If you enjoy a game built around violence, upgrades, jumping really high, having big sword arms and running up the sides of buildings, then you’re probably going to want to sit down and get the good word on Prototype 2. It has all of those things.
This sequel picks up in the wake of the original game. The first adventure had players strap in as Alex Mercer, a scientist overcome with an illness that made him super human and super angry. Mercer’s gone to the dark side in Prototype 2, and now players will take on the role of James Heller. Heller’s family was killed by Mercer’s actions, and now Heller is off to take revenge.
That’s what propels you forward in this tale. The storyline has its set of twists, turns and reveals, but it’s a relatively predictable affair. As it draws to a close, you’ll have had a good time, but it likely won’t be something you think back on often.
Instead, the beauty of Prototype 2 lies in its simple mechanics.
The game works on a system of incremental rewards. You’ll be granted stronger powers, abilities and upgrades as you progress Heller’s tale. It works wonderfully in design, as players are drawn forward by the ever-present, dangling carrot of strength, flight and jump height.
Sweet, Sweet Destruction
At its core, Prototype 2 is about two things: exploration and violence. It does both exceptionally well, and it doesn’t let much else get in the way of achieving either tenant.
In fact, I’d even go as far as saying that this game is one of the best that I’ve played this year in regards to open world destruction. It’s not an intricate or intelligent ride, but Prototype 2 offers up a simple excuse for violence and running up the sides of buildings.
That’s where this game actually becomes most successful and worthy of your consideration. It knows that it’s a free, violent, crazy romp through mutants, military and an open city. Prototype 2 never tries to elevate itself beyond that simple premise, and keeping itself grounded is one of the reasons it’s actually so enjoyable.
If you need a break from more serious gaming, this is a great excuse.
Freeze! Chill! Winter! Icccccce.
If you follow me on Twitter (shameless plug), you probably already know that I hit a few snags while playing through this game. It froze on me in combat and in exploration around four times during play. Each freeze required me to reboot my console.
Even better, it froze five times from the title menu when starting the game. I’d fire up my machine, get to the title screen, press continue and be hit with a rock-solid freeze. Nice!
A large portion of the experience in Prototype 2 hinges on the player’s ability to consume NPCs and use their bodies to mingle into enemy territory in order to kill a target or gain access to information. Heller can use this sort of hunting instinct to ping out into the world around him and instantly see who can be consumed and who cannot. From there, players will need to pick and choose their consumption targets before moving in for a final kill.
In theory, this method of sneak and stealth sounds pretty cool. In practice, however, this facet of Prototype 2 can be exceptionally stupid.
I’ll give you a quick rundown of one particular moment in this game as a for instance. I was sent to get close to a commander and consume him. He was guarded by a group of scientists, several military agents and a few tall brick walls. Consuming him meant slowly consuming everyone around him first.
Here’s the thing… I goofed up several times before getting to the commander. I consumed one NPC guard directly in the line of another scientist’s sight. What happened? Nothing. The scientist didn’t flinch as I approached him, grabbed him and let go. I proceeded, unchecked, to consume and kill every combatant in the area without alerting guards within feet of sight.
The point to take away? The AI in Prototype 2 can be really, really, really dumb. Really dumb. If that type of thing breaks you out of games more often than not, consider yourself warned.
Is this game worth your $59.99?
If you enjoy the senseless violence a solid beat ’em up can provide, the traversal of large open worlds and the basic premise of a twisted revenge story, then I’d suggest giving Prototype 2 a try. It has its share of problems, but there’s a lot of fun to be had in this offering.
We purchased a copy of Prototype 2 for the Xbox 360 with company funds. We completed the main story in the game on normal difficulty before starting this review. We did a good number of sidequests, but did not complete every task available.
Confused or cranky about the score above? Check out how we review games.