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Prototype 2

Darren Forman absorbs Radical Entertainment’s Prototype 2.

Punch yourself in the face with glee, foolish minions, for I have been playing Prototype 2 as of late. That’s right. I expected nothing less than sheer awfulness from this game, and I gotta say – I’m kinda disappointed. It’s actually a pretty fun idea at heart, just wrapped in a lot of structural bullshit that works against it.

The story centres around a very unhappy man who swears all the time named James Heller and a comically evil pair of organizations called Gentek and Blackwatch. You know, the kind of places that cheerfully hire homicidal lunatics and then gives them a raise every time they murder fifteen thousand civilians or boot a puppy in the face. They’re probably quite accurately based on Activision management, come to think of it.

James Heller is sent out to kill Alex Mercer, the biologically superpowered protagonist of the previous game who eats tanks for breakfast, and since James Heller is incredibly stupid, he goes after Alex with a knife. Somehow losing this fight against all odds, he’s infected with this virus which allows him to eat tanks and run up buildings too. Cue a lot of swearing and everyone acting like unpardonable bastards as New York continues to be ravaged by a viral outbreak. The end.

So, the story’s a pile of shit – at one point making the only likeable character do a 180 so that they die too at the hands of one colossal prick of a protagonist. In fact, there was an enemy with one solitary sentence that I found significantly more likeable than our ‘hero’, and she existed for the sole purpose of being eaten so that captain dickface would get a whipblade as a weapon. The combat’s pretty mediocre also, so why did I have some fun times with it? Essentially it’s the superhero sandbox thing. The ability to glide over buildings, jump 500 feet in the air and come down on a tank with crushing force. It’s a liberating feeling, and pretty well done despite the ropey graphics – it’s just essentially everything else that doesn’t really hold up.

The AI’s pretty tragic, for example. While it’s almost certainly this way for gameplay concerns, these mindless goons will somehow fail to think that a man running up a vertical wall before swooping back in from thirty stories high and landing in front of them who also matches the description given in a city wide alert is in any way suspicious. During one particularly memorable moment I shot one of them with a rifle whilst in Heller’s basic form and they got slightly upset with me, then returned to normal without ever triggering an alert. Stay sharp, boys.

James fucking Heller. It’s unbelievable how he acts, and while I apologise in advance for any offence quoting his disgusting outbursts may cause I feel it’s important for you to know just how remarkably rude he is while cavorting around in public. If he’s not calling someone he’s only just met a ‘motherfucker’ he’s probably calling them a ‘fucking bitch’ or a ‘fucking fuckfaced fuckball’. It’s a shocking lack of basic human manners, and makes me think that all games should be banned. Even the cutesy stuff like Pikmin or Viva Pinata. They’re basically gateway drugs to filth like this.

Actually, everyone in the Prototype universe talks like this for some reason. Presumably in a particularly misguided attempt to look macho that makes them seem like nothing so much as posturing ten year olds learning to swear for the first time, enjoying the look of distaste on all those adult faces as they finally realize that all kids should be bulldozed into a live furnace. Oh, and being an Activison game the military are contractually obliged to say the words ‘Oscar Mike’ every four seconds. Example:

Idiot 1: Oscar Mike, this is Oscar Mike. We are Oscar Mike.

Idiot 2: Oscar Mike, copy. Say again, are you Oscar Mike, Oscar Mike?

Idiot 1: Oscar Mike. Fuck. Bitch. Oscar Mike. Anus.

So yeah. I wouldn’t recommend actually going out and actually buying Prototype 2, but I have to admit that I had some fun with it – at least for a start before the mission structure wore itself thin. Maybe a rental would suffice. After all, the development studio’s been shuttered by Activision now – as all studios owned by Activision inevitably must – so they won’t be seeing any of the proceeds.

Just don’t expect to like the story or anyone in it. That’s just not how it’s built. And be warned, the game only gets worse as you get further into it. What you’re digging at the start, you’ll be praying for to end around hour seven or eight. Any longer than that, and death itself will seem preferable to trudging on through these shitty characters and their shitty motivations.
The moral of the story? James Heller is an arsehole.

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