Prototype 2 has developer, Radical Entertainment, returning you to the world of their hit game, Prototype. Can they capture the open world, superhero-esque fun of Prototype a second time? More importantly, can you again karate kick helicopters? Bring an appetite; we are going to "consume" some people.
Prototype 2 picks up 14 months after the events of Prototype. Only this time you are not playing as Alex Mercer, you are playing as James Heller, a military veteran whose wife and daughter were killed by the now named Mercer Virus. Heller wants revenge against Alex Mercer, the man blamed for releasing the virus. Soon after his arrival in what's left of New York (now called New York Zero) Heller gets his chance. After a brief chase and scuffle Alex infects Heller with the virus and gets away. Instead of dying, Heller mutates just like Alex. Now a shape-shifting weapon of destruction Heller has one goal, kill Alex Mercer.
Along the way Heller learns how the company, Gentek, and the private military company, Blackwatch, are connected to the virus and how Alex is mixed up in it all. The story from there takes couple plot twists, but stays the course of revenge.
Controls and Gameplay
Keeping what made Prototype so much fun, Prototype 2 is huge open world, a third person sandbox game. Go where and do what you want. There is no rush to get through the story, you have a lot of side quests and collectibles to find. Doing the side quests and finding the collectibles will help evolve and power up Heller.
They kept the controls simple and quick to master. While Heller can eventually evolve to have 5 fighting powers, you can only have 2 active at a time. If you need to, you can switch on the fly what powers you have active.
Graphics and Sound
Prototype 2 keeps the same realistic look that Prototype had. The city is detailed, although New York looks more devastated than in the last game. I like that, even though they couldn't call them by name because of copyrights and trademarks, certain landmarks like Madison Square Garden and Yankee Stadium are still in there.
Sound is kept mostly to effects and voice acting. Music was only really brought in during cut scenes to help set the mood. Otherwise it is really not noticeable. This makes for a setting that feels more realistic, that you are there amongst the mayhem.
First off I will say sliding back into the world of Prototype was fun. Radical Entertainment made a smart move of introducing a new protagonist with James Heller. This allows for you to play through and build up a whole new hero as you search New York Zero for Alex Mercer. The gameplay of being a super powered being in a city full of monsters to fight is still there. Running up the side of buildings, gliding from rooftop to rooftop, ripping apart tanks, and yes, karate kicking a helicopter are all just as much fun as they were before. In fact karate kicking a helicopter is an achievement in a nod to a comic by Penny Arcade.
On the other hand the story, not so much. It is pretty slim and linear sticking to the tale of revenge. The character of James Heller may physically evolve, but beyond that he's just a very angry guy who cusses a lot. I think every third word out of his mouth was an F-bomb. It's not until very late in the game that they try to develop his character and by then you really don't care.
While James Heller stays an angry man, they really wanted you know that Gentek and Blackwatch are the true bad guys. Really, really, really bad guys. Every time Heller uses his power to "consume" any character that has a piece of story, you get a peek at some sick twisted minds that care very little for human life. I'd almost say that Blackwatch recruits it soldiers straight from death row inmates. So Heller's character is almost a perfect angel to balance against the evil of Gentek and Blackwatch.
Radical Entertainment added one other interesting element to the game, Radnet. Included in each game is a one-time use code to unlock Radnet, a series of challenges and events tailored around Heller's powers. You can't play them all right away, in fact they unlock on specific dates up through June. As you complete sets you unlock additional powers for Heller and behind the scenes/making of Prototype 2 videos. Once you complete all the sets you unlock the Alex Mercer skin so you can play him.
With a story that doesn't rise above a simple tale of revenge, Prototype 2 leans heavily on its gameplay. Thankfully Radical Entertainment nailed that, because while the story never grabs me, the sheer open world freedom and fun kept me entertained for hours, even past finishing the story. I give Prototype 2 a 4 out of 5.
Prototype 2 is rated M for Mature for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).
Prototype 2 is available now for Windows PC, Sony's PlayStation 3, and Microsoft's Xbox 360. For more information see the Prototype 2 web site.