I love open-world games where the action is only restricted by player fatigue. Being able to run around a huge sand-box of a city, virtually wreaking havoc in creative ways is always fun. “Prototype 2″ builds upon the original, while tightening things and adding just enough new material to make it more enjoyable, thought it’s sometimes repetitive.
For those who haven’t played the original, the sequel has a recap mode in the menu that will either fill you in or refresh your memory of past events. Taking place 14 months after the events of the first game, players take control of Sgt. James Heller, a veteran soldier hell-bent on killing Alex Mercer (see recap of first game). Heller’s wife and child were killed when Mercer released the Blacklight virus into the population. During his quest for vengeance, Mercer infects Heller with the virus as well, turning him into the new prototype.
New York City, now known as New York Zero (NYZ), has been quarantined and controlled by the Blackwatch group. Blackwatch claims they are containing the virus: in reality, they are running twisted experiments on the population. While Heller hunts down Mercer, he’s also attempting to uncover the devious Blackwatch plot and bring the organization down.
As Heller runs around the city, he must find key members of the Blackwatch group and consume them. With each person consumed, Heller gains insight as to how things got the way they are, pushing the narrative forward. In some cases, the people Heller consumes also give him knowledge that make him a stronger and smarter shooter. Icons will appear over random individuals who will aid in his evolution if consumed.
The problem with “Prototype 2″ is that it is repetitive. Hunt down Person X, consume them, learn, and move on to the next person. I played for three straight hours, and all I did was go on one search mission or another. It’s fun, but monotonous.
Making up for the monotony is the sheer fun factor. Heller can run straight up walls, bound from roof top to roof top, and destroy anything he chooses. If there is a pesky car in your way, just lift it up and chuck it into oncoming traffic. If there is a group of soldiers shooting at you, just wipe them all out in a matter of seconds. You even have the ability to pick up machine guns and rocket launchers, which as you can imagine, only adds to the carnage.
As Heller evolves, he also gains new powers which aide in the aforementioned destruction. He can grow claws, blades, whips and other virus-applied weaponry to devastate his enemies. The more experience you gain, the more you can upgrade Heller’s abilities, turning him into a one-man army.
Aside from the main objectives, there are also satisfying mini-events scattered throughout the city. These events test Heller’s skills and award him points and upgrades. For instance, one mini-game has Heller on a roof top with a series of Blackwatch soldiers below. Heller must dive-bomb off the roof and take out as many soldiers as possible with a ground shockwave.
“Prototype 2″ looks and sounds terrific. From the view atop a tall skyscraper, to the impact crater you create when smashing to the ground (something which never gets old), the visuals are impressive. The dystopian world developer Radical Entertainment has created is top notch, with its destroyed bridges and refugee camps scattered throughout.