A Trip Down Memories Game- Prototype 2
Prototype 2 is an open world game for the Xbox 360 that is a sequel to its well received predecessor Prototype. In Prototype 2 you play as James Heller who gets infected with the same virus as the main protagonist from the previous game Alex Mercer by….. Alex Mercer? As Heller you go on to work to find out what Alex’s plan is and put a stop to it, and him.
What’s wrong with this game comes in multiple forms, there are more questions raised than there are questions put to rest, Alex Mercers character makes sense but falls short in terms of being more than one dimensional. Aside from than the gameplay failed to make any new headway aside from having some new powers that are really just analogs of Alex’s powers from the first game, and frankly it wastes it’s potential. I won’t give any of the story away for people who want to play it for themselves, but the first Prototype made sense to be the way it was (i.e. without good or evil elements) because its not about a guy who has powers deciding what to do with them (i.e. Infamous) but rather, it was about a guy trying to piece together what the circumstances were that led him to his current predicament (i.e. The Hangover if it was written by Marvel Comics). By the time you enter the story things are what they are and you gotta deal, so ending Alex’s character development at “He had a bad day and turned evil because of it” and giving us control of Heller strikes me not only a misstep but also kind of lazy. They could have had a game where the central question was “Ok, you found out what made you what you are in the first game; now what?” but instead it’s a redo of the first one but with a new person. Another problem with the story is the questions it brings up, why does Alex come back to NYZ why does he want to spread the virus just because of some chick that wasn’t what he thought she was? (That’s his motivation, really.) What will that accomplish long term? Did his infection drive him insane? Is it a result of the virus? Will Heller have a similar effect one day? These and more are questions that were raised but were never answered even though there was ample time to do so. The gameplay is no better and no worse than the previous game because it’s the same as the last game. All that has changed are a few of the moves and its all aesthetic, but it leaves a question to be asked. ‘Why stop there?’ Who says that the virus had to give Heller the same type of upgrades it gave Mercer Previously? Why not Gun based powers or something to differentiate from Mercers powers aside from “He has a bigger knife”? It just places too many questions on a foundation that can’t support it, and it’s a shame because they had the makings of a really good game.
This game could work for new players despite all of the above stated due t the fact that the game plays as if it’s in medias res if you play it without playing he first one, and that’s a great decision if you are making a sequel. However there is an overlying problem that aside from that the story never really caught my attention. It feels like watching your first LOST episode and it ends up being the final episode, you’ll know something major has happened, that it was supposed to be profound; but ultimately you’ll be unsatisfied.
The best way I see this game being any better is if they make it possibly more like infamous. The groundwork as been set up now build upon it; What trials does Heller face now that he is possibly the last infected in the world? Does he end up having a similar mind set to Mercer? How do the Government/Normal people react to him? Are they grateful in his role of potential hero? Do they see the monster that Mercer became in him? Things like that where you can let people answer questions like that for themselves through the Good/Evil parameters can open up lots of possibilities for this series.