Platforms - X360, PS3
Genre - 3rd Person Action
Aust. Classification – MA15+
Publisher - Activision
I thought the first Prototype was wicked. With it and Infamous existing at around the same time there were instant comparisons. Prototype however was a lot more violent than Infamous was and had a lot deeper power/weapon/upgrade system... even if it had its share of flaws. Now with another Infamous on the market and a new protaginist, Prototype has mutated onto my console and I am more than ready to tear up the city once more.
So what's changed since our last outing? Well Alex Mercer is no longer the main protaginist. Blackwatch is still around, you know the guys who were behind the Blacklight virus transforming the "hero" from the first game into a Superhuman Mutant (Mercer), spreading across Manhatten and transforming people into zombies and mutants of all shapes and forms. Now, it is a guy named Heller who has been handed the batton to take on the fight against this militarised orgaisation who seem to be performing all sorts of experiments against humans for their own gain. Mercer himself gives you the virus and teaches you the ropes, saying he needs an apprentice to help him bring down Blackwatch who have now declared Marshall Law. Using the virus as a good piece of propaganda, the Government has renamed the Blacklight virus the Mercer Virus.
I loved the way they have mixed real motion video with CGI animated cutscenes to bring a more emotional attachment to the game.. But the story was no more fleshed out than the original and by the time I had finished, I just wanted more details and more history or some meatier plot to justify spending around 20 hours with both games. What it lacked in story, it made up for in gameplay, with the new features and elements creating a more refined journey.
What really impressed me most was how much better this game flows from the last. The story and main missions are better woven together and it feels better to play. Starting off more powerful than when first starting Prototype 1. The power upgrades and mutations are just so much cooler than in the last game with the upgrade system now a lot easier to understand, but now you are restricted to using the points when the game tells you to. Although it is given a more cinematic action approach it still keeps with the sandbox essence and core.
Mutation powers are awarded by completing Blacknet operations or collectible sets (like black boxes scattered throughout areas), selecting from a list of abilities to improve with the abilities covering both defensive and offensive. These missions include the dreaded timed missions, but because of the improved maneuverability and overall fluency to movement they are so much more enjoyable here than in the first game. Apart from these powers Leveling Up allows for you to spend a point and upgrade character attributes like health, regeneration and much more.
You consume infected and people to heal and because the virus allows you to shape shift, when consuming people and military personnel taking on their form instantly or storing it in your shape shifter bank for later use to blend in, crack terminals or get into top secret military facilities. The excellent new Hunting ability is implemented perfectly sending off and receiving a scanner pulse over a massive area to hone in on and consume commanders and key enemies to take in their memories and progress to the next challenge. Additionally consuming other specific targets can help to increase weapon skills and other abilities.
The glide ability is pretty much with you from the get go, along with sprinting up walls. Two essential basics that make it so seamlessly fluent when it comes to movement in general. This is also helped by the tutorials being done on the fly, making for an overall smoother experience right from the very start. The learning curve has been minimalised with everything just being so much easier to master than its predessessor. You are not restricted to just your Mutant powers either as you can pick up weapons if thats the way you want to play, but apart from the rocket launchers I found my abilities trumped any traditional weapons available as they were just soooo last century, lol. Saying that though picking up and throwing vehicles is just so destructive and so cool.
Visuals things have noticably been improved with so much more attention to detail now on all facets of the game. In particular the character from behind looks amazing (and I don't mean his butt in those jeans either), with Heller visually glowing and throbbing as the virus flows through his veins. Little details everywhere has been touched up where needed but there were still a few of the odd glitches like tanks rolling straight through men without a scratch. There are some really brutal finishing moves and unleashing some of the tentacle kills have amazing visual consequences taking apart their targets from the inside, including choppers and tanks.
I think the developers have really listened to the criticisms levelled at the first game including little things like getting bounced backwards from ledges and awnings have now been successfully fine tuned to make this a much more enjoyable experience, while still maintain the essence that is Prototype. It can become a little bit "same ol" when playing for long periods of time but it is rewarding as well. As far as I'm aware there isn’t really any other game out there on the market that offers this level of freedom with the theme it represents, except inFamous and as a Protaginist Heller’s mutations and abilities look way cooler than Cole’s. Well worth playing.For the final score and more, go to Maceman Reviews
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