October 1, 2012

Prototype 2 (Part 3)

The more and more I sit down to witness the glorious blood bath of Prototype 2, the more and more I find myself loving it and its fabulously disturbing fun. Perhaps I am some sort of insane psychopath, but I find this game to be a lovely way to blow off steam. The capability to disregard any kind of self-preservation and instead just pick up a tank and hurl it at the closest helicopter brings joy to my heart. There’s some kind of delicious freedom that comes with the ability to sprint up the side of a building and single-handedly destroy a strike team with nothing but your karate kicking abilities. Being able to carve through enemies with the greatest of ease holds all the giddy fun and blood one could imagine. However, the problem with games like Prototype 2 where you are given abilities to make mince meat out of everything comes with a certain degree of loss in difficulty. A squad of a dozen or so soldiers isn’t very harrowing when you’re brushing the ash off your mutant arm sword from the tank you just pulverized. But I am relieved to say that Prototype 2 does manage to be quite challenging at times without losing the glory of being able to cleave through whole groups of enemies when you so much as trip over your shoelace.

The moment you start getting cocky at the sight of some soldiers just waiting to be dismembered is the moment they pull out rocket launchers and juggle you with bullets and explosions as your health bar starts disappearing rapidly. The moment you spot a crowd of infected zombies just asking for you to crush them is the moment that four or five super mutants show up and proceed to shred your face like wet, frightened cats on caffeine with claws six inches long. Get distracted and this game will put you in your pitiful place and burry you under mutant monsters and explosions. That said, the game still gives you the pleasure of being able to dispose of your enemies with beautiful instant kills. Prototype 2 really strikes a balance between challenging fights and quick one-hit executions that keeps things fun and exciting. Those soldiers you so desperately want to kill can easily be one-shotted, but only after you have evaded the rocket launcher long enough to slice the victims in half.

Another aspect of Prototype 2 that I haven’t really touched is its story. I can’t say that the plot is not the game’s focus nor can I truly say that it is something that should be emphasized. Saying that the game’s plot isn’t good doesn’t give it any of its deserved justice either. Prototype 2’s story is quite decent actually and is much more straightforward than the original, especially considering that the first Prototype was only slightly more complicated than rocket science. The plot makes an effort to portray James Heller as a man who had lost his family and is more ethical than the previous game’s protagonist who could often be found plowing through crowds in a tank in the middle of New York City just because he could. However, any attempt to make Heller moral is lost when you give the player the ability to kill things in fifty different creative ways. Dead family or not, whether it be psychopaths, zombies, or civilians, if you think I’m going ignore the opportunity to smash something with a semi truck I had just picked up, you’ve got another thing coming. Aside from that, the only reason the plot is disregarded in this game is because it pales in comparison to the actual gameplay. You can tell a tragic story without many twists to keep it interesting, but I’d soon forget it once I’m flipping over monsters and backhanding soldiers who had the nerve to blow me up with nuclear missiles.

On another note, I have finished Prototype 2, and I have got to hand it to some of these boss fights. When you control a character as powerful as James Heller, it’s difficult to make boss battles any more interesting than hitting the monstrosity until it stops twitching. But lo and behold, this game has made the inevitable boss fights far from boring and more interesting than smacking a target around for a few minutes. Even minor scuffles in this game can turn into lively, gravity defying, car-throwing battles. Fights with bosses are even more dynamic since your target will, along with you, also be running up buildings, throwing tanks, and shattering your bones if you make a wrong move. Add that to the fact that some bosses are at least seven stories tall, and you’ve got one challenging and exciting fight that will leave your character as nothing more than a greasy stain on the concrete if you don’t get a move on.

All in all, this is a terrific game in my eyes. Prototype 2 is a sandbox game that truly grasps the concept of unbridled freedom on a dynamic scale. I find it almost impossible to get bored with this game due to the great variety of powers, combat techniques, traveling abilities, firearms, disguises, enemies, etc. Besides, when it boils down to it, any game where you can karate kick a helicopter out of the sky and watch it spiral out of control until it blows up in the middle of Time Square deserves some sort of recommendation.

Image Credit: Radical Entertainment

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