Tech News on G4
'Prototype 2' unleashes more guilty pleasures
May 18, 2012
By John Powell - G4 Canada
The original 'Prototype' in 2009 was and remains one of my guiltiest gaming pleasures. Canada's own Radical Entertainment and Activision skilfully re-engineered the 'Spider-Man: Web of Shadows' engine and created a brand new story and experience. And what an engrossing experience it was.
As the eternally glum, human weapon Alex Mercer, we became entangled in a shadowy government conspiracy involving secret genetic testing, a doomsday virus and the military. With creepy Venom-like powers, Alex exacted revenge on those who wronged him in very agonizing and merciless ways.
Bad times for his enemies.
"Prototype 2" is another story of vengeance and retribution. 14 months after the events in the original game, New York is ravaged by another outbreak of the virus which turned everyday people into blood-sucking zombies and spawned all sorts of other mutants, freaks.
As the new anti-hero James Heller, you blame Alex Mercer for family's deaths. After returning home from a tour of duty in Iraq, you find much of New York has been quarantined and is under martial law of Black Watch soldiers. Seeking refuge in your neighbourhood church, you turn to the rebellious Father Guerra for guidance and are surprised to discover that he is as hungry for revenge as you are. So begins your blood brothers bonding moment.
More mission and cut-scene driven than its predecessor, 'Prototype 2' has a balanced number of combat and stealth quests. The never-gets-old ability to absorb others to replenish your health and steal their identities returns playing a more important role. Not only do you have to "impersonate" others to access Black Watch bases but the stealth element is ramped up when you must also chain consume individuals to access different areas or use certain scanners, key pads. All the while, you must not be caught by those in the target's line of sight.
The new predator mode just doesn't work at all. To find key targets to consume for information, you will sometimes be required to go on a hunt. By activating the power, a wave much like a bat's radar will bounce across the city in a circular manner and return to you. Your target is supposed to be at the center of that returning wave. To locate that center position though, you have to be on a tall building so that you can really survey your surroundings far and wide, therefore, the power is useless from the ground. Once you are close, your target will appear as an x-ray of sorts. The hunting component is nothing but a gimmick and a poorly executed one at that. It just drags the game out and does nothing to make you feel like the ultimate predator you are.
Although 'Prototype' wasn't impossible, it had its fair share of difficult missions and quirks. To their credit, Radical Entertainment rolled up its sleeves addressing all of those issues making 'Prototype 2' a far superior game in every respect. Instead of having to earn each and every power, some are included as inherent abilities and that has the game firing on all cylinders right out of the box. You will evolve and become more powerful faster. The simplified controls are more fluid especially when you are changing "on the run". The maps are more compact, easy to maneuver around.
What is sacrificed by all of these changes though is the level of difficulty and variety of the missions. Except for a few of the boss battles or if you happened to be swarmed by a legion of goons, you shouldn't have much trouble dispatching enemies or completing the missions. You should be able to grind though the main storyline quite efficiently without many stumbles. There is not much your enemies can do to stop you as you slash and rip, tear them to shreds. Those bothersome Black Watch helicopters remain a thorn in your side though unless you happen to swipe a rocket launcher from one of the helpless soldiers.
It is kind of disappointing that the majority of the missions require you to surreptitiously enter a base, tear the place apart or steal information and then escape fleeing the resulting Black Watch alert. Some players may find the happenings redundant while those who love occasional mindless combat and don't really pay much attention to the surrounding scenarios won't mind at all. You be the judge.
'Prototype 2' gets its primary job done and that is to make you feel like an unstoppable, merciless engine of destruction. There are hours and hours of guilty pleasures to be had in wielding such destructive powers. We just wish there was a point to all the carnage and that the mayhem wasn't so repetitive.
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