Prototype 2 Review

The Hunter just became the hunted

When the first press release for the sequel for Radical Entertainment’s superhero sandbox game Prototype was in development and was slated for a 2012 released, it raised more than a few eyebrows in the gaming community. The original Prototype was not one of the obvious choice for a sequel.

The original Prototype was an open-world sandbox game where the protagonist Alex Mercer cut a bloody swath through NYC in the wake of a deadly viral outbreak. It wasn’t one of the best open world sandbox game – Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed II took that accolade. It wasn’t even the best game featuring an overpowered superhero – RockSteady’s Batman: Arkham Asylum took home the honors in that category.

In fact, Prototype didn’t even win the top honors in the niche of both its’ category combined as most critics thought the best free-running open-world game starring a superhero in 2009 was Sucker Punch’s PS3 exclusive InFamous. Constrained by a more highly acclaimed competitor and a horrendous release date which lied in the wake of E3 where everyone was talking about Modern Warfare 3 and Microsoft’s Project Natal – it looks as though the game was destined to be buried under all the E3 hype.

Like its predecessor, Prototype 2 features some of the best free-form traveling of this generation, from flying around the desolate NYC to jumping from building to building like the Hulk. Combat is easy to get used to and there was a variety of tactical options, so long as you are willing to grind long enough to earn them. If only the rest of the experience weren’t wrapped up in a retarded, repugnant membrane of inane plot, forgettable characters and terrible dialogue, Prototype 2 might be a contender for Game Of The Year accolades.

The city has become over-run by something called the Blacklight Virus since the original Prototype, an infestation that either kills its human hosts or turns them into savage, blood-thirsty mutants. The only exception to this rule is the protagonist from the first game Alex Mercer, who recently cut a bloody swathe through the city in search of answers about why the virus didn’t kill him outright. His rampage caused huge amounts of collateral damage and Heller learns that among the countless bodies Mercer left in his wake, two of them were his wife and daughter.

The open-world sandbox landscape is appealing and stuffed with missions and collectibles. I had almost as much fun exploring as I did with InFamous 2; it’s just a blast to bounce around, knowing that almost nothing can touch you, your mind reeling with ideas: “Okay, how should I go about this…? Leap with my claw from the rooftop? Go a little stealthy? Bring in the help? Oh wait, I can pilot some vehicles around now…” You don’t have to be pinpoint accurate and you don’t have to worry that you don’t have the requisite power and ability.

For the sake of fun, we’re willing to put up with a lot a ham-fisted plots, characters, settings and whatever else isn’t directly related to gameplay. I’m not exactly sure how much I’m willing to put up with, but it’s a line that Prototype 2 crossed very quickly.

Ratings: 3 out of 5 stars

By Chen KangYi
© POPCulture Online 2012, All Rights Reserved.
Prototype 2 is designed by Radical Entertainment and published by ©2012 Activision Publishing, Inc. Activision and Prototype are registered trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.

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