RPG Index: Single player Role Playing Games

Friday, 25 January 2013

Prototype 2

Out of all the sandbox games ever made, the Prototype franchise may not be in the top 5. But it's definitely one of the most fun. With brutal execution moves and truly terrifying powers, James Heller is one of the most soulless and badass protagonists in a game to date. The plot is shit, the quests are stupid, the characters aren't interesting, and the graphics are mediocre at best. But damn, the gameplay is wonderful.

That's probably really painful.

Genre: Action, Sandbox, Adventure
Release Date: 24th April 2012
Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Score: 7/10
Similar Titles: Assassins creed, Spiderman, Just cause

You know that evil antagonist in every film, game, or book? The one that seems unstoppable, with powers that can corrupt, or destroy anyone on a whim? It takes every hero working together to even put a dent in his armor? James Heller is that guy. He's a monster amid a war between humanity and the zombie mercer virus. What's more, both sides are trying to kill him. And James Heller sure as Hell isn't losing (bad pun, but so easy. I'm sorry!). I think the story could have really been something. The setting is compelling, everything is there to make it an immersive and nail-biting tale. It's just not delivered well enough.

Tendrils are so fun to use, best attack in the game.

Blackwatch are a company fighting for humanity, albeit with questionable intentions. The Mercer virus infects the entire of New York city and threatens to encompass the world. It's too late to eradicate the Zombies entirely, they have spread too far to be stopped without nuking the city. Alex Mercer, the protagonist from the first Prototype has gone completely darkside. His conscience no longer exists, and his goal is to eradicate the human race. Thinking James Heller would be a good soldier, Mercer infects him with powers similar to his own. Luckily for us, Heller has no such intentions.

Nothing to see here gentlemen, move along.

Gameplay is addictive and exactly what you want in any game. Intuitive and easy controls, with a degree of depth for the more advanced players. The combat is satisfying to say the least. Attaching four cars to a helicopter at high velocity with tendrils is just plain awesome. Gliding above a military post and slamming literal hammer fists into explosive barrels to send the base sky high is effective and deadly. Kicking ass as James Heller is just a pleasure. As you progress you unlock new abilities, all of which are cool and overpowered. Mutations may also be unlocked for these abilities, powering them up in whichever way you choose. The system is simple, and it works.

Consuming people is done to access their memories and unlock inaccessible areas.

Another side of Prototype 2 is the stealth/shapeshifting segment. You can switch between Heller and a single disguise at will. Picking camouflage is done by absorbing a helpless human, and is often a good way to escape large amounts of enemies at the end of a quest or when you're too lazy to kill the scourge. This mechanic is largely useless, I rarely spent any time in Heller's body. It's easier to just stay in whichever poor sod you absorbed last.

Strike teams are like annoying flies.

The game isn't hard, it's more about choosing how to kill your enemies as opposed to having one path to victory. Tanks after you? Tear one in half, use it to blow the rest into smithereens. Helicopters? Rip off the missiles and go to town on everything in sight. There is clutter everywhere and it's all a potential weapon. James Heller is one overpowered motherfucker, and it feels good to go on a rampage with nothing to slow you down. In fact, the only things that can really kill you are the huge scary beasties we call bosses.

Helicopter, meet James Heller.

Quests are nothing special. Your typical objective consists of Hulking out and smashing up whatever target Heller sets his eyes on. Which is fine, that's what you do best and it's also the most fun. It's refreshing to play a game that doesn't try to be more than it is by breaking the mold. Prototype is about playing with your awesome power set and blowing stuff up. Every now and again you'll be asked to absorb a particular individual or hack into a certain terminal- but other than that you get free reign to be as destructive as you please. For the more demanding player, there are challenges and collectibles scattered across the city. Some of them can actually be very difficult if you're looking to get frustrated.

I wasn't expecting much from Prototype 2. If you've played the first game, then the second is almost exactly the same. It's a big sandbox for you to swing around in. Nobody expects you to finish it, it just wants you to have fun. Whether that's laughing at Radical Entertainment and their attempts to make you sympathize with the cold blooded James Heller, or just killing everything in sight. It's flawed in many ways, and has countless limitations outside of combat. Just enjoy it. Surprisingly, it's one of the rare games I actually managed to finish. Maybe you will too.

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