Prototype 2 Xbox 360 Review

May 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Xbox 360, Reviews & Features, Xbox

Publisher – Activision – Developer – Radical Entertainment – Genre – Action – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 18+ – Other console/handheld formats – PS3

One of the many strengths of the great medium of gaming is that you’re able to take command of a variety of characters that are unlike you: ruthless criminals, hardened soldiers and warriors, adventurers, cartoony animals, and gods – and that’s in no way all that’s on offer. This brings me to Prototype 2’s James Heller, who is certainly one of the most empowering characters to ever likely exist in videogames.

The original Prototype had you playing as Alex Mercer, a mysterious hooded man with destructive powers and, as fans that explored its drip fed story are well aware, it turned out that Mercer isn’t a very pleasant fellow. Soldier James Heller discovers this firsthand, when the Mercer virus claims the lives of his wife and daughter, spurring him to attempt to get revenge – a bit of a misjudged decision to say the very least, when you consider that Heller is just a regular guy and Mercer is as powerful as god. But alas in their opening encounter, Heller somehow survives and he also picks up a bonus at the same time, being granted Mercer like powers, better evening up the odds for any subsequent encounters that may occur between the two.

James Heller is, from a personality standpoint, a bit boring, foul mouthed and one note, but he makes up for this tenfold with how immensely enjoyable he is to be in charge of, particularly later in the game. Amongst other things, he can leap as high as the Incredible Hulk, consume people to steal their identities, as well as to top up his health, he can pick up cars and shoot tendrils out of his body, and if you’re feeling like something a bit more conventional, he can also use guns and drive tanks, but don’t you think that’s a bit boring? The results of Heller’s powers are devastating, leaving people missing plenty of blood and body parts, tanks and helicopters end up as charred shells, and the New York backdrop, which is already in need of a right good clean up, becomes even messier.

Heller is fun enough to be in control of to make simple navigation an immense joy. Running up buildings and leaping, dashing and gliding through the air quickly become commonplace. It’s all executed with pleasing accessibility as well, meaning you don’t require god-like skills in this instance in order to play a god-like character.

Like the original game, Prototype 2 is set in an open world environment. It’s fairly nondescript appearance wise, though the chaos of a mutant infested New York is well conveyed. The city also has plenty of secrets to discover in the form of collectibles. They’re well worth the effort to seek out, as they further enhance Heller alongside a simplistic XP system.

As delightful as Heller is to play as, the mission design of Prototype 2 is disappointingly limited in its scope, which is even enough for the otherwise stupidly fun destruction to begin to feel wearying from time to time. There’s too much reliance on the beautifully gory and visually stunning action to hold the game together, leaving it at times in danger of falling apart.

There are bonus objectives in a fair number of the missions that encourage you to use skills that you may otherwise be neglecting and will award you a lovely XP bonus if you manage to meet their criteria, but it’s still not really enough to make up for the often lazy mission structure.

With Prototype 2, it still feels as if the series hasn’t yet evolved to its full potential. It isn’t a very nice or interesting looking game, it’s not very distinct and can be far too repetitive, but it’s easy for such problems to become less glaring when you proceed to lay waste to your enemies with your terrifying powers and its here, where the true strength of Prototype 2 lies.