Prototype 2 is about as subtle as Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus (that ‘classic’ movie). Sure, it’s got a story involving genetic mutants, family tragedy and revenge, but that really only exists so that superpowered star James Heller can unleash flamboyant destruction in New York.
Prototype 2 is an open-world rampage indebted to Crackdown and Grand Theft Auto, but starring a hero with more powers than an entire mutant academy. From the off Heller has the hide of a rhino, and the twin abilities to run up walls and kick like an especially feisty mule. He can also turn people into meat spaghetti and absorb them to gain health, take their forms and read their minds. Charming.
By any superhero’s standards that’s a robust set of powers, but Prototype 2 doesn’t stop there. Within minutes of starting it supplements Heller’s initial toolkit with claws large enough to give Wolverine body dysmorphia – and that’s only the first of myriad ‘upgrades’ on offer as the game progresses.
It’s lucky that this drip-drip of new powers manages to gel Prototype 2 together, because its action is rather unadventurous, meat-and-potatoes stuff – good, tasty fare that hits the spot but can bore with familiarity. Its missions are a diet of manic smash-‘em-ups and manic smash-‘em-ups-with-a-dash-of-sneaking, but the constant stream of new powers ensures Prototype 2 avoids going stale right through to the end.
Having said that, once you reach that end there’s little to draw you back. Activision is promising to produce a steady supply of new extra challenges for the next year, but we’re not entirely convinced this will be enough to truly extend the game’s appeal for long.
So while it’s unlikely you’ll be playing Prototype 2 for months on end, its hearty dose of kick-ass action will do just nicely for a couple of weeks.