Here at GGUK we are going to be reviewing Prototype 2, the sequel to Prototype which was met by a real mixed bag of reviews. So have Radical Entertainment raised the bar on the first and ironed out the problems to make the game a true superhero, or is it just a washed up wanna be?
Prototype 2 is set 14 months after the events of the first game in which Alex Mercer saved New York and stopped Gen Tek and Blackwatch after he was infected with a virus which gave him superpowers. In the sequel you play as Sgt James Heller instead of Mercer which is a big move for the game, as Mercer was a true anti-hero and the main driving force of the storyline in the first game. Heller isn’t really a patch on Mercer as he is just an angry man who isn’t afraid of dropping an F-bomb every 34 seconds. On the whole he does the job, but is a very crude character.
The game starts with Heller returning home for a tour of duty in the Middle East to find that both his wife and daughter have been killed by the infected and he blames Mercer, which sends him into a downward spiral of grief and rage, and sets him on the path of revenge because he has nothing left to lose.
He is sent on a suicide mission into the heart of New York, which once again has been become infected with the Mercer virus and has been labelled the Red Zone. Once on the mission his team are confronted by Mercer himself. Heller’s team don’t stand a chance and he is the only one left alive. Driven by rage, he attacks Mercer multiple times with one of the biggest knives in gaming. Mercer beats him down, time and time again, he will not stop, so Mercer, impressed by his rage, infects Heller with the virus as he wants him to help spread the virus beyond the Manhattan. But all the time Heller wants to avenge the death of his family. He plays along with Mercer so he can develop and learn new powers, and with that you’re given the keys to the sand box world and the story begins.
The City is split into three coloured areas or Zones. In the Green Zone, Blackwatch and the army have set up as a safe zone, so there is a lot of firepower in this Zone but it’s also where the survivors from New York can start to rebuild their lives. The Yellow Zone is where there is a constant threat of infected attacking at any time and it’s also where Gen Tek and Blackwatch continue their experiments on infected to unlock their power. Then there is the Red Zone which is a war zone, where Blackwatch are in a constant battle with the infected to hold them back. So there is a lot going on in the game world, but the downside is that the world isn’t as big as the first game. There are two small islands and you get to go to the bottom half of Manhattan. That being said, the world is more packed with things to do and not as empty, which is a good thing.
You’ll find yourself fighting a real mix of enemies in the game, from Soldiers to huge infected mutants. Every enemy brings something new to the fight and the only enemies that are a let-down are the vehicles because you can’t destroy them with your power. This is a pain because you more often than not have to rip a weapon off the side of the tank or chopper to dispose of it, which is a little underwhelming as you are meant to be a superhero with amazing powers. You do get to unlock attacks later in the game which let you destroy them with one button.
The game world is much richer than the first; featuring a greater destructibility and improved visuals than that seen in the first game. The world also has weather effects this time round. As for NPCs, they also have a wider range of actions.
The core gameplay of Prototype 2 is similar to the first, but with some new powers like the Tendril power and without some old ones like Musclemass. The combat, movement and fighting systems have been improved substantially since the first game, but the real thing you’ll be playing for are the over the top powers which are great fun to use and let you shape how Heller fights. The only problem with them is that some do not unlock till very late in the game, meaning that you may not get to use them as much. But fear not, if you start a game+ you will begin the game with all your powers fully loaded, although you’ll run through the game in half the time. First time out, the campaign should take you around 8 to 10 hours, so it’s not a tiny game.
The power selection wheel has also been upgraded. Players are now able to assign two powers for quick access, these can be used for making powerful combos and they are also easier to switch between in the heat of battle. Other features to be improved are the Web of Intrigue and side quest have been integrated into the main storyline. There is also a new set of collectibles in the form of the Blackboxes which are audio files that replay events before and after the second outbreak of the viruses. If you collect these you will also unlock new powers and abilities, as well as adding a great depth to the background story of the game.
If you buy a new copy of the game you will get a code to unlock RADNET, which is a sort of DLC menu in the game as each week there will be a set of challenges, avatar awards or other bonuses, for a total of over 55 different pieces. This also unlocks a host of leader boards so you can fight it out with your friends to see who can throw an enemy the greatest distance, or how much blood you can spill through the games. It’s not a huge part of the game but it does add some extra life to it once you have completed the campaign.
How much you enjoy Prototype 2 depends on how much you enjoy the open world sandbox and the levels of destruction you can inflict on it. On the whole it’s a very enjoyable game with some great touches, and is leaps and bounds better than the first. If you can look past the fact that Heller is just a mindless grunt who gets his jollies from F*ing and swearing, what you’ll find it’s a great game for a weekend and well worth picking up.
That’s some mother****in’ mindless violence!