Let’s Talk Prototype 2
Prototype was a curious one, wasn’t it? The story was… not great, gameplay was a tad spazzy, and Alex Mercer wasn’t much of a character, especially since his cutscenes really didn’t fit the crazy shit you just naturally got up to. However, there was a certain spark of something in there, and it was one of the first super-powered sandbox games. And now I have played Prototype 2.
I seem to recall in one of my early blog posts I talked about how I was looking forward to this game prior to its launch, and yet I didn’t actually buy it until this most recent holiday sale. Oops?
I had played a wee bit at a friend’s house before getting it for myself, so I wasn’t going into it entirely sight-unseen, but I was largely unaware of what the plot consisted of, and even if I hadn’t been, well… plot was never the strong point of the first game either.
So what’s the score? I just heaved a sigh as I was thinking of what I’m gonna write next.
We have new protagonist, who’s an angry, gruff, coarse army guy with attitude. Props to Radical for not making him yet another white male, at least. As for the rest… Alex Mercer has gone off his rocker, *everyone* is cartoonishly evil, and the action takes place in the exact same area as the first game (with a few additions and more loading screens).
I am not quite sure what happened in the development of this sequel. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the gameplay, as such. They’ve even added a few interesting little things, like the Hunter Vision. And running/flying around as a loon is still one of the most interesting ways of traversing a sandbox I’ve encountered. But… it’s like the spark is gone.
I mentioned it earlier, and I will state it again. For all its faults, the first Prototype had a spark, a core of something interesting that might have been expanded upon. Instead what we got is something that feels very much like a sequel-by-numbers. By the book. Focus tested and market researched.
One of the legitimate complaints against the first title was that the side missions were weird, dull, and didn’t really fit with the rest of the game. And the new side missions do fit into the world better, and are generally more interesting. Even so, it feels like something was lost in the transition. This might be the rose-tinted goggles speaking, but I feel like more free-form shit happened in that game. Like I’d keep infiltrating military bases on my free time in case I’d find a specialist inside to devour and gain the skills of. I’d go into all-out war on an infested lair, nicking military helicopters to take it down, and get some XP and secure peace in the area for a little while. Now it feels like everything is locked to the scripted side events.
There is still some stuff that can just randomly happen while you’re out getting from place to place, but on the whole the experience felt a lot more structured and rigid. And what’s the deal with the infected creatures attacking you, and only you, if you happen to stumble across a fight between the military and the creatures? Was that how it was in the first game too? It doesn’t even matter what sort of disguise you’re wearing, they still come after you. At least the military can actually be duped if you’re wearing a disguise and not showing off your powers too much.
And the main man… I would give some props for him seeming to fit into the actions we do better, but you’ve basically just made him into an “angry black guy” stereotype, and I don’t really feel like awarding points for that. Not to mention there are several things from the first game that just seem to be quietly ignored in this one. Did you hire new writers, and just gave them the cliff notes about what the original plot was about?
I think what I’m trying to get at is that while the first game at least felt like it had a bit of soul and creativity behind it, the sequel just feels like it’s going through the motions, utterly dead on the inside. It’s like they’re just trying to soullessly repeat the original rather than build upon it. And that’s why I can’t really recommend it to anyone. Though this late after its release, I’m fairly sure everyone has already made up their minds, so this post is mainly for my own gratification.
Posted on January 13, 2014, in Games, Sorta reviews, Thoughts and tagged 3rd-person, Activision, Prototype, Prototype 2, Radical Entertainment, sandbox, videogames. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.