Prototype 2 (Video Game 2012) Poster

(2012 Video Game)

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7/10
Virii errywear!
bassjazz-jazzbass3 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Prototype 2 is the sequel to a pretty awesome game. It wasn't perfect, by any means, and in some aspects, it wasn't even original. However, at the end of the day, who doesn't want to be an overpowering mass of .. virus, I guess?

You play soldier James Heller. A big, bad, black dude out to kill Alex Mercer, the protagonist from the first game, for murdering his wife and daughter. After your first encounter with Mercer, at the beginning of the game, he infects you with the fancy superpower virus and it's pretty much a wild goose chase after that.

The general plot of the game isn't anything to write home about. At no point there's any explanation as to why the main dude from the first game, who was 'good', is now the bad guy. If you played the first game *and* read the comic based on it, you get to find out how terri-bull the whole story is: Mercer saves the world, then travels about helping folks, he meets a girl, falls in love, girl betrays him or something and he's now upset and wants to kill everyone. That's pretty much it. Lame.

Graphically, the game looks good. It's not anything ground-breaking by today's standards, but taking huge leaps from rooftop to rooftop seeing a devastated New York is pretty amazing. There's also a lot of blood squirting off stuff. A lot.

Some of the flaws from the first game have been streamlined. For instance, in the first game, the player could take on speed or acrobatic challenges or walk into a military base and sabotage it. After a few dozen, these became really boring and repetitive. More importantly, they felt completely inorganic in relation to the rest of the game. In Prototype 2, you still have these kinds of mission but usually involve some sort of mini-plot or a unique mechanic to them, so is not nearly as bad. Another example would be the control sequences. The original Prototype had these pretty intricate combos that got replaced by much more comfortable and functional commands this time around.

That's the good news. Here's the bad.

Even though the controls have been cleaned up a lot, the game still has a few quirks when it comes down to moving about. Often times, you'll be in hush-hush mode, trying to stealth-kill a scientist or something, when all of a sudden you unwillingly pick up a barrel and everybody starts shooting at you. It's not so frequent that it's unplayable, but by the hundredth time you backflip against a wall you meant to climb, it gets pretty frustrating.

Input-weirdness aside, there's a big issue with Prototype 2. I can't really say if it's the general setting of the game, the story, the dialogues, the writing or what, but at some point, I started feeling as if I was watching a bad anime. Somewhere towards the middle of the game, it is revealed that Mercer has infected other people besides Heller. At first, it's okay because you fight a couple of bosses that have similar skills to you and whatnot. However, a bit more into the game, you just start bumping into randomly generated pedestrians with huge blades for arms that strike weird poses before fighting you. That, coupled with the abuse of the word 'motherfucker' by the protagonist and some other details, made me feel that the devs just started running out of steam towards the end of the game. After the first two or three hours, the plot goes down like a led zeppelin, combat starts becoming stale, no new mechanics are introduced, enemies are the same, missions get repetitive and side-missions are not even worth doing unless you're going for 100%.

My second note is to be taken with a grain of salt because it might be a personal issue, but I still deem it representative of what a player can expect when buying the game. I have a fairly old PC with an okay GPU. I can run the latest, more modest games with medium-to-low settings. For me, running this game was completely terrible. FPS would be okay for a few minutes and then it would drop to like 10 and stay there. Then I'd alt+tab out and go back into the game, and it'd be okay again. Then it'd stutter. Then it'd plummet back to 3 and so on. Searching on the interwebz, I noticed a lot of people having similar problems with very high-end rigs. Obviously, poor coding. I read something about a patch coming out that will supposedly fix some of these issues, but the fact remains: the game was probably released too soon without proper testing. If this was any other game, I would've probably deleted it instantly. I played it anyway because I really liked the first game, but I basically did the whole thing at an average of 7 fps. Good times. To be fair, there are as many people saying they haven't had a single issue as there are people complaining about the poor finish of the game. The bottom line: if you pay 60 bucks for a game, you expect it to work properly, but in this case, it's luck of the draw.

All in all, Prototype 2 is an okay game. It's not innovative as the first one was (Infamous fanboys, begone!) but, if you're a fan of the first one, it still has enough funzies to warrant a playthrough. As it is the rule with sandbox action games nowadays, if you're a completionist, you'll be able to squeeze a whole lot more out of it than if you just play through the main missions which are somewhat brief.

Could've been better. But hey, if it ain't broke..
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