Prototype 2 Review

Prototype 2 (Available on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: M
Players: 1
Genre: Action
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Release Date: April 24, 2012

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.

Plays Like:

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.

The Great:

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.

The Good:

+ 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.

The So-So:

+/- 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.

The Bad:

– 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.

The Ugly:

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.

The Lowdown:

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

10 thoughts on “Prototype 2 Review”

  1. Sandbox games aren’t my thing, especially when they get repetitive. That bring said, the scope and powers in Prototype 2 sound interesting. Good review as usual, but I’m passing this one. The closest sandbox game I’ve gotten into was Dead Rising 2 because of the time limit that keeps you on your tors, but even thatbfelt a bit repetitive to me.

  2. I never ended up playing the original Prototype, although I was always interested in it. That’s too bad about the cussing. There’s another game I played recently that was chock full of f-bombs, and while the occasional one is fine, this game just took it to the extreme. It’s stupid and only makes video games look unsophisticated and childish — highly counter productive to the assumed initiative to develop a “mature” image.

  3. Thanks Ahmed. It’s a good solid game, but I find this genre as a whole is starting to really show its age. There’s only so much you can do in an open world when you’re using the core “superhero/super villain” gameplay. At least that’s what developers are starting to show me at least.

  4. Yeah I REALLY dislike it when developers do this. I know people that swear like sailor as the old expression goes, but it’s not the same when you watch a movie or play a videogame. There’s just something off about it.

    Anyways, if you played and enjoyed inFamous, I’d say you’re well off just sticking with that. Prototype does some really cool stuff, but I just didn’t find it different enough to help push the sub-genre forward.

  5. A lot of people don’t give Dead Rising enough credit for pushing new ideas to the sandbox genre. It even got me, a gamer who despises the genre, to really enjoy it. I only played the 2nd one, but the first game got me real interested in the idea in the first place.

  6. I enjoyed Dead Rising except for one critical aspect, the lack of co-op. That destroyed what could have been an absolute blast. I played quite a bit of the original, but given its goofy nature and setting, a co-op partner would have done SO much to enhance the experience. I felt after a short period of time, much like the other open-world games in the genre, that after too long it started to get repetitive. Again, a co-op partner would have easily fixed that problem because together you could try and experiment with all the different weapons, try to lure zombies away from one of the weakened players, etc.

    What’s funny is that I hear Dead Rising 2 has online co-op and yet I’ve never tried it out. Are there any limitations to it, or is it the entire campaign just with a buddy character? If so, I’ll be picking it up tomorrow.

  7. From what I’ve experienced and what I’ve seen off YouTube, there are no limitations to online co-op in Dead Rising 2, Jarrod. I jumped into a stranger’s random game once, helped as much as I could until he stopped caring….got out and kept all the EXP I gained from his game onto mine. It was really fun, but you do have to know someone because doing it randomly isn’t necessarily ideal. So technically, the only limitation is the fact that you have to choose between inviting your buddy to progress your story or jump onto a friend’s games to help him/her progress through his. Either way, EXP and leveling up will remain constant.

    If you do pick it up, do so on the PS3 preferably so I can have a chance to play with you. Also, pick up the Off the Record version as it’s the cheaper and more “complete” choice. I haven’t had the chance to play or buy Off the Record yet but if you’re planning on doing so we may end up trying to get in some sessions together….which should be really cool.

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