Prototype 2 Review
As an open-world game, Prototype 2 provides a vast amount of area to cover and Heller has some pretty sick tools with which to do it. Even fresh to the game, he’s able to leap high into the air, sprint straight up walls, and glide like a flying squirrel. For most of the game, shapeshifting is key, because many (or perhaps most) missions include infiltrating some Blackwatch facility or covertly absorbing some key person. Doing so provides Heller with their memories, pointing him toward new goals and allowing him to get close to other Blackwatch VIPs that need dispatching.
Prototype 2 provides you with a pretty fair amount of stuff to do. Just getting around the city — especially when being chased by Blackwatch helicopters (you’re Tango Primary, the guy they want to kill the most) — is a whole lot of fun, but there are also monsters to thrash inside “lairs,” Blackwatch VIPs to hunt down and kill, bases to destroy, crap to sabotage, vehicles to explode or hijack, and a lot more.
To allow you to accomplish all that stuff, Prototype 2 does an admirable job of continually providing you with new tools and upgrades to make you a better killing machine. The game is never exactly hard, and it become easier as you earn new things, like the ability to morph your fists into battering rams or to make your arm into a whip. The major upgrades get dolled out by story missions, but there are also a lot of more minor upgrades that can be gathered by completing the “Blacknet” side missions or by eating the right people or monsters.
Where Prototype 2 tends to get bogged down is the same place that most open world games get bogged down: Openworlditis, or the disease of too much space and not enough stuff in it. While there are a lot of missions in which to partake, they tend to fall into three or four types — infiltration, hunting, killing monsters and racing to collect cargo from downed helicopters. Especially early in the game, you’ll spend a lot of time doing these sorts of things, and they become repetitive. What makes them worthwhile is that the game rewards you well for time served with new mutations and upgrades.
The main story missions do a little better job of breaking things up by occasionally requiring you to actually serve as a Blackwatch soldier, tank operator or helicopter pilot in order to get access to a person or information. Infiltrating Blackwatch bases, something that happens quite often in the early going of Prototype 2, is one of the game’s weaker elements because the stealth system is not believable in the least. As mentioned above, you can leap off a building, shapeshift in midair and land like a damn nuclear bomb next to some soldiers, and they’ll just give you a puzzled look. Granted, if the stealth were much more stringent, it would probably break the game, but it’s still hard not to laugh at just how dumb the enemy AI often is.
The more you play, the more awesome you become, and that’s really the best reason to stick with Prototype 2. Becoming more awesome is a palpable driver, as it allows you to take down choppers and tanks, soldiers and monsters all in one go, and the stronger you become, the more fun the game really is. Overlooking its other shortcomings is easier because you can shoot tendrils at people to tear them apart, hack the limbs off baddies 10 stories tall, and leap onto and commandeer helicopters, then crash them, bail out and fly away.