Prototype 2, the (surprise surprise) sequel to Activision's 2009 action video game Prototype, is a game that consists of curse words and butt kicking -- and it's got plenty of both.
Those who missed the original Prototype game should find little issue with jumping right in with its sequel. The game takes place 14 months after the events of the first game with New York City in the midst of a viral outbreak -- presumably set forth by Alex Mercer, the anti-hero of the first game. Prototype 2 protagonist Sgt. James Heller loses his family, blaming Mercer for his loss. Over the game's 10-14 hours worth of gameplay, Mercer takes it upon himself to play judge, jury, and executioner as he avenges the loss of his household against Mercer. The whole vengeance thing actually takes a back seat during much of the game, however, as simply mindless butt-kicking is the order of the day.
While there are many action games similar in gameplay to Prototype 2, developer Radical Entertainment decided to forego the common weapon assortment that competing titles offer players. So, rather than armaments of firearms and melee weapons, Heller's hands/arms *are* the weapons -- that is, they turn into them. The player has as many as five such weapons at his disposal, thanks to Mercer himself, and Heller can use these things not only to kick some baddy butt, but also as tools for traversing the in-game environments. Honestly, having Heller actually be the weapon (rather than just using one) really makes the player feel like a grade-A badass.
With each progressive level, Heller grows stronger and the player gets more adept at controlling the character. The enemies, however, don't seem to grow in strength at quite the same rate. Save for certain boss fights (and the like), Prototype 2 gets increasingly easier in its difficulty. That's a shame for titles like this should be played for the challenge as much as the adventure. Perhaps that's why Radical included so many darn (optional) collectibles for the player to collect -- it's a task that distracts the player from just how overpowered Heller becomes.
When it comes to the game's visual and audio presentation, Prototype 2 satisfies, but doesn't impress. Sure, the game is mostly clean and there didn't seem to be any frame-rate slowdown when the action picks up, but there's more to it that just that. Many of the character animations were quite reminiscent of those in the original Prototype game -- almost to the point of straight-up mimicking. Were the same character animations used for Heller as they were for Mercer three years ago? It's hard to tell, but the similarities are striking.
Furthermore, not all of the textures used in the game are all that high in quality. Some items that should be high-detail (such as the uniforms of the opposing Blackwatch soldiers) simply aren't completely so. Also, many of the animations aren't as crisp and hard-hitting as one would hope for something that had the potential of being a blockbuster hit.
For action game fans, Prototype 2 is a good title with which to kill a handfull of hours. Granted, there are better options available, but this somewhat forgettable title is still worth the play time for the head-bashing entertainment value (if nothing else).
Final Game Guys grade: C+
(Activision provided a copy of this game for review.)