by Kabir Kaler
Welcome to Prototype 2, the sequel to the game that was once held as the ultimate badass game. Let’s see how this stacks up to it.
In this game, you are James Heller, an ex-military man who finished his tour to find his wife and daughter dead due to an outbreak of what they are calling the “Mercer virus.” Distraught and outright pissed off, you re-enlist to find and kill the man who is responsible: Alex Mercer. During a routine pickup and protect detail your convoy gets attacked leaving everybody but you dead. You call in the attack on your radio when you see Alex Mercer. You are ordered to stay but you ignore it and slit Mercer’s throat instead. Which does nothing.
Mercer then darts off with Heller in pursuit and after a helicopter from Blackwatch gets kicked to the ground by Mercer he grabs Heller and infects him. This inexplicably provides Heller with greater powers. Using these new powers you hunt and consume everybody involved in the death of your wife and kid.
As you can probably tell from the intro this game is all about vengeance. There is no side story or choosing the direction you want to play but there is a mystery aspect throughout the story that makes you question who is the real enemy you are fighting. Is it Alex Mercer, the one who started the first outbreak? Or is it Blackwatch, who is targeting, killing and experimenting on innocent people and infected alike? Other than Mercer, there are only a handful of people that stay in the story while the others have a short entrance.
The whole story happens in Manhattan. There are three areas, each having different layers of severity against the outbreak from safest to most dangerous: Green, Yellow, and Red. Besides enemies, the areas look different, but the Green and Yellow zones only slightly so, while Red is full of broken buildings and infection hubs.
The cut scenes use a black and white colour scheme similar to Sin City, along with CGI graphics, making it much better to look at. There is also a flash of imagery that is like looking at pictures, which are also in black and white.
The enemies look and act the part of a mutated virus wreaking havoc upon Manhattan. They look grotesque, with overly muscular tones, an abundance of pink to show flesh, and an overall sense of disease taking over their life. They come in all size and forms and each are tricky to deal with but have their own weakness to exploit. People themselves aren’t that different from one another and are everywhere. You don’t get anything from them except health and are filler for the environment–except for the military personnel. Usually you will need a type of uniform to get into a base undetected, which makes having one on at all times a must.
Heller has the ability to “dual wield” two powers of your choosing. Each weapon is very fluid and is easy to use on the fly. Heller has five main weapons, four oldies and one new one, each with a light and special attack. You also have radar to help you find specific individuals you are searching for while doing both side and main missions. Military vehicles and weapons are also available to hijack and use at your leisure but you cannot keep them with you and they must be either destroyed, emptied or abandoned. Your other skills or “mutations” will be earned through side missions, finding black boxes, getting rid of “spec-ops” (a group of people) and destroying infected lairs. It is very easy to find them as their basic location is on your map and all you need is five minutes of searching. You can also enhance your weapons by consuming specific individuals and infected. They aren’t on your map as they appear randomly and at different places. Depending on which you complete you will get a different mutation that will help with your offense, defense, movement, or hunting.
There are no glitches or frame rate issues when you are running but there isn’t any flair added on. Along with blocking, you can dodge which is very useful to use when you are facing dangerous or multiple enemies. With the enemies there is usually more than one type which makes picking your target important. Depending on which enemy you fight first you have to choose carefully which weapon you will want to use because not all weapons are effective. Boss battles are surprising due to the fact you never know when one appears but they are overpowered enemies you would see regularly and more often than not they will give you a power.
James Heller is an angry man who wants vengeance for his wife and daughter and this idea is present everywhere, including the way he talks. He swears at every available chance (I wish I was kidding), which at first is surprising but as it goes on you wish he would change his vocabulary. Voice acting for every character is excellent at portraying tone, anger, and just casual conversations.
Overall this is a good game but it is lacking in a few areas. Gameplay is fluid and accessible, voice acting is good both in game and in cut scenes which look and feel good with their black and white aesthetic, and the story is straight to the point. This game makes you overpowered and at times makes the game too easy, along with the collectables marked on your map which sometimes spoil it. After you have completed the game you have the option to restart the game with all your upgrades. Other than that there isn’t much to do besides getting trophies (which is easy to do), unless you have the Radnet Edition. With this edition you can do sets of mini games that give you a special mutation and a special video per completed set, and if you complete all five sets you will unlock an Alex Mercer skin to play the game. I give this game seven mutations out of ten.