Three years ago, Radical Entertainment set players loose in New York City as Alex Mercer and provided one of the most entertaining, carnage-filled romps since last-gen game, The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Now, Prototype 2 is upon us and Mercer is once again an integral part of the story, but this time a military man named James Heller has the spotlight and the two heavyweights are going to have to duke it out in the once again infested New York City.
With Prototype 2 releasing nearly a year after inFAMOUS 2, the two games won’t have to battle with each other (unlike the two previously mentioned virtual men) at retail outlets like they did in 2009. Can the sequel expand on the formula of its predecessor for the better and give players a reason to choose Prototype 2 as their playground for destruction and mayhem?
Let’s find out what’s HOT and what’s NOT in Prototype 2.
Becoming the Deadliest Predator
Prototype 2 opens up with Sergeant James Heller contracting the Mercer Virus from none other than Mercer himself. From this point on, Heller transforms from an efficient killing machine into an unstoppable weapon of mass destruction. While his abilities can easily incapacitate human opposition from the get-go, he will need to improve his skills greatly in order to stand a chance against the monstrosities that await him down the road. In order to achieve destructive capabilities of biblical proportions, Heller must consume everything that stands in his way, whether they are there by choice or just bad timing. By absorbing people, our protagonist gains their form, memories, experience points and even abilities if the target is displaying a special marking above their head. For example, a soldier with an “arm” symbol above his head may improve Heller’s ability to wield a rocket launcher, whereas ingesting a pilot can grant access to helicopters. If one of the special markings appears over an infected, which are the creatures overrunning the city, then that’s the game informing you that this particular monster will upgrade one of Heller’s devastating powers. You won’t have access to all of them at first, but over time you’ll gain a shape-shifting arsenal that includes hammerfists, claws, tendrils, a blade and the whipfist. Two powers can be assigned at a time to Traingle and Square (X and Y, if you’re playing on Xbox 360).
By simply dicing up foes and completing tasks, Heller can achieve higher levels of evolution, which is the clever way of portraying the common leveling system in games. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. A devastator attack can be used once a special meter fills up with enough “mass” and the end result is just as the name implies: devastating. Combine this with the upgradable speed, jump height, glide and air dash, and you have countless ways to plan your attacks. The game isn’t only geared toward the all-out warrior. Surprisingly, Heller adapts well to stealthy operations. Since he can take the form of anyone he absorbs, high-ranking officials can be impersonated and used to gain access to restricted areas. Suddenly, you find yourself walking unnoticed throughout the base you were attacking just moments ago. But maybe you like to approach your prey as if you were Predator roaming the concrete jungle. Using a sonar-styled viral scan, certain targets can be located, regardless of how far away they are standing. The sonar as sent out and then the pulse returns with the new center originating from the target. Once Heller is close enough, this person will highlight and their skeletal structure will be shown to help separate them from the other enemies in the vicinity. Prototype 2 provides puzzle pieces in the form of various powers and it’s your job to assemble them into some sort of gruesome, life-ending final picture. That’s the beauty of the game and the unrestricted freedom it provides.
Plenty of Open World Content
Collectibles are a tricky feature to get right in games. Most of the time they feel too far out of the way and more like a chore than anything else. Prototype 2 has implemented collectibles the right way. Instead of making floating icons to collect without a real purpose, Heller will be on the lookout for blackboxes, field ops and lairs. Each one serves a single purpose: make Heller stronger. Areas of the city contain so many of each collectible and it’s up to the player to locate them, if they care to spend the time that is. The reward is well worth it though. Let’s say all blackboxes in Midtown are found, then Heller will be rewarded with a Mutation. Mutations are upgrades that act like perks and fall under certain categories like Offensive or Defensive. For example, a defensive mutation can open up a list of options such as becoming bullet proof to small arms fire. A locomotion mutation grants access to movement-based boosts, one of which greatly increases jump height. These easily provide enough incentive to explore NYC because, as I mentioned earlier, the game is all about crafting the perfect super soldier, one that can turn his arm into a gigantic blade. A little exploration yields great power and that is how Prototype 2 turned a normally tedious task into a fun scavenger hunt.