When I sat down to start my review playthrough of Prototype 2, I had certain expectations. I’ll start by saying that, after playing the first Prototype, I thought this game would be more of the same. And, while it is indeed another game featuring a super-powered protagonist leaping and stabbing around a virus-ridden New York City, it’s a better experience overall. Developer Radical Entertainment took their first game, polished it up, and released a far better adventure.
The protagonist this time around is Sgt. James Heller. Fresh off a tour in Iraq and finding his family declared dead, he has joined the war in NYZ after the events of the previous game. Not only does he wish to help the city, but he’s mostly out for revenge against Alex Mercer. After confronting him for the first time, Heller is infected with a strain of the virus ravaging the city, granting him the same powers Mercer has. He escapes the lab he wakes up in and is soon bounding and gliding across New York to seek revenge on Mercer and destroy Blacklight, a special forces unit dedicated to combating biological warfare who wants to capture and replicate the powers of the “Evolved” and are originally responsible for the virus.
Just like the previous Prototype game, you play as a man with shape-shifting and body-morphing powers. You can morph your arm into various weapons, jump crazy high, glide, and shape-shift into those you have devoured as you traverse New York City’s three different zones. But, unlike the previous game, you actually start with all of your best powers from the very beginning and can develop and gain a couple more from leveling up and through normal story progression. Most of the game’s objectives have you using these powers to destroy a target, chase an enemy, or infiltrate a base by wearing someone’s form in a couple minor stealth sections. None of these missions ever come off as very difficult, even on the highest difficulty. Also, the game is very short, even including all the side-missions and objectives. Though after one full playthrough you won’t find yourself at max power just yet.
Visually, the game is a nice step-up from the previous game. The three zones of New York City are very distinct, where you go from the relative tranquility of the Green Zone to the utter destruction and mayhem of the Red Zone. The streets of New York are also far more active. Where the first Prototype had just cars, pedestrians, and monsters on the roads, Prototype 2 has a larger number of each, including a lot of rubble and destruction in the dangerous zones. The cutscenes are presented in black-and-white with red accents, which came off as a little odd since the game is actually quite colorful. Though, it does come across as gritty, so there’s that.
Prototype 2 is a fun game. The storyline is fairly bland and it doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, but what it does do it does very well. It’s a polished experience and it’s the equivalent of a Summer blockbuster: not much to think about, but it’s good, solid fun. You’ll enjoy the ride and the wonderful slaughter.
The game’s a solid 3.5 / 5.