+A few clever twists in the story
+Good progression with levels and perks
-Textures can still look low-res sometimes
-Missions become repetitive
-Some clipping occurs in chaotic battles
Final score: 8 / 10
Controller support: Yes
OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.6GHz, AMD Phenom X3 8750
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Hard Disk Space: 10 GB
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512 MB RAM
DirectX: 9.0C or later
Sound: Any DirectX 9 compatible Sound Card
Supported Input Devices: Keyboard, Mouse, Xbox 360 Controller
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad 2.7 GHz or better, AMD Phenom II X4 3 GHz or better
Memory: 4 GB
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 (1GB) or better, ATI Radeon HD 5850 (1GB) or better
The first Prototype came out back in 2009 and, while it delivered a pretty intense open-world experience in which players controlled the supernatural abilities of Alex Mercer, it had quite a few flaws, chief among which being its not-so-detailed version of New York City.
With Prototype 2, Radical Entertainment is trying to improve upon its first creation, while adding a whole new protagonist, in the form of Sergeant James Heller, a man who has a grudge against Mercer as he killed his family during his rampage.
With a new main character, more powers and a more detailed world, is Prototype 2 an evolution of the original or should it be eradicated? Let’s find out.
Upgrade your abilities ...
... and slaughter your enemies
Prototype 2 takes place sometime after the original, with Alex Mercer still roaming around New York. The city is now under quarantine by the nefarious Blackwatch mercenary corporation and the evil GenTek scientists, while the U.S. Army sticks to navigating the streets and trying to help out the population.
The game’s world is split into three zones, depending on the degree of infection, ranging from the safe Green Zone, to the unstable Yellow and the dangerous Red one. Through these areas, mercenaries, scientists and Mercer’s own agents are roaming about, each with their own agendas.
Through a series of events, Sergeant James Heller gains some of Mercer’s supernatural abilities, and it’s up to him to bring at least a bit of justice on the streets of New York City, while trying to stop all these plots.
The general story in Prototype 2 is quite decent, as it manages to refrain from being too complex. Sadly, you won’t really start to care about the array of secondary characters that Heller meets along the way as they're all quite forgettable, albeit with only a couple of exceptions. There are some betrayals that you can smell from a mile away, but also a few twists that come as a surprise, especially for those that went through the first game.
Mercer’s transformation into a villain is a bit peculiar but, as you progress through the plot, things start making a bit more sense. Those that want even more insight into the story can check out the secondary missions that can be accessed via Blacknet terminals found in Blackwatch bases. These offer not just extra details but also special abilities if you complete your goals.
Prototype 2 follows the recipe set in place by its predecessor, giving Heller a certain amount of powers at first, including the famous glide one, and then gradually allowing him to absorb new types of abilities by taking down various monsters.
While the classic powers like the Blade or the Hammerfists are back, some new ones have also appeared, in the form of the Tendrils or the BioBombs, which are quite devastating in many cases. You can equip two at the same time and shift between them by using separate buttons. You can easily choose others on the fly by using a special power wheel.
Certain abilities, like the shield, can be equipped by pushing different buttons, while special Devastators can be unleashed once you absorb enough mass. These very powerful attacks range from Tendril Barrage, which sends out tendrils in all directions, to the Pack Leader one, through which Heller can summon two Brawlers that fight for him against his enemies.
All of the aforementioned attacks feel great and still manage to impress even after continued use. Each ability has several finishing moves that you can pull off when an enemy is low on health. Another interesting ability is the hunter mode, which allows Heller to use a sonar-like ability to hunt down special enemies hidden in the game’s world.
Speaking of enemies, they are quite varied and range from regular soldiers, either of the U.S. Army or Blackwatch, and include various vehicles, from light and heavy tanks to helicopters, as well as various mutants, each with their own abilities.
Most of them are relatively smart but, once you start accumulating various abilities, it all comes down to picking your favorites and unleashing hell on your poor enemies. Several mini-bosses put up a bigger fight but patience, as well as clever use of the environment can earn you victory. You should also remember to constantly use different powers, as once an enemy is hit by a certain ability, he won’t receive that much damage if you repeat it.
In case you get tired of using your supernatural abilities, you can opt to use Blackwatch’s own equipment against it by wielding machine guns, grenade or rocket launchers against your foes or by commandeering tanks and helicopters.
It’s not all about chaos in Prototype 2, as the game, believe it or not, also emphasizes stealth, as Heller must usually absorb Blackwatch soldiers or key personnel in order to infiltrate bases and to make it out of them alive.
One of the biggest problems in Prototype 1 was that its version of New York City wasn’t that detailed, as buildings looked small while citizens and enemies didn’t feel that threatening. In the new game, things have changed, as the world is much larger and you do feel like you’re in a sprawling city that’s been ravaged by the so-called Mercer virus.
There are still quite a few glitches and clipping problems, what with the chaotic combat, but, overall, you won’t encounter that many issues with Prototype 2. The aiming system is a bit peculiar, as it sometimes automatically picks out innocent bystanders instead of important enemies, but you can manually target big monsters in order for your attacks to converge on their location.
The bigger they are ...
... the harder they get torn apart
Graphics and Sound
Prototype 1 also suffered because of subpar graphics but, in the new game, things have improved, as everything from the character models, to the world or the enemies look much better. While the yellow and green ones look quite similar, the Red zone manages to impress, as you can still see the damage done to the city by the initial outbreak.
In terms of sound, Prototype 2 is quite decent, as voice acting is pretty good. While Heller’s voice is a bit too gruff, the rest of the cast manages to pull off their respective roles. The soundtrack does its job but your ears won’t be that impressed throughout your adventures.
Prototype 2 is a good game. Its gameplay manages to keep all the things done right by its predecessor while adding quite a few new powers and mechanics to keep the experience interesting.
The story is all over the place, as Heller is driven purely by revenge, but you’ll still have fun using his array of impressive abilities through the quite lengthy single-player campaign. Throw in the fact that there’s a New Game + mode that retains your abilities and you’ll certainly have an incentive to go back to New York City.