Parent Talk: Prototype 2 clearly defines the M rating. Civilians can be killed without consequence; blood splatters everywhere as protagonist James Heller shape-shifts his limbs into all manner of horrible killing weapons. Couple that with constant f-bombs, and you’ve a game aimed squarely at the 17-and-up crowd.
When the first Prototype hit, another open-world, ‘use the city as your personal gym’ type of game released: inFAMOUS. The titles battled it out to be best of the sub-genre. They played almost identically, the differences being the setting, maturity level of the story, and content. Anyone who played the original Prototype or inFAMOUS series knows exactly what to expect. The city is open for your pleasure; your powers evolve over time, and your choices determine whether you’re perceived as a hero, or some kind of twisted villain.
Review Basis: Finished the game.
What happens when you take an open-world concept, add a wealth of collectibles to hunt down, position the original game’s hero as the antagonist, and add new elements to make players feel like they’re transforming into a demi-god? You get an awesome action game that’s marred because of a lack of challenge and aging formula. Oh and the f-bombs don’t help either. If you’ve played everything released in this sub-genre, chances are you’ve already picked P2 up. If you’re making you’re way in, Prototype 2 is a decent place to start.
Free-roaming. The second you control James, you can run up a building, glide from one rooftop to another, grab an enemy and fling him like a bowling ball into an unsuspecting group of his friends…or be a vicious monster by grabbing civilians to absorb their life force for much-needed health. The possibilities feel endless, which is the point of an open world.
+ Presentation. Lush visual effects, fantastic art…everything comes together as a living, breathing city that encourages exploration.
+ Refined controls. Using James’ more powerful attacks is much easier.
+ Combat. It’s gruesome, and strangely rewarding. You can attack while scooting along the side of a building, while on the ground with hand-to-hand techniques, or any combination while interacting with the environment. There’s no shortage of means to mass-murder everyone around you. Sadistic? Indeed. Fun? You betcha.
+ Collectibles. Looking for them offers a nice break from the campaign, because they’re actually fun to find.
+/- Workable, but unimaginative story. James Heller is on a quest to hunt down those responsible for quarantining his city after purposely unleashing a virus on its citizens. He’s out for revenge and has his sights on Alex Mercer. It’s time to murder your maker, as the box elegantly puts it. The premise works, but the execution is unimaginative and generic only a few hours in.
+/- Camera lag. The camera has trouble keeping up with the action. It isn’t constant, but frequent enough to notice.
+/- Been there, done that. Missions are balanced and the pacing is great, but don’t expect Prototype 2 to reinvent the wheel.
– F-bombs =/= maturity. Why do developers think that constant f-bombs make a story more ‘mature’? It doesn’t work here, and I think it distracts from the experience. Does anyone alive really cuss this much?
– Choices, really? After coming off Mass Effect 3, it’s hard to play a game where your decisions bear little weight.
– Easy. The streamlined controls and improved accessibility help players far overpower any threats. If you like challenges, Prototype 2 won’t provide.
When the outbreak comes to a head and things start to go south, some civilians look nasty. Growing in power, you won’t believe what you’re eventually capable of. The poor people have no idea what’s coming to ‘em.
Prototype 2 does nothing new, but is certainly approachable by players just now enjoying open-world games. I would’ve enjoyed more impact from my decisions, and a protagonist that doesn’t cuss every two seconds, but P2 is still a fun game. How James evolves, the overall story and mission variety completes a solid fifteen hour offering for players.
If you enjoy games like inFAMOUS, Prototype 2 is a pretty easy recommend. If you want a profound story and consequences, perhaps this isn’t your next buy. For those in the middle, Prototype 2 offers a lot of fun in a not-so-perfect package.
Final Score: 7.5/10