It’s been a while since I played a console game and since one of my Blu-ray players died on me, I thought: “Hell, why not get myself a PS3 again, it’s a great Blu-ray player after all. And while I’m at it, let’s pop in Radical Entertainment’s latest as well”.
After checking out the prologue (I didn’t play the original Prototype) I found myself in the shoes of Sgt. James Heller. Heller is a family man who unfortunately was fighting in Iraq while New York saw a new virus outbreak which ended up causing his wife and child to die. Prototype 1 protagonist Alex Mercer was said to be the cause of the infection and with Heller having nothing left to live for but revenge, he heads off to New York (or New York Zero as it’s referred to these days) to hunt down and kill Mercer!
Or not… minutes after playing Mercer ends up mutating Heller and you suddenly start to realize that although his hoodie is a bit stupid, the man/monster/freak isn’t the bad guy here! Heller stumbles upon a conspiracy lead by Blackwater and has to get to the bottom of things to truly understand what’s going on and get revenge on the right people…
So everything the original ads say about hunting Mercer is actually a lie. And why wouldn’t it be? Heller might have been looking for revenge on Mercer, but after twenty minutes and the first moments in the open world Heller shows he isn’t much of a choir boy himself either. You run around, happily feasting on the bodies of your victims, replenishing health by consuming humans and monsters alike, killing people as you go and in the meantime doing lots and lots and lots of swearing. Yes, Heller truly is a character you can relate with, an example of good citizenship!
The story isn’t really immersing so you just go running from one place to the other, completing missions like “infiltrate this place”, “take over person x’s identity”, kill a boss, and so on. It just comes down to the same thing over and over again: run around, find your victim, consume, fight. And destroy the occasional tank.
For that, you have a bunch of extra powers of course, some coming from the original game and some new ones. As you mutate you can upgrade yourself with a simplistic RPG-like system and build your character to become stronger and stronger. It’s all pretty straight forward and in the end is much of the drive to finish this game. You want to become the ultimate bad-ass and don’t really much care anymore about morals or conspiracy theories. Blackwater is just food for your powers and much like Heller went from looking for revenge to consuming bodies himself without any issue, you quickly move from following the storyline to looking for the fastest way to upgrade. Yes, you’re becoming a black version of the man you were supposed to hunt, but without the hoodie…
Prototype 2 doesn’t impress in anything but it does provide a bit of fun. Roaming the city, consuming people and building your character to become an even better killer is what will keep you busy for a while. The rest of the game is just too bland to make much of a memorable experience.