were making Hulk: Ultimate Destruction a few years ago, Radical
entertainment discovered a love of breaking things. The DNA of that game
flows through the veins of the Prototype franchise. All of the
staples are there: Running up skyscrapers, pummelling tanks and
helicopters, slugging it out with enhanced super-soldiers, and generally
ruining the afternoon of anyone silly enough to stand in your path. But
where Prototype differs is that the destruction is not limited to
inanimate objects: Your flesh-and-blood enemies are fair game for you to
stomp flat, tear apart or beat to a pulp. And as gruesome as this
sounds, there is a unique kind of glee to be had.
around you play Sergeant James Heller, a soldier who is reeling from the
loss of his wife and young daughter to the ‘Mercer’ virus. Very early
on, Heller is deliberately infected with the virus by Alex Mercer
himself, the protagonist from the original game. Rather than destroy
him, the infection transforms Heller into a super-powered killing
machine. He sets out in pursuit of Mercer, while also trying to end the
gruesome research of the Gentek corporation-and the people behind it.
the first thing you’ll
want to do, on entering the game world, will be to climb to the top of
the tallest building and have a look around. The draw distance isn’t
that great, and you can‘t see far. Things are actually far more
impressive down at ground level. The streets are crowded with NPCs and
stop for a moment you’ll notice mobs of civilians heckling soldiers with
placards, or you’ll peek down an alley to see some weird experiment
is alive, and crammed full of incidental details just waiting to be
discovered. The streets of Manhattan are overrun with undead, and giant tumour-like growths cling to skyscrapers.
controls are very easy to get to grips with. Simply holding the sprint
button will make Heller vault over any obstacles in his path. You can
jump to great heights, run up the faces of buildings and glide through
the air for a short while. As you progress through the game you’ll
which can be mapped to the Y or X buttons. You’ll
also gain a
which fills by consuming people, and can be used to unleash a
devastating area attack. If the game thinks you’ve
forgotten how to perform some mission-critical action, it will remind
you with a helpful prompt.
die once or twice because your avatar wasn’t doing what you wanted him
to, but most of the time you’ll have confidence in the controls.
As well as
the main story missions, there are side-quests to tackle and
collectibles to find. These reward you, either with an upgrade to your
abilities or with something completely new, so the incentive to finish
everything is high.
up the action, there are also a good number of stealth sections. In
these you will whittle down a room full of enemies by consuming them,
stealing their identity in the process. It makes you feel like a baddie
or one of the
movies. But these sections are fail-proof, because the
let you consume someone who is being watched. It’s nice as a
distraction, but it’s
a shame that nothing more could have been made of this interesting ‘body
Prototype 2 hits the sweet spot between making you feel like a
badass and being overpowered. No matter how much you level up, the
chaotic nature of combat means there will always be some level of
biggest thing that keeps the game fresh and interesting, even after you’ve
defeated hundreds of enemies, is variety. You just have so many options
during combat, especially after you’ve
unlocked the higher abilities. If your claws or hammer-fists aren’t
doing the job, why not hop in a tank, or pick up a rocket launcher, or
call in some infected beasties for support?
most used weapon in Heller’s arsenal is the F-bomb. Every single cutscene, and almost every character’s
dialogue, is chock-full of profanity. Swearing is fine if it’s
used in the proper context (this is a zombie outbreak after all,) but
Prototype 2 takes it way too far, all for the sake of…
what? Impact? It’s
a shame, because the gameplay is good enough to speak on its own
honest, the story is total guff, and not really worth your attention.
it comes down to it, the story is only there for one reason: to provide
a frame of reference for each mission. It does what it has to do, then
gets out of the way- so you can enjoy a giant sandbox full of hellish
delights. The scope of what you can do- and hence the opportunity for
fun- is broad indeed. The game isn’t perfect, by any means. But once you
rip your first TOW launcher off an APC and start spraying rockets
around, you might be prepared to forgive its failings.