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Platform

Playstation 3

Genre

Action

Publisher

Activision

Developer

Radical Entertainment

ESRB

M (Mature)

Released

April 24, 2012

 

 

- Visceral sandbox carnage
- Some nice new weapon modes

 

 

- Pretty much just Prototype 1 with a different coat of paint
- Character designs as deep as a wading pool

 

 

Review: Prototype 2 (360)

Review: inFamous 2 (PS3)

Review: Saints Row: The Third (PS3)

 

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Prototype 2

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

prototype 2         prototype 2

 

2nd Quarter is the calm zone of the gaming industry – the releases are sporadic, and the quality amongst them is few and far between. Most gamers look at this time of year and have time to fixate on the one or two releases that they salivate over in anticipation as opposed to the free-for-all carnage that it 4th Quarter where even good games can be lost in the shuffle of just pure volume. Prototype 2 was one of those light-house style markers for me – nothing particularly appealing on

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the horizon in the months before, and nothing until Diablo 3 drops. Plus you can’t discount the draw of those “M for Mature” moments where you can beat an enemy to death with their own arm while dodging missile fire. The rating is quite apt, as you can’t do much of anything without a double-digit body count, copious amounts of blood and more dismemberment that a CSI marathon.

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A full side-mission and collectable run-through took about 12 hours for me – and about 3 hours of that was just looking for those items and completing the obligatory race-missions included in every sandbox-style game.

Continuing the story from the original game, you take up the mantle of Sgt. James Heller – a Blackwatch soldier who has become emotionally unstable after another outbreak of the Mercer Virus. He wants to try and kill Mercer after the untimely death of his wife and young daughter. You run across Mercer in the first mission, and become infected with a concentrated form of the virus. With your new abilities, you have to uncover the plots of both Blackwatch as well as Mercer all the while keeping the untenable situation within the ruins of New York. The virus is ravaging the general populace and creating a series of new super-monsters. In what can be easily called the most disturbing allegory to the Mega-Man franchise – you gain the powers of your enemies by defeating them and absorbing their body-mass into yourself. As you defeat enemies and progress through the campaign, you gain new fighting techniques, physical attributes, and skills from your fallen foes.

The story runs the balancing act of containing the weapon-design agenda of the Blackwatch forces against the hidden campaign that Heller is leading – some missions you are protecting your foes from being over-run; other times attacking them head-on. Heller navigates his foes and friends alike with the dexterity of a drunken toddler, generally yelling and smashing into them all the while yelling profanity. The written dialogue tends to fall short – so much so that you end up just skipping some of the cut-scenes. I would summarize most scenes as follows: “Stereotypically-angry-black-guy is pissing off obviously-going-to-be-a-traitor-girl, but it will be ok as somehow-able-to-infiltrate-the-DOD-network-girl-who-still-has-hair-product-in-a-warzone will be able to save the day with a timely phone-call.”

 

prototype 2          prototype 2

 

The gameplay itself doesn’t deviate too much from the predecessor; the fight system has a few needed tweaks to fix some of the issues. Correctly timed blocks will buy you breathing space against the swarm of attacks that generally follow you wherever you seem to go. With the collection of crazy powers, the fights themselves quickly degrade into a free-for-all of thrown objects, flying bodies, and ordinance lobbed in all directions.

 

The pace at times can be frantic, and the best you can do is to try and make sure you can isolate a manageable group of enemies before you get chewed up.

 

The gameplay and combat system is definitely the big strength in the Prototype franchise, especially in later levels where you can pretty much pulp an entire division of Airborne Cavalry and support divisions without too much trouble. The “hunting” mechanic was an interesting addition – using a type of echo-location you can identify your targets’ position relative to yourself as you move through the city after them. It was reminiscent of the Predator movies somewhat, an apt metaphor considering the context.

The mission variety is par the course for a combat-sandbox game: typical search and destroy missions, escort, infiltration, and my least favorite race missions disguised as collect the random object/waypoint. For all intents and purposes, most missions can be completed by kicking in the front door and blowing all objects into smaller bloody and burning objects. Additional experience is awarded for completing missions in certain ways, but for the most part there’s not multiple solutions to tough missions.

Visually, Prototype 2 doesn’t really do anything too special – I found the game to be a minor update from the previous entry, with some of the character designs looking downright square-like. While that does make me think of playing Golden-eye on my N64, it looks a little out of place in a modern game. Not a lot of variation in crowd-character designs either, it’s quite common to have 3-4 of the same exact character design hanging out and talking to each other. The sound itself is good – music does the trick and sound effects are spot on for what one would expect.

All in all, Prototype 2 does a good job of creating an interesting combat engine, but falls short visually, in story-telling, and general mission design. Assuming that you are geared for some mindless death and dismemberment, this is a good way to spend the time until the new releases hit the open market.

- Tazman

(May 4, 2012)

 

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