Prototype 2 Review
I’m going to kill Alex Mercer.
Radical Entertainment are back with Prototype 2, the follow-up to their 2009 hit game Prototype. I love a good Sandbox, Open World game, so I jumped at the chance to get back in the infected city of New York to see what they had in store for us this time. Boy was I glad I did.
This time around you’ll play as Sargeant James Heller, a man who’s lost his wife and daughter to the Blacklight virus, which spread across New York City in the original game. You are hell-bent on finding and killing anyone involved, including Gentek, the genetic engineering company who created the virus, BlackWatch, the military outfit in charge of cleaning things up, and Alex Mercer, the main character from the original game, who you blame for spreading the virus again, which ended up getting your family killed.
The first game ended with the virus outbreak being cleaned up, but 14 months later, it has spread again, and Heller blames Mercer and sets out on a tale of revenge. The story in Prototype 2 is on par with most Sandbox games and it does a good job of moving the game forward, and providing a reason to keep playing. It’s not the deepest, or greatest story ever told, but that’s not always necessary for every gamer in these types of games. To me, they are mostly about having fun, while exploring the open environments, and seeing how much chaos you can cause along the way, and there is a plenty of fun to be had in Prototype 2.
One of the best parts about Prototype 2 is exploring the city, which is quite large, because the movement is some of the best in any open world game I’ve ever played. When you hold down the sprint button, Heller will automatically jump over obstacles, and climb up buildings with ease. You don’t have to worry about grabbing ledges one at a time, or jumping over and over to get up to the top of a building. It’s so much easier to get around this way, and one of the biggest parts of any open world game is roaming around the city. The combat in the game is really well done too, and I especially love the target lock on, particularly when using a weapon to take down a tank or helicopter. I’m also a big fan of the health system and how when you are low on health you can just consume someone and get some health back. It essentially makes it a city full of health kits.
As you complete tasks in the game such finishing missions and killing the infected, you will earn EP, which is used to level up Heller and increase his stats for movement, health, regeneration and more. This, combined with the many side missions in the game, which earn you upgrades to your combat skills, new mutations and more, add quite a bit of depth to the game. These RPG Elements help keep the game fresh, as you are always learning new attacks and powers to use during combat to help keep it from becoming too repetitive. There’s always something to do around the city, whether it be a collectible to find, an infected lair to destroy or upgrade to consume, you won’t find yourself bored too often in Prototype 2.
For all the good in the game there are some not so good qualities as well. For example, the missions can start to feel the same after you play for a few hours, as they are mostly made up of hunting down different people in Gentek or Blackwatch and consuming them to steal their identity and then killing some infected or destroying the facility. It’s not to say that they stop being fun, but you’ll quickly start to see the missions becoming similar. The vehicle controls can also be slightly annoying, as they aren’t very smooth, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to fight hand-to-hand the majority of the time anyway, so you won’t notice it as much as those who want to spend most of their time behind the wheel of tank. I enjoyed the combat so much that I didn’t really want to use the vehicles, which is weird since I normally love jumping in a vehicle and going on a rampage. That said a lot to me about the movement and combat in the game.
With a play time of anywhere between 15-20 hours, or longer, depending on how much random chaos you cause and how long you spend searching for the collectibles, Prototype 2 is a great length and you should keep you busy for a while. For those who were lucky enough to get the limited edition will also have an increased play time with the Radnet Missions that will be available each week going forward. If you haven’t bought Prototype 2 yet, then you should definitely try to find the Limited Edition to get the Radnet code, as it’s not available to purchase separately.
There are no multiplayer or cooperative modes in Prototype 2, and just like the first game, I really wish there was some form of co-op in Prototype 2, as these open-world, sandbox games are a blast to play with some friends. A prime example of this is Crackdown, which featured online co-op and very similar gameplay to Prototype, and was much more fun when you roamed the city, wreaking havoc with some friends.
I’m not sure why more sandbox games don’t feature co-op in some way, but it’s a shame that Radical missed out on a great opportunity to reach the co-op fanatics with Prototype 2. I think they would have eaten up the chance to run around NYC with some friends.
If you’re like me and you love Open World, Sandbox games than you’re going to love Prototype 2. It may not have a wonderfully told story like Batman Arkham City, or online co-op like Crackdown 2, but it still offers lots of explosions, a great combat system and one of the most accessible movement systems in any Open World game I’ve ever played. It’s up to you decide which of those things is most important.