Anyone that played a sandbox style video-game will find it overwhelming at times. The likes of Crackdown contain insane amounts of collectibles.
The problem with this genre is that it’s not for everyone. It will get far too repetitive at some point for anyone that isn’t into collecting. Radical Entertainment tried to change this with [Prototype].
The team managed to accomplish most of what it set out to do; which is why it’s great to see a sequel. But can [Prototype 2] improve those fantastic ideas with a new character on board?
Those that played the first Prototype won’t struggle with this sequel. But have no fear if you are a new player, since there are detailed tutorials to explain anything. The plot for Prototype is even cleverly explained in a short film, found in the main menu.
One of the key points in Prototype 2 is combat. Players will find themselves getting into quite a lot of fights. Initially new character Sergeant James Heller will only have access to basic fighting skills.
He will then progressively get stronger with each new power obtained. Each of these powers is a new reason to continue playing and they are all essential to get to the end. The tendril power for example literally pulls any objects or personnel nearby and crushes them together.
It’s a pleasure to see these powers in action and each one manages to surprise in a positive way. These powers are even more effective when they are combined.
Two powers are assigned to buttons and it’s up to the player to pick the ones that better suit each situation. Some enemies will take more damage when using particular powers.
A lock-on function means that the character can lock on to a particular enemy; which is very handy in certain situations. Conventional weapons are also used by the main character. It’s fortunate that weapons such as rocket launchers work well in conjunction with the lock-on.
Later sections involve taking control of vehicles such as helicopters. The excellent vehicle controls are a pleasant surprise, since this genre doesn’t have a good track record, when it comes to using vehicles.
Heller gets new upgrades by earning experience, that is earned from completing goals or defeating enemies. There are different slots to choose from, like health boosts, so it’s best to think what Heller will benefit from the most. Finally there are mutations which are used to perform better in certain areas, such as defence or offence. These didn’t really seem to have much of an impact, while playing through story mode.
One of the key features from the first Prototype is being able to absorb organic lifeforms. This idea is further explored in this sequel. Heller is also able to absorb other humans and creatures.
He can take on the form of the last human absorbed and this is used to his advantage. He can then effectively go into restricted areas without being exposed. What’s so unusual about it is that some of the targets are being kept under watch.
This means that players will need to use strategy, so they won’t raise alarms. It’s not essential but it will make life a lot easier for Heller.
Targets are not near and that’s where the new return pulse feature comes in handy. It acts as a radar that will return the area where a target is located. It might seem confusing at first but it’s very easy to use.
The story is set up into missions and Heller has to find these by following way-points. It’s only a minor flaw but it would have helped, if distance left to reach these way-points, was displayed on the screen.
The three areas where the story takes place are enormous, making it easy to get lost on a few occasions. Climbing to higher ground is a good solution, for getting a better idea of where the next mission way-point is located.
Most of the missions will revolve around finding targets to adsorb, in order gain new information. It’s not such an easy task on an emotional level since various memories are shown.
All of these people have families that care about them. Killing isn’t simple when you get to see a glimpse of the lives Heller is ruining.
Later missions will involve other objectives such as escort details and destroying enemy bases. It’s a guilty pleasure but the missions do build up to some exhilarating boss battles. Each new nugget of information forcibly absorbed from a new victim fuels the need to keep going.
Prototype 2 might not have a great deal of different mission objectives, but it more than makes up for it with excellent story twists.
Fortunately there are optional challenges that players can choose to tackle. These offer a few different goals, such as tracking down black boxes in each district. It’s a good way to keep players hooked after completing the main story. Taking care of human soldiers isn’t such a difficult task.
Heller easily overpowers them, but the mutations created by the virus, are worth challenges. The most satisfying battles though come from fighting evolved beings like Heller.
Some fights are unforgettable because of the carnage that Heller leaves behind. There is no attempt at hiding gory scenes that usually involve sharp tools.
Most of the important cut-scenes are presented in black and white, with the exception of some colours like red, so they stand out.
There aren’t any major improvements in terms of visuals, when comparing it to Prototype. Some minor changes, such as improvements in texture detail, are noticeable and each of the three locations provides a welcome change of scenery.
There’s also an attempt at making the population react appropriately to Heller’s actions. The issue is that Heller will scare them most of the times, due to being branded a criminal, so it’s best to use the latest disguise.
Heller is an interesting character and it’s fantastic to see him develop over the course of the story. There’s enough swearing in Prototype 2 to fill up a swear box in minutes, but it is all part of the experience. Heller isn’t exactly in the best of situations and soldiers aren’t known for holding back either.
Prototype 2 is an excellent sequel that expands on the ideas from the first Prototype. Some fans feared that it would stray too far from the right path, with a new main character, but the development team managed to do it.
Heller might come off as cruel at times, but he has valid reasons for his actions. The story is so fascinating that it’s almost forgiven for being rather short. Fortunately the team allows players to start again with new game plus (keeping powers, mutations and evolutions) and there’s a fair amount of optional challenges to get through.
Radical Entertainment proves that a sandbox video-game can also produce positive results, by focusing on the story. Prototype 2 is a fantastic experience that will keep players hooked to the very end.