Sunday, 5 August 2012

Review: Prototype 2 (PC)

Prototype 2 is to the original game as a cold cut trio Subway sandwich is to a cold cut trio Subway sandwich with a sprinkling of chorizo and possibly bacon and dabbed with hot sauce.

That is to say, Prototype 2 is the same as the original but it's also different in some ways; better.

The power fantasy is delivered in great steaming piles of entrails. In fact, the violence and power wielded by the raving potty-mouthed protagonist James Heller is downright casual. In that respect is shares quite a bit with the original game. "Absorbing" a few pedestrians, flinging a car, splorting a military patrol into a tentacled mess, leaping up and jacking a helicopter, is simply the way Heller operates. Even though stealth plays a minor role, subtlety is about as difficult for Heller as not dropping F-bombs.

Straying from the revenge storyline to just muck around can be enjoyable, especially in the Red Zone later in the game where the military presence is strong and so are the packs of infected mutants, some of them of gargantuan size.

It's a perfect word to use, so it will be used again, splorting through the city without much regard for the main story and just hunting down black boxes, doing the side activities, clearing out lairs, and causing destruction provides a positive (and quick) way to earn experience points and gobble other DNA upgrades, which quickly pops Heller to the top of the food chain. Really, just doing some of these side activities will make Heller feel overpowered by the mid-point of the game. And by the end... The climatic battle is a bit of a anti-climax because Heller's so powerful. At the end game it would take a fight with a coked-up Godzilla riding an aircraft carrier to provide an adequate challenge. (Continuity be damned!)

On PC, Prototype 2 hums along nicely in the presentation department, but playing a game like this with a keyboard and mouse is ridiculous. It's not as accurate as playing with a controller, which this reviewer switched to after about 20 minutes fidgeting with the keyboard and mouse and finding them completely impractical at best and frustrating at worst.

It would have been interesting to see what Radical Entertainment could have done with another sequel. The only improvement would be to make the environment wholly destructible. That's the next step for open world action games, but a step that Radical Entertainment won't be taking. The studio was essentially shut-down almost a month to the day before Prototype 2 released for PC.

Alienware M18x
- Aaron Simmer

The Good:
- Traversal and destruction at it's finest
- Improved camera and combat over the original
- Leveling feels much more "organic" than in the original

The Bad:
- Keyboard and mouse is a bad idea
- Occasionally snagging overhangs
- Convenient story turns are just too convenient
- Heller swears a blue streak, which started to grate on my nerves

Score: 9.0 / 10