Tendril In The Heart: Prototype 2

By Adam Smith on October 17th, 2011 at 1:27 pm.

this is not a thing that should happen to anyone

I barely played the first Prototype, so when it comes to the sequel anything plot-related is a bit hazy. Angry men are killing each other with appendages they should not have, that much is clear, but what about the soldiers caught in the middle of it all? Do they deserve to be torn asunder? Judging by this latest trailer, they sure do, casually shooting defenseless animals and then snickering about it. And if you don’t want trouble, don’t hang around with a bunch of tanks and guns in a place called The Red Zone. Leave the weaponry at home and stick to The Mauve Zone, or even the pedestrianised zone, it’s hard to imagine all this mayhem going on there.

The beginning reminds me of Diablo’s intro, but this is more extreme because not only has a man become a bird-buffet, it turns out the bird is some sort of mutant, with orange tendons or somesuch. And then, to fully deck out the platter made entirely of edges, a soldier shoots the bird and gobbets of blood splatter all over the camera.

It’s the arrival of the game’s new protagonist, James Heller, that really seals the deal though. I’m going to describe what he’s doing as ‘fist-surfing across a skyscraper while going ‘hruuurgh’ and grimacing’. Accurate? I half-expected him to play a guitar solo when he landed, blowing out some giant amps that were erupting from his biceps.

Violent behaviour this preposterous simply becomes comedic to me but that makes me want to play the game all the more. Forget the melodrama and the soul-searching, just let me throw vehicles at people and then people at vehicles, while sprouting deadly tendrils. With this and The Darkness 2 upcoming, being the victim of severely unpleasant body-horror is starting to look more and more like an appealing career path.

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24 Comments »

  1. AMonkey says:

    I don’t really know what my interest in Prototype 2 is. I didn’t really enjoy the 1st one which I got on the Steam sale. I enjoyed Infamous a lot more. I guess 2012 is kinda empty of good games after this amazing year so maybe I’ll look forward to it through absence of other games.

    • HisMastersVoice says:

      Funny thing, Infamous was a dud for me when I played it on my friends PS3 and Prototype turned out to be a total riot when I got it on the PC. Something about the mindless violence and massive destruction just feels better than running around and zapping people with lightning.

    • JuJuCam says:

      Yeah I have to say Infamous rubbed me the wrong way on a number of levels. I think the fact that the most basic enemies were quite good at killing me made me feel less powerful than I wanted to feel in a superpower themed game. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the traverse method, which is key in any open-world game.

      As much as Prototype gets wrong, it at least gets those two elements right. It takes massive swarms of enemies to defeat me, making me feel powerful, and as dull as gliding and flying about are you can traverse a massive city in a short amount of time, which again makes me feel powerful and fast.

      The other thing I noticed about Infamous that irked me was that the basic power that you rely upon for most of the game is essentially a gun. And one of the other basic powers is a grenade. Another power is like a sniper rifle with time slowdown. And not just cosmetically, the way you manipulate the controller to handle these powers feels like any other manshoot. Complete lack of imagination on the part of the designers. The superhero genre isn’t exactly flooding the game market, there’s no need to take cues from CoD.

      Whereas the powerset you get to play with in Prototype might be absurdly over the top but nobody is going to confuse any of your built in powers with a gun or a grenade. You get the feeling the designers on that game had a heck of a fun time coming up with all of the possibilities. And if you do want guns, there are guns!

  2. Linfosoma says:

    The first game was fun, but at the end is like they ran out of ideas and simply decided that EVERYTHING was going to attack you at the same time. There were times where I couldn’t even move due to the constant attack spam coming everywhere.

    I kind of hate when games decide that they dont want you to beat them and make the difficulty suddenly jump to 11.

    /rant

    • Dawngreeter says:

      I loved Prototype but, yes, the difficulty curve was awkward at times. That, and most of the upgrades you could buy didn’t seem to really be worth it (though that might just be due to my play style and certain upgrades being more compatible with it).

      Looking forward to seeing the same general game with a bit more polish.

  3. joel4565 says:

    I enjoyed the first game despite some problems. The biggest problem for me was the uneven difficulty. One mission would be a walk in the park while the next mission would require you to retry it multiple times.

    Of course the difficulty became a none issue when you found ways to get virtually unlimited experience (destroying all of the army bases) and get all the upgrades.