In Prototype 2, there’s a lot of what Josh Brolin jokingly stated in Planet Terror, “I’m gonna eat your brains and gain all your knowledge.” Some of the less fortunate “collectables” are doctors and soldiers you have to consume, which plays a cutscene letting you in on a little more of what’s going on in this world being built around these games. It’s a good story I won’t spoil, but you really do get under the skin of James Heller during the course of the game, and the characters are actually well acted and well developed.
Traveling mechanics and combat techniques, such as stealth, were the other part of the gameplay mechanics that worked really well in Prototype – not so here. If you walk past a soldier with your right arm shaped like a kitchen knife, quite rightly it’ll set off the alarm. But if you fall from 50 feet in the air and land right in front of the same soldier, he doesn’t bat an eyelid and that really wound me up. You could perform all kinds of suspicious super-powered activities in front of soldiers, but if you’re not shaped like James Heller in full on Lovecraftian beastie mode, they don’t seem bothered. You can even walk past soldiers looking like James Heller without bladed wrists or hands and they just don’t notice. What makes this even worse is the fact that if you do set off the alarm, all you have to do is run around a corner, change shape and pop, alarms off. It feels like a whole big element of the game from Prototype was just missed out.
The hand-to-hand combat with the enhanced powers is more engaging and less button-mashing luck, though to counter this the really cool auto-aim system using guns and rocket launchers from Prototype is all but gone, meaning when you’re trying to sneak along with Blackwatch soldiers on a mission you keep accidentally catching them with friendly fire when you’re trying to kill the giant monster with tentacles. This did lead to me playing the “how far can I push it” game of seeing how many incidents of friendly fire I could get away before having to restart the mission.
Early on in the game it’s pointed out that if there’s to be a Prototype 3, chances are it’ll be about a character from the first game and set sometime in the early ’70s, which would be a seriously cool move. As for this game, if you liked Prototype and want more of the same, go for it. It’s better in the combat and traveling mechanics, but noticeably not as good in some of the stealth aspects. And if you want to grab a specific enemy when you’re surrounded by them, it can be a pot-luck, though these are petty criticisms of what is otherwise a seriously solid title.
The super-powered free-running is always fun, plus the Black-Net mission packs are an interesting addition (extra downloadable side missions being released for download for people who bought the limited edition pack over the next couple of months to keep you from trading it in). They’re OK, but once you’ve got the Gold medal in each event there’s only so many races over rooftops and “throw the chemical barrels into the oven while under fire” one can go back for. Radical obviously have plans for Prototype with a tie-in comic book released and an online shop front selling game merchandise, including limited edition leather jackets. There’s real ambition to make this a big title and I hope it gets there.