Review: Prototype 2 (4.5 stars)

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Prototype 2

A little while ago I watched the Prototype walk-through (thank you, Tetraninja), and figured it could be fun to try the second game. Hence, I bought and actually already finished the game. Surprising, but it turned out to be pretty good, though rather short, so I’m giving it four stars out of five. Discarding the story aspect, it is very similar to, say, God of War 3, but with side missions and non-mythological world. Run around, hack/slash, pummel, stealthily consume military personnel and evil doctors.

Controls are fine, almost no problems with that (my controller actually crapped out half-way through the game, causing a lot of cursing as Heller started to do weird things all of a sudden). Camera controls are also ok, though sometimes precise targeting is rather silly and inconvenient, which makes getting particular challenges done almost impossible for me (mostly because I suck at games, especially shooting things with a controller instead of a mouse). Most difficult was one of “collect content from all of the boxes” sub-mission. I swear, I had to do it about 30 times, every time falling short a second or two due to constantly being shut down by missiles. If you get to that spot remember: you can jump up while on the wall, instead of running up. Oh, and don’t glide if you don’t have too — that’s actually slower than just jumping directly.

Art and presentation is very good. While it’s not as gorgeous as, say, Castlevania: LOS, it’s still rather nice. New York city looks rather realistic (with only occasional glitches here and there). Heller and other characters don’t have overly triangulated shape, animation is very well done. I know the Verge complained about it being almost exactly the same as an old Hulk game, but I think the reason for that is it’s natural. If you effectively captured human motion of throwing things it will be pretty much the same. Jumping, falling down, carrying things — it will always look the same if it’s natural (save for the fact that you can lift up a car instead of a keg of beer).

Amount of content is rather small though. The whole game feels like it’s a limited sub-plot in a larger story, especially if you only count “primary” quests — side quests are giving you new abilities but aren’t really required.

A couple of rants (spoilers are blacked out).

1. As advertised widely, Alex Mercer is now quite evil. I couldn’t figure out why. Did I miss some explanatory video/memory somewhere? Did he get his brains fried due to nuclear explosion at the end of the first game? I mean what happened? By the end he did mention one aspect why he could have choosen Heller over everyone else but it seemed rather implausible.

2. Ending is rather unsatisfying. Which lately has been a theme for new games. Here I guess authors are quite confident there will be Prototype 3, hence ending leaves “ok, so what?” feeling. He saved his daughter, and Mercer’s sister survived, but the city is in ruins and it isn’t clear what they are going to do. Plus, whom did he see murdered at the beginning, if his daughter actually survived? Question mark in a trophy implies “murdering” of Mercer might not be so final

3. A number of characters are also acting bonkers. They seem to be “good” then “bad” then “good” again just for the heck of it. Was it an attempt at an intrigue? Kinda failed if it was. Perhaps something got cut out due to budget constrains…

4. The RadNet “social” features didn’t seem to be too special to me, but then I’m not known to play well with others. Okay, maybe something like Mortal Kombat once in a while. Here they give some special challenges (dive-bombing, speed-runs etc) and automatically show your friends in that menu so you can compare your scores. Neat, but if you don’t have anyone who also played the features it’s pointless. Extra events are being unlocked once a week, so I’ll have to wait for a bit for the second set.

Overall 4.5 stars due to the short story. If there will be Prototype 3, I will certainly buy that 🙂

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