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Prototype 2
Score: 93%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Free-Roaming

Graphics & Sound:
From the first moment that you load up Prototype 2, you will love the graphics. To start the game, the cutscenes are mostly black and white, and of course red. I absolutely adore the way the blood stands out on the otherwise black and white scenes. They really put some time into making sure the game feels more like a movie at times; but they also make sure that you never get bored waiting on a scene. Plus, you can skip the cutscenes, if you really want to.

I love the voicework as well but fair warning; you do NOT want your kids to play Prototype 2. The language is very strong. These guys curse worse than sailors. The variety of voices amaze me though. The soldiers, the citizens, pretty much everyone, all sound different. In some games, you feel like one or two people voiced everything, but in Prototype 2, you shouldn't get that feeling at all. The background music is appropriately creepy and all of the little sounds that you want to hear, like boards breaking when you destroy something, are all there.

In Prototype, we met Alex Mercer and learned of his infection and the new powers it gave him. Mercer was hell-bent on finding out why he had become what he was and how it happened, no matter who he had to destroy to do so. He had his reasons, of course, but in the end he just made things a lot worse for everyone. I love that from the Main Menu, you can get a Prototype Recap so that if you haven't played the first game, you will still get to find out what happened. In Prototype 2, there has been a second outbreak of the Mercer virus which everyone thought had been contained a year ago. This outbreak is assumed to be caused by Mercer himself. Blackwatch has come in and declared martial law in New York City because the outbreak has gotten so bad. Sgt. James Heller has survived the outbreak, but his wife Colette and daughter Amaya were both killed by the infected. This has caused a bit of a psychotic break in Heller, which makes him a perfect candidate to send into the Red Zone to clear it out when he asks for the detail. Heller is on a mission: find Alex Mercer and eliminate him so that he can't spread the infection anymore. Things don't go exactly as Heller plans though and he learns that Mercer can't be killed very easily. Not only can Heller not kill him, but Mercer has infected Heller now! Heller's powers differ from Mercer some though, so you will find that he learns new abilities as he evolves (my personal favorite of which are the tendrils). You can actually choose how you want Heller to evolve by spending the Evolution Points that you earn throughout the game. With them, you can customize Heller into whatever form of killing machine you want.

The basic game is a series of missions that you are supposed to do to advance the story, but really, you can do whatever you want. Of course, you can't just run around killing people in the beginning because you'll get caught, but if you're careful about it, you can kill quite a lot. Personally, I like just flying (really gliding) over the city just to scope everything out. The missions want you to go somewhere specific, so make sure you look for the arrows and follow them because that's what they want you to find to complete the mission and get to the next one. Keep in mind, sometimes they may be on top of buildings and not on the street. From the Pause screen, you can see everything that you will need to get to. It defaults to the city map that you can use to see where you need to go. You can also view any Collectibles that you have found. Collectibles give you mutation abilities and such. You can get to Blacknet, but you'll have to unlock these games before you can play them. Don't worry though; you will get them unlocked pretty quickly. You can view your Heller mutation status here and use the Evolution Points you have earned to make the Heller that you want to play with. In the special edition, you can also connect to RADNET, after you have it unlocked. In RADNET, you will find challenges that you can try and beat. You're not actually playing against anyone, but there is a leaderboard in case you want to know how you fare against the world. There are so many different optional things to do that the main game and missions are just a small part of it all.

When you start a new game, you are given the options of Easy, Medium, Hard, or Insane. Insane is locked at the beginning, though. Since you can change your difficulty level at any time, you can just start on Hard and keep bumping it down if you have trouble. I don't recommend that as it will disable "the ability to earn possible Trophies related to difficulty." Granted, if you're one of those people who don't care about trophies, then this won't bother you a bit, but I don't know many of those people. Let's just admit that we all love trophies. If you want to know how hard it is to get trophies, from what I can tell, about half of them you will get just by going through and completing the missions. Of course, I am estimating on that. Some of them you might want to go look up to see what you need to do, like "So Above It All" which wants you to stay in the air at least 25 seconds and not on a helicopter. That's probably not something you'll accidently trigger unless you're just gliding around for the fun of it. Some are going to be more difficult to get, like Master Prototype which wants you to beat the game on Hard. I am guessing that you will unlock Insane difficulty then as well, but I haven't done that yet to know for sure.

I recommend just starting on Medium and if you find it too easy or too hard at the beginning, just start a new game on the level you want instead. Once you know where to find things for the missions, it is a lot quicker to run through them a second time. You can also choose to Restore Checkpoint or Restart Mission from Options. This can be quite handy if you get stuck somewhere and find that you just need to go back to the previous point. You can only restore to the previous checkpoint though, so you can't use this to go back to any point in time.

Game Mechanics:
The controls in Prototype 2 are very much the same as Prototype, so if you got the hang of those, you won't have much new to learn. The things that have changed I find are easier to use now. From Pause and then Options, you'll find everything you need to customize how you play. You can view the controls for everything. You can also change pretty much every camera control that there is available. You can adjust the video if it happens to be too dark or too light. You can increase the volume of music, sounds fx, and dialogue and you can even turn on subtitles if you're a bit hard of hearing or just happen to want to read. You can also change your difficulty level if you find that it is too easy or too hard for you. You'll also find your Save and Load under Options.

As I mentioned earlier, Heller has different weapons from Mercer as his mutation worked just a bit differently. I mentioned that the tendrils are my favorite weapon and they're new to Heller. Picture Spiderman's web shooters, except instead of webs, it is a blood red stream that dismembers anything it touches and strews the pieces all over the place. You can even use it on large vehicles and such, but it takes longer to work. Heller has devastators like Mercer did, except Heller can also use his mass meter to call a Pack Leader and have mutated beasts fight with him. These guys are always handy in a fight. Sometimes you just feel like torturing the infected (or citizens). You can use them quite a few ways. You can pick up people and turn them into a "Bio-bomb." What this does is infect them and turn them into a grenade so when you throw them, you can take out a huge radius. Previously, health dropped when you killed things and you had to pick it up to restore your health. Now though, you consume living creatures (both infected and not) to restore your health and gain their memories. You can also shape-shift into them after you have consumed them. This makes it really easy to walk among enemy guards as one of them, at least until you attack them. If you really want to attack, take the time to rip a missile launcher off of a tank or take control of a helicopter. You can "weaponize" just about anything and use it to cause mass chaos!

I had not played Prototype until just before I went to preview Prototype 2 and that was a real shame because I love the game. I'm not sure how I missed playing it when it came out. Luckily though, I have Prototype 2 now because it is even better than the first. If you like action or even hack n' slash games, I highly recommend that you go pick up Prototype 2 as soon as it hits the shelves because it is highly addictive. It's got a strong story and lots of killing; what more could you ask for?

-Cyn, GameVortex Communications
AKA Sara Earl

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