‘Prototype 2′ Review

Apr 29, 2012 by  

Prototype 2 Review

Game Rant’s Anthony Molé reviews Prototype 2

The original Prototype had the unfortunate luck of releasing close to Sony’s open world title InFamous. The game was quickly overshadowed by Sucker Punch’s super hero tale, as Prototype (comparatively) had a bland story, less-inspired presentation and a number of odd gameplay quirks.

In Prototype 2, Radical Entertainment brings players back to New York City, and the experience is improved in almost every way.

Right from the beginning it’s clear just how much work’s been put into the game. New black and white cutscenes give Prototype 2 a much more cinematic feel, and with it a level of quality that was missing from the original. It’s readily apparent that Radical has put a tremendous amount of work into making Prototype 2 the best it can be – and the effort shines through in the presentation.

This time around, Alex Mercer, the first game’s main character, isn’t the star of the show. Instead, players take control of a new anti-hero: ex-soldier James Heller. While it’s not always the best idea to change characters between two titles, the decision pays off heavily for Prototype 2. Heller is a much more dynamic and enjoyable character than Mercer, though some players may find his vulgarity to be a bit over the top. The story behind Prototype 2 is that New York has once again become infected by a mysterious virus, turning people into monstrosities (The Infected), and forcing the intervention of a military force known as Blackwatch. Amongst the confusion, Heller’s family is killed, and now he’s out for revenge.

Prototype 2 Tendrils

Overall, the story is much more enjoyable than the original, though it’s not exactly top-tier. The game could have benefited from a bit more character development – specifically from Heller and Mercer – but overall it’s an improvement. Aside from the main path, there are side missions and hidden collectibles called Black Boxes that add to the back  story  - though they’re mostly used to showcase the destruction of New York City not build on the narrative.

Speaking of New York, the city itself has seen a tremendous makeover, and at first glance it’s hardly recognizable as the same setting from the first game. Instead of confining the action to one small area, New York is now divided into three different islands, giving the game a much more expansive feel. Players can run around the city collecting the aforementioned Black Boxes or completing other objectives, such as destroying Infected lairs or Blackwatch research teams. Those who purchased a copy of the game with a Radnet access code will also have access to Events, which are basically skill challenges. They don’t really take anything away from the game (or add too much either) – and players can easily complete the campaign without even touching them.

In addition, Prototype 2 has also seen plenty of welcomed improvements in the gameplay department. The original Prototype was infamous for its artificial difficulty, which included random difficulty spikes during boss fights. This time, everything’s much more dynamic, giving players a fighting chance, and with it, less frustration. That said, boss fights are still pretty boring – as they’re usually pretty redundant. With the exception of the final encounter, once the player’s fought the first boss, they’ve pretty much fought them all.

Prototype 2 Vehicle Finisher

The power system has also seen some changes. In the first game, players would acquire Evolution Points (EP) which could be spent on various upgrades. This time, as player earn EP they will eventually level up, earning a point per level which can be spent on upgrades. Players earn EP from killing, completing missions and challenges, finding collectibles, etc. As well, not every power is mapped to the power wheel, with some being assigned to specific buttons. For instance, instead of selecting the shield power from the wheel, it’s now been mapped to the right shoulder button. The power wheel now only contains five powers, and any two can be equipped at a time. This makes it much easier to block attacks and switch powers on the fly.

A new power that makes its introduction to the game is the Bio-bomb. Replacing the ability to accuse others of being infected (useful for infiltrating Blackwatch bases), Heller can sneak up behind an enemy and infect them with the virus, causing them to explode in a fury of tendrils, grabbing nearby objects or enemies and pulling them in for one explosion. If this sounds satisfying, it’s even more fun in practice; there’s nothing more enjoyable than grabbing an Infected or Blackwatch soldier, sticking them with a Bio-bomb, tossing them into a crowd and watching the chaotic results.

Players will also be able to acquire Mass by consuming enemies, enabling them to unleash a Devastator attack. Sadly, only the Tendril Barrage returns this time around, which allows Heller to launch tendrils through his body and at all surrounding enemies. The ability is likely the one players used the most during the original title, and even though Tendril Barrage is still enjoyable, it’s an unfortunate step back – considering gamers had three Devastators at their disposal in Prototype.

