Back in 2008, when I first heard about Prototype it sounded like an amazing concept, a super-powered antihero whose powers that rival even those of Superman. Prototype then came out in 2009 and the game turned out to be a mixed bag with the game throwing at you all sorts of abilities but since all the missions were quite alike the constant addition of powers did little to keep you interested in the game even with the mass amount of abilities and challenges available. Fast forward to 2012 where the sequel for Prototype has arrived this time with a whole new protagonist, same old New York City but one year later. Has the flaws of the first game been addressed or is this just a by the books sequel that doesn’t distinguish itself.
Prototype 2 takes place in the same local as the first game as well as taking place only one year later chronologically. This makes for a map that’s quite the same as you’ve gotten used to if you’ve played the first game. The boring sameness makes me wish they had gone in a drastically different direction, perhaps a jump farther into the future or at least picking a new city for another outbreak would have made things a little more interesting. Now to go along with the sameness theme, many of the abilities are similar or just the plain the same as the ones you had in the first Prototype. That’s not to say there isn’t anything new, there are some cool abilities added to the mix like Tendrils that let you snipe Helicopters from the ground or the Bio Bomb that lets you implant poor victims with bombs that will cause them to explode seconds after they are. All else aside the game hasn’t changed all that much, in fact if you’re coming straight away from playing the first game you won’t feel like you miss even a single beat. In Prototype 2, they introduce us to an entirely new protagonist, James Heller who doesn’t feel anymore fleshed out as uninteresting Alex Mercer from the first game. Both are wooden characters which I didn’t develop any invest to either with no concern what the final outcome turns out to be for either character.
The mission types stay relatively the same where you must find people who know more information about the going on over the enemy camps of Black Watch or Gen Tech aka stereotypical evil military and evil scientists. Added to the mix is Alex Mercer from the first game now turned villain with his own interests. This twist adds when you need to absorb somebody working for Alex Mercer they usually have the same kind of powers as you making more challenging prey before they’re absorbed. Another way to break up the monotony introduced is that you take the costume Black Watch soldiers fighting some missions from their point of view. While it’s a fun twist from the hack and absorb tactics usually explored by the game but other than nothing is new. The game has some stealth sections where you absorb people take their appearance and infiltrate bases. This mechanic is killed by the fact the AI is brain dead and it takes attacking them several times for them to realize it’s you. The lack of variety makes this a game that you probably won’t be playing the story mode for hours at a time where doing the same tasks over and over again becomes tedious. I found myself taking breaks after an hour or two leaving the game as I grew tired of doing the same tasks leaving me with the same bittersweet taste in my mouth as the first. I’ll briefly mention that the ability to “hunt” has been added but that’s nothing more than pressing a button and the game will point you in what direction to go in for your next target. The game also includes Radnet as a preorder bonus that includes challenges and unlockable content though what is within is not all that compelling. The only entertaining parts seems to be the built in friend tracking for the various challenges telling you how they did to add some replay value.
The graphics is another area that Prototype 2 doesn’t really make any improvements. The visuals seem to be about the same as the original game where it even lags when loading animations or when there’s a multiple enemies. This doesn’t bode well for a game that has had 3 years in development where a focus could have been made to make some improvements to the engine since the game play was relatively untouched. This practically same engine makes the New York area seem even more similar with the same textures seemly recycled for this game given a large scale sense of deja-vu. The game still tells it’s story which by absorbing people triggers a choppy cut scene where they try to vividly explain the going on within whatever faction they are affiliated with. I didn’t really like this bland and low production value method of storytelling in the first game and I still don’t particularly care for it now. The voice acting stays along the same lines as Prototype 1, being cheesy and overly dramatic. Like I said before the characters are wooden and unlikeable so I can’t really blame on the actors that the material they were given to work with was bad. Sound effects are also mostly recycled from Prototype 1, so if you played Prototype there’s nothing new to see here.
Prototype 2 is an improvement on the first game but the big however is that since it follows the first game so closely that this will end up feeling more like DLC than a game that warrants a full price purchase. If you loved the first game and want more content then this might be a good way to get it however I’d strongly advice waiting for some price cuts. If you’ve never played a Prototype game before then your money will be more wisely spent getting the first game in the bargain bin, while this outing has a few improvements to formula there are way too many similarities to make this any kind of worthwhile purchase at $60.