Sergeant James Heller stands on top of the Empire State Building and looks out over the orange horizon of the red zone.
It's quiet up here and you can take a moment to enjoy the impressive scenery.When you run up Empire State Building the concept of vertical gameplay gains a new dimension. Up here you can rest and imagine the kind of horrors that are constantly taking place down below.
Prototype 2 tells the story of one James Heller, a soldier whose family was lost in the first outbreak, and his need for revenge. His rage flows side by side with the virus in his veins. He was infected by Alex Mercer and blames Mercer for the death of his family. It's a simple yet effective story catalyst, where you play as a man driven by hatred and with nothing left to lose.
That's why we find ourselves in an open-world New York that has been divided into three zones. The Green Zone is under Blackwatch control, oppressed but fairly civilised. The Yellow Zone is the quarantined zone with refugees coming in and with Gentek conducting experiments on the population. Finally the Red Zone is a full on war zones with Infected and Blackwatch mercenaries battling it out in the streets. We constantly thrown between the groups as more and more of the ugly truth is uncovered, and we spare no one. Almost.
James Heller can consume every character in the game and inhabit their bodies and use their abilities. He also gets hold of their memories, and thanks to this he can infiltrate Gentek and Blackwatch with ease. Even if the game offers us this convenient way of using cunning and stealth to reach our objective, it quickly becomes appear that the nature of this game is something entirely different, and brute force will serve you just as well if not better in most circumstances.
As the casualties mount the mutated Heller grows more powerful. He discovers new uses for his body and levels up in five skill areas. The progression of your character is well crafted, and the pacing is excellent throughout. You can skip some of the side missions if you want a quicker progression through the story. And even on normal difficulty the final showdown is a real test, fortunately the game is generous with save points.
From a graphical perspective the game beyond the wonderful chaos of the red zone feels a bit generic, even if its not without merit. The enemies are mostly made up of fat mutants and sadly they look rather dull, and for some reason there aren't as many infected in the streets as you'd expect when a city like New York is hit. It doesn't really approach the numbers of a game like Dead Rising to name an example. Nevertheless Prototype 2 provides us with an ample supply of enemies maim.
The gameplay has a nice feel to it and feels solid throughout with your razor sharp blade hands, tendrils of death, and more. Thanks to the infection he can fly, which isn't just nice for transportation. You can through yourself down from the sky like a bomb create a massive impact with spikes coming out of the ground around you. Helicopters and tanks are never out of reach, and with a powerful kick they can be turned into scrap metal. Heller can also grab hold of missile launchers from helicopters and shot missiles from his hip, or if that's not to your liking you can simply use the helicopter to devastate your enemies.
And if you prefer to keep it simple you can borrow the weapons of your enemy, or get into a straight forward fist fight. You can naturally take control of helicopters and tanks and fire their weapons if you want. The possibilities are here and there is a lot of variety. The fully mutated Heller is the perfect one man army, possibly only bested by Chuck Norris. If you want to find something to complain about it may be that it's over in around twelve hours, but personally it felt thoroughly entertained throughout the experience.
While there is no true multiplayer mode, there is something called Radnet. It supplies you with certain missions and objectives for a set period of time. In the upcoming weeks post-launch it will offer various challenges and isolated mini missions you can take on after completing the campaign. It can be straight forward races, or just bringing about as much destruction as you can. In order to collect all the platinum medals you're in for quite some challenge. There is leaderboard support as well, and you can quickly measure your progress against other players.
It takes a few hours for the true Prototype 2 to emerge. It is in the Red Zone that the game comes into its own with chaotic, bloody, brutal, mutant madness. When you enter the Red Zone a lot of the structured nature of the other zones is left behind and the game opens up. We stumble upon one mission after another in an urban chaos of infected and soldiers. The Red Zone is really what this game is all about - one giant chaotic sandbox. A bit of extra praise goes to the beautifully carved out characters we meet both in the main story and the side missions. If you enjoy action and climbing buildings, you need to join up with Heller and Mercer and embrace your inner virus.
- System:PC, PS3, Xbox 360
- Developer:Radical Entertainment
- Offline players:1
- Age limit:From 18 years
- Release date:27 July 2012
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