Prototype 2 – Review

A review of Prototype 2 I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

One of the unwritten rules of video game development is ‘Iterate rather than innovate”. What this means is that when you have a successful game you don’t mess with what works, you make it shinier but don’t fiddle around with it too much. On this note, we present to you Prototype 2.

The original Prototype was quite successful upon its release in 2009. It was a game that took the Open World Sandbox style and added a dash of superhero action as you played Alex Mercer, infected with a virus that had the side of effect of giving him amazing abilities enabling him to run and jump all over New York City battling monstrous manifestations of the same virus.

The sequel doesn’t mess too much with this template; the game is again set in New York City, albeit one still recovering from the earlier virus outbreak and now suffering another. Despite you having broadly the same powers as before, the biggest difference is that you are playing a new character rather than the lead from the first game. This is, to be honest, slightly disappointing especially as this character is firmly from the ‘Grizzled Veteran Soldier’ mould of stock video game cliches. The story, once again detailing a virus outbreak and the malevolent corporation behind everything, is alright but never quite sparks to life.

The main reason to play Prototype 2 is to just play it; the controls of the game are top notch, although a little rough around the edges when it asks you to be a bit more precise. But when you are wading your way through swathes of enemies, claws, tendrils and body parts flying everywhere battling giant creatures, then it is a whole heap of fun. It gives you a great sense of power, not just in combat but in the way that you move about the city. New powers such as the Hunting Sonar adds some freshness to the proceedings as well.

The city itself looks great and is always busy with civilian characters and soldiers milling around everywhere. The world of Prototype 2 is always busy, there are always things to do like finding hidden packages which feedback onto your character so you can increase your attack strength or find new powers. The cutscenes also look great, mixing in live action video as well the usual CG with washed out monochrome colours set up by bold flashes of reds and blues. It’s just a shame that the words coming out of the character’s mouths are so cliched and well-trodden.

So we have a game that has a fairly decent story that is supported by a well-polished set of controls and good over the top fun. What’s the catch?

There aren’t too many and it’s safe to say that if you were a fan of the first game that you’ll find a lot to enjoy in Prototype 2. You may not like the fact that the main character has changed but the game delivers the same over the top big action fun that hits the right spot.

Four stars out of five

Originally published June 28th 2012

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