for New York Zero). We’re led to believe the killer as being  our original dark hero Alex Mercer, but as traditionally with Prototype, things are not always as they seem. Unless explosions, rampant death, and dismemberment aren’t your thing, then this game will probably be the action title you were seeking to satisfy your needs.

 

 

Big time improvements await in this department, if Prototype was a car, than Prototype 2 would be a truck, with a much heavier engine, and some weight to it’s frame. While not one of the most graphically astounding titles we’ll be seeing this year, Prototype 2 is a vast improvement over it’s predecessor. From the environment (this is where the graphics improved most), to the NPCS you will have to encounter throughout your adventure, every aspect of this games graphical prowess has been adjusted towards improvement. While it may still fall below the bar on a lot of gamers radars, it surely won’t be what keeps you from enjoying the game. The animations are fluid and always have been, the downside to this is they are mostly recycled from the original Prototype, improved, albeit recycled. Regardless of all of it’s many improvements, Prototype 2 still falls short of being the graphical blockbuster it ensured us it would be.

I will have to be honest about the Prototype 2 story-line. It’s almost as bland and nonexistent as the original games story had been. So in the event that you missed the first game, you don’t have much reason for hindsight. In fact, I would say the recap of the first game offered to you in Prototype 2 covers more of the story in the first game, than the first game itself. You will often find yourself cutting through waves of soldiers and cilivans but at an odds as to…Why? You may have forgotten the briefing from one of your many handlers (such as the street savvy priest you first begin working with) in such a hurry to get to the action…or you possibly never cared. This detachment from character is felt with James Heller quite often. If it isn’t his gung-ho attitude towards every situation, it will no doubt be his pirate like nature that distances you from James. He just isn’t a realistic feeling person, so not only is it unlikely to relate to him… It’s likely to forget him as James and begin to play him as the virus carrying war machine that he is. The black and white cut scenes add a hint of intrigue to the otherwise pointless narratives, for the most part regardless of story, you will be tasked with killing, taking the form of the dead, infiltrating, and escaping. Seen or unseen, these goals rarely shift.

 

This is where Prototype 2 shines brightest. From the time you karate kick your first helicopter to the moment you gain the ability to wield a bladed arm, the game play of Prototype 2 is absolutely exhilarating. Tons of options are available to you depending on your play style, stealth can be a big part of the game since you can take the form of any single person, yet that is only one approach. From the ability to hi-jack and use heavy armor military personnel carriers to the powers Heller possesses through his mutations, the game offers a variety of ways to dispatch your would be threats. The protagonist is gifted with 5 different hand-weapon mutations, for the sake of not spoiling it for anyone, I will just say that they all vary from one another and all offer different uses for different situations. Heller’s transformations slowly ramp up as you progress through the game. Whether it be through side missions or the many collectables placed around the NYZ map, you will constantly be improving your abilities. The level-up system is one of the attractions of the game, but it also becomes the main goal of the game regardless of how you may choose to play which detracts from the enjoyment of reaching the games power apex through your own ways. That brings me to my next portion of game play…Travel! Traveling in this game is probably the best seen in an open-world sandbox of this sort since Spider-man 3. The movement animation seamlessly blends into the next, rewarding the eyes with a bouquet of action and parkour. If you find nothing else enjoyable about this game, from a gamers standpoint you will no doubt appreciate what has been achieved with this games running animations. The downside to all this? It’s a carbon, yet improved copy of the original games running animations, so if it’s something you appreciated the first time around, I wouldn’t suggest buying the game in hopes of an all new innovative system, (like they had the first time around) they used the exact same one.

 

Prototype has never been one for great scores, but the action music has always served it’s purpose. This title is no different, many of the tracks only serve to escalate the ensuing battles our protagonist involves himself in. From the sound of the ground cracking when Heller lands to the sound of a dying hunter, Prototype 2  meets the sound criteria. With tracks ramping up to climatic horn finishes and loud drums upon defeat, the games sound is mostly to compliment the action happening on screen, but in this regard they do an absolutely fantastic job. Terminator would be proud.

The replay factor in Prototype 2 is not terribly huge…I mean, it’s there, just not huge. With the game being about 14 hours in length if you do everything on your NYZ map the only true reason to do it all over again is the New Game+ feature, which will bolster James Heller with all of his powers. I did not find myself exactly clamoring for more Prototype once the game was done. It’s safe to say once you set this game down, it will probably be down for the count.

 

To sum up my thoughts, Prototype is a worthwhile title. While it may only warrant a rental (those of us who go out and buy it early will receive the Radnet edition which grants several weeks of added content) it still warrants at least that. From the opening  infection to the closing consumption, this game delivers an action title like no other. It’s not a title to be missed during 2012 and will no doubt go down as one of the best titles to be released this year. Does that say a lot for gaming this year?

You tell us, what do you think? CCU wants to hear from you.

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