Prototype 2 Claw Attack

There’s also a new element called “Mutators.” These are unlocked in similar ways to EP, mostly by finding collectibles or completing side missions – which are unlocked by hacking into Blacknet terminals. The Mutators each feature a cartoony image and description – think Fallout‘s perk system – and provide Heller with a small bonus (i.e. inflicting more damage when using a certain powers against a specific enemy, among other perks).

All these features – the powers, the Mutators and improved combat system – come together for a near-perfect blend of gameplay. There’s nothing more fun than jumping on an air born helicopter, ripping off its rocket launcher, using the rocket launcher to blow up the helicopter, meleeing ground forces, pulling helicopters out of the sky and more – all with great animation and a sense of fluidity.

In the end, Prototype 2 is a huge improvement over its predecessor. The gameplay has been tweaked just enough to give players a fair fight – yet just difficult enough to make sure there’s a challenge. Everything’s been revamped: from the improved presentation, gameplay fixes, to the enjoyable story. As a result, Prototype 2 is solid sophomore release in the franchise. Is it perfect? No, it could still use some tweaks but really, there’s no other game provides such satisfying superhero sandbox mayhem as Prototype 2.

Prototype 2 is available now for the PS3 and Xbox 360 with a PC version launching at a later date. Game Rant played the Xbox 360 version for this review.

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Follow me on Twitter @AnthonyMole.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5

23 Comments

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  1. i really like the game mainly b/c they fixed everything that was wrong with the 1st whilst addding some more stuff to it (new abilities etc) but the game is very repetitive despite being really fun it sort of gets boring after 2-3hrs of consistent play.

    i’ll prob buy it when it goes half price b/c it’s one of those ‘dumb fun’ games and nothing mind blowing.

    • How can you say it’s repetitive when you don’t even own it?

      • maybe i borrowed it or bought it then returned it a couple of days later… logic people.

        • I thought of it. But why would borrow it or buy it, beat it, then immediately return it, then buy it again? That makes no sense.

          • It’s repetitive and not that much better than the first one. The upgrading was the only plus for me.
            As for jwalka, why would he pay $60 for an okay game, when he can get it later for a cheaper price.

          • You know what never gets repetitive, the comment of the day which comes from a user named BAM “Jwalka” and he/she/it said “i bought it and it was awesome, but it sucked so i returned it, but ill prolly buy it again”

          • i had it for a couple of days so i played maybe 6-7 hrs of it, realised that it was repetitive and just mindless fun then came to the conclusion that i better of buy it later on when it’s cheaper (hence why i returned it and got my $100 back).

            the repetition isn’t all that bad b/c the action is fun and fluent, but when you think about what you spent the last 2 hrs doing it gets to you.

            @ ben
            use logic d***weed and try to read my comments insteadof assuming you know wtf you’re a**ing out of your mouth.

          • There are a lot of games that I rented and finished. While not worth full price I told myself I would buy them when they hit 20 bucks or so as it is worth that price. Battlefield 3 was one of those. I rented it when it first came out and decided that I would buy it when it hit 20 which it did today at best buy.

          • Jwalka, how can you tell ben to use logic when you’re not? You basically bought the game, played it but didn’t beat it, returned it, and you’re going to buy it again. That sequence of events makes no sense. What you obviously should have done is: bought the game, beat it, returned it. That way you could’ve gotten your money back and beat the game. But no, you insist on your nonsensical logic.

          • And where are you buying games at that cost 100$?

        • stupid logic…Stupid @jwalka

  2. Im playing it pretty regularly now and find it quite enjoyable, the only problem I have is that the run and flight actions don’t nearl seem as smooth and easy as the first one, the fact that I can’t super jump right after a land frustrates me when I get a good line going. Overall though I’m pretty stoked about playing it. Also the music in the game is awesome! Subtle overtones as the game goes on make it much more cinematic. Also the targeting system took a step back in my book.

    • yeah the auto lock on bs and the shaky camera for interior areas is a real pain, but almost everything else is a step up imo from the 1st which was only fun when you unlocked everything.

  3. “If it’s too easy, it becomes simply boring and unattractive.” – one of the developers involved with the witcher 2.

    this is how i feel with most modern action games, the combat and gameplay is so watered down and easy that i get bored of it after the 100th decapitation. this game isn’t bad, it looks and plays smoothly it just isn’t worth full retail especially with all those better games coming out – i would rather spend my money on a higher quality game then a short burst action game that has no challenge.

  4. i thought it was amazing way better than the first one i did every thing i could in the game side missions black boxes i almost got a full 1000 points out of it achievement wise i didn’t beat the game on hard tho witch made me angry cause i thought it wouldn’t have madered the story was awesome lots of twists i Give it a 9 out of 10 on the Richter scale

  5. I had absolutely no problem with the game play, but I did have some issues with the story. Mainly my problem was the new character james heller, as he is mainly a racial stereotype, and he really is. He is the classic angry black man, who uses fuck like others would use a comma. Seriously it got to the point half way through the game that I felt he should of been voiced by ving rhames.

    As for the update for Alex Mercer I felt the evil mastermind was a bit of a stretch for him based on the first game, and even taking into account the comic mini-serious he has never come across as the type to hatch an elaborate plot when he can just walk in and kill everyone. Maybe he could of when he was still human as he seemed to have the mind for it, but that personality was wiped out when he became the prototype.

    What I really felt radical really missed the chance for was the possible appearance of Elizabeth Green’s son.

  6. @Matt, In jwalka’s defense, if you do use logic, you might figure out that he plays and collects video games. I would never sell my video games. I can afford to do that.
    @Ben he never said it sucked, he just said it wasn’t great.
    Now stop the mindless trolling and just give your opinion on the game.

    • Who are you? Mr. Spock? It makes ZERO sense to buy a game, beat it, return it, then buy it again. If its so repetitive w hy would he re buy a game he returned? Thats just repetitive

      • Not beat it i mean

  7. @ben,
    well you’re right ben.still i guess it would be a bit NERDZILLA if you know what i mean but still it’s lame to buy and return and buy again if the kid(jwalka)loves it he/she/it loves it,nuff said.
    @jwalka,
    have you even relized HOW MUCH MONEY YOU SPENT FOR THIS PIECE OF CRAP?!ITS JUST A GAME NOT SOMETHING THAT CAN TAKE OVER THE WORLD!!!!!
    my thoughts about the game:i like it the way they made the game i bet they are going to make the PC version way better than PS3 and Xbox360.i heard Prototype 2 has an Alex Mercer skin too.now i must have this game!cant wait!!

  8. I am a huge fan of Prototype 1, when i heard 2 was coming out I fell over with a smile.

    Now that Prototype 2 is out, and I already beat it in less than 2 days I have to scratch my head and say WHAT THE HELL?

    How can anyone say 2 is better than the first? Prototype 1 had so much story it was insane! It took me weeks to beat prototype 1 but only because I wanted to unlock all the stories and such.

    I’ve seen on the forums where players claim that Prototype 1 has no story. I don’t know what game you guys played, but it was like watching a full season marathon of a series on TV.

    Prototype 2 fails hardcore on the consume stories. Each story is literally a sentence or two, and doesn’t really come together the way it did in Prototype 1.

    Prototype 2 fails hardcore in over all game because it is way to short. When I beat it, I was almost 100% sure that Alex would somehow run away, and this would open up the rest 1/2 of the game. When Alex died, I was extremely disappointed in the lack of story and game.

    Prototype 2 does do good with the audio story of the black boxes, that part is cool. However the story itself is just retarded.

    Prototype 2 also has a weird thing at the beginning where religious views are thrown up, and as you play, it kinda starts to make out that you are Gods weapon but later that just gets canned so why did they add it?

    They need to fire whatever 3rd graders made up the story and come out with a fast Prototype 3 that has an actual story I can follow.

    Also the end is horrible because you can’t reopen hives and go into bases. Prototype 1 you could. In the end of the game you clearly destroy all the virus and hives, and zombie mutants however…..they still are outside…So what the hell?

    • @Prototype 1 hardcorefan,
      yeah i know the story was retarded and mostly their plan was to kill Alex Mercer all these wasted years!!!!i was frusterated about how the story began and ended.cool gameplay but screw the story,i bought the game ONLY because of the gameplay.thats all you people need to hear.i hated Heller so much and i still do,why cant they make James Heller the villain and Alex Mercer the hero?everyone loved the 1st game,heck i beat it in 2 weeks but for the 2nd one i beat it in 3 weeks and 4 days due to cool graphics that attracted me so much and the carnage i made in the city(laughs).makes me feel like they should make a DLC pack in the next few months.

  9. Not sure of anyone even checks this anymore, but I broke off from the story mode to complete the Blackwatch missions and now I don’t have any icons to continue story mode. Am I just boned and have to start all over again?

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