Prototype 2: Revenge, Intrigue, Action! … and morphing a leather jacket out of your own skin …

So here I am, sitting in this cramped APC. Stack of guys with me, sharpening my knife. My big knife. Almost a machete actually! The guys are all talking about how things aren’t going so swell, another outbreak of the backlight virus, Mercer has gone ham on the army. That’s when they catch my attention. Mercer! Now there’s a douchebag I have a bone to pick with, sharpening this knife specially for you man. For my family. For my REVENGE! It’s about this time that the proverb comes into play ‘speak of the devil and he shall appear’ … and he certainly did appear …

Prototype was semi desired and anticipated sequel of the year back in 2012, the first game from radical entertainment and Activision was a really under rated gem with a great story, good pacing, varied mechanics and most importantly freedom. The game allowed so much freedom to just go nuts in so many ways so when they announced they were making a sequel I got on board for it. Now I have to admit back in 2012 I suffered from not having money at 17 and nobody I knew owning the game 😥 so I have only now gotten around to playing this (also its closing on July and new games are scarce). Prototype 2 right away promised more of the same from the first game and promised it would be better and include new features, so what’s not to like, right? …  well now after all these years I know they did and didn’t deliver on that and I’m now kind of glad that I’m cynical of developer promises 😃

The tale of this Adventure is that of James Heller, having moved on from the end of the first game where we learned Alex Mercer was actually just the virus with Mercer’s image and personality (a really clever end I feel!) and have now moved 14 months into the future where there has been another outbreak of the Blacklight virus that caused the events of the first game. Heller, a Sergeant in the US Army and suffering from the loss of his family at the hands of the virus is at the army’s reluctance deployed to the red zone to help bring the virus situation under control. Heller’s situation rapidly goes from pretty bad to universally the worst day ever pretty quickly as you not only fail to kill mercer but also rather rapidly become his new best buddy for which he thanks you by making you into an infected powerhouse and also public enemy number 1.5. the story rapidly progresses along a similar line to the first game of Blackwatch forces are bad, Mercer is an ass and you are now the only hope for the salvation of the people from tyranny and the virus (irony lost on the virus inside Heller being used to stop the virus). The games story is nothing truly special. You’ll progress through missions and story in much the same way that you did in the first game but with some new changes, side quests and the web of intrigue that gave optional expansions to the story and world are now linked into the story itself and take the form of BlackNet missions and these now reward you with the Mutations that used to be gained from the XP gains of Prototype (these are still present too but now you have ones exclusive to these mission sets). To keep the story fresh from the last game the map has been updated too and you know only have access to half of Manhattan and two small island areas. The biggest plus for me in the story were the new style used for cutscenes. They’re all shot in this noir style that focuses on only including the colour red. This does nothing for the games feel or tone but I like that it’s trying something new. Gripes with the story here are pretty much the same ones I had from the first prototype which are only really niggling, like how does Heller (and by extension Mercer) manage to generate a Jacket out of biological material from his own body and it not look like you’re some kind of hulking monster from the resident evil series? Or when I’m actually playing as Heller why I can walk past guard stations and not be instantly murdered for being the single greatest threat in Manhattan outside of Mercer. As the game progresses Mercer goes from ally to questionable douchebag and his complexities from the first game about his intentions and methods are totally lost as he just goes full on bad guy. Throughout the game, you’ll be introduced to several characters who will help and hinder you on your journey such as father Guerra, Sabrina Galloway and the return of Dana Mercer too! Each has their own story and are developed fairly well as characters. The game lacks the length of the first title as well so you have to be a little more lenient on the fact that development for these characters is more sped up than the Mercer Story. Once it reaches the end for this game you’ll notice it lacks the grand reveal nature of the first game but it’s not the worst. I found it to be relatively enjoyable, the final confrontation with mercer is pretty fun and it ended things well enough.

The best part of any open world game though is always its gameplay. A great story can be crushed by having a world with nothing to do it and has felled many a giant for having fault too. Prototype 2 sits in the middle of these for me as it does have great gameplay but it also takes some things away from the game instead of adding to it. As stated above the game has changed things up by incorporating the majority of side missions into the main story which I think is a great move because it gives me more of an incentive to go and do them and expand my arsenal of powers and skills.  Hives from the first game have now also been replaced with infected Lairs, given that Mercer is basically running the show this kind of makes sense that the virus has a little more organisation it rather than the random nature from the first game. In general, the core mechanics of this game saw a more fleshed out showing in this game with running being smoother, the parkour was great and the gliding powers and perks are now available straight off the bat (I feel since mercer infected you this makes sense because he has these skills). Dodging has also been overhauled which is great because it was really clunky in the first title which led to many a controller launch playing the hardest difficulty and the dodge resulting in you getting mauled into paste anyway 😃 the mission varieties in terms of side quests have seen a limitation in this game possibly from having it incorporated into the main story. The biggest fault for this game is that you have a lot of space to play around in and not a great deal to do in it. Prototype 2 sees a great amount of detail paid to its environments and textures and I feel it’s a little wasted as most of the time you’re just speeding past them and not really taking it in.

overall gameplay is strong in this title. It’s done well and polished but there just lacks anything outside the main story that you feel like doing and the story is really where this game has all its good points. It’s well written despite being short and manages to remain interesting and enjoyable to the very end confrontation. For the price, it’s at now on steam I’d say maybe get it on a sale although £19.99 isn’t exactly an unfair price for it. This is a good game and one of the better sequels I’ve played lately in that it does manage to evoke that fun feeling you got from the first game of flying through the sky and running up buildings.

DISCLAIMER: I am aware that this title has a well-deserved reputation of being one of the worst PC Ports to come from Radical entertainment but I fortunately and possibly through mysterious means managed to play the game rather well in 1080p and at 60 FPS. Don’t ask how. I have no idea 😃

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