Review: Prototype 2

GERARD CAMPBELL
Last updated 05:00 08/05/2012
Prototype 2
Gameplanet

PROTOTYPE 2: Buckets of blood in an R18 game that stars a mutated weapon of mass destruction.

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REVIEW: Army sergeant James Heller is having a really bad day.

Not only have his wife and daughter supposedly died from a deadly virus, but he's now infected too, causing him to shapeshift at will and turn his hands into mutated weapons of mass destruction.

In the opening moments of the game, we see Heller chasing Alex Mercer, the protagonist from the original Prototype, and – long story short – he's infected by the mutation that afflicts Mercer. As a result, Heller turns his rage into a hunt for Mercer and to stop the spread of the Blacklight virus, which has divided New York into several zones, some containing mutated creatures.

Turns out the mutation lets Heller consume other people, taking on their form and identity – handy to infiltrate military bases and research facilities. Oh, it also lets him sprout tendrills and claws from his arms and turns his forearms into giant blades, letting him chop people (and other mutants) in half and pluck helicopters from the sky. Very handy.

Prototype 2 follows the original game's mission structure – so if you're looking for something different, you won't find it here, although some mechanics have been tweaked.

When Heller grabs a victim he has the choice to either consume them or throw them, and he also has a dolphin-like sonar ability that bounces sound waves from his position to his target, indicating how distant he is.

Most missions involve Heller heading to a checkpoint, getting instructions to hunt and consume a key person (scientist/military officer) at a location (usually a science facility or military base) then getting the hell out of Dodge.

It's a story involving a shadowy military organisation and science experiments, with a dose of super soldiers thrown in for good measure – so it's hardly original, and after a while missions start getting repetitive, which is a shame.

Prototype 2 is the sort of game that you can pick up a controller, switch off your brain for a few hours and just revel in the open world that developer Radical Entertainment has created, and there's something about being able to run up the side of a building, then change your identity at the press of a button, confusing the heck out of pursuers.

As you'd expect with a man who can turn his hands into razor-sharp blades and chop people in half, it's a game that has plenty of blood, and I'm OK with that – it has an R18 rating, after all – but one thing that did grate was Heller's gutter mouth. He seems to have been stereotyped into the typical angry anti-hero, and there doesn't seem to be a sentence that doesn't come out of his mouth that doesn't involve the f-word. I know he's an angry man on a mission, but it seemed that the developers were trying too hard to make Heller a bad-ass hero.

That said, there's fun to be had with a hero who can consume people, climb buildings and pull helicopters out of the sky – provided you don't mind a lot of swearing and buckets of blood in your games.

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PROTOTYPE 2
From:
Activision
For: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Classification: R18
RRP: $130

- © Fairfax NZ News

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