Prototype 2 [5 Minute Review]

I can think of better ways to die than being torn apart by tentacles.

Prototype 2 is appealing to the power junkie in you. Your abilities in game are a gratuitous display of power overwhelming: an affront to stealth and caution, and a glorification of jumping into the fray. There are few obstacles that can stand in your way.  Your powers are devastating. Your aim is impeccable. And you’re very, very pissed off.

This may not sound particularly challenging to some, but as a game that conveys a sense of warzone chaos, Prototype 2 definitely gives you a suitable backdrop. Its lasting appeal, however, leaves something to be desired.

The story continues on from the first game: former protagonist Alex Mercer makes way for Sgt. James Heller, an angry emotionally unstable soldier out to clean them mean infected streets as a means of avenging his deceased family. The plot is cringe-worthy and boils down to Heller screaming at things while threatening to kill them in imaginative ways, supported by cardboard cut-out characters that are empty vessels. There are some rare moments when Heller suddenly does a complete 180-degree turn and becomes vulnerable and humane whenever there’s a hint of saving his daughter or family. The plot merely serves to package the game features, and it’s confusing.

Okay, I understand that a game like this doesn’t necessarily need a deep and meaningful storyline, but I struggled to find an incentive to keep going. Short of figuring out that “Heller is bat-shit insane”, I didn’t really care about Mercer, the virus, the military drama, or Heller’s cannonball approach to revenge. I didn’t empathise with Heller’s justification of murdering scientists and soldiers en masse. His personality obviously appeals to gamers with axes to grind or frustrations to vent. It’s juvenile.

But it all boils down to whether or not the game is fun, and Prototype 2 is indeed enjoyable to play. The game conveys a great sense of chaos: battles rage between Infected people and the Blackwatch soldiers, military vehicles pound through the streets, mutated beasts burst forth from the ground, and you’re in the middle of it all, tossing cars and ripping missile launchers off attack choppers. There is rarely a dull moment in the game, and it’s all very immersive, if a little fatiguing.

Prototype 2 carries on the concept of “endless parkour” from the first game, adds some extra fidelity, tweaks the mutant powers, and adds a couple more special abilities. The end result is a character that can potentially be immensely powerful. Most of the powers have been rehashed from the first game, but they are still enjoyable to use and have visible, devastating results that are highly satisfying.

Perhaps too devastating.

I found it incredibly difficult to actually fail in this game at the average level. With your area-of-effect offense, ability to consume practically anyone for a substantial health kick, and hyper-mobility that allows you to evade attacks with slow motion quick-time events, the raw challenge of the game is left wanting. Such is the nature of a game that promises you raw power – things tend to get easy when you can scale a tall building in a single bound and take out tanks with a few heavy blows.

Prototype 2 offers some shining moments, but the overall package is weak. The plot is thin, the action is repetitive, and eventually the challenge wanes: the length of the campaign was enough to last me a couple of weekends. For those who choose to dig into a New Game+, you may get more value, but by the end I was ready to move on to something that was better at holding my attention.

Strictly for those with superiority complexes, or if you’re craving a power trip.

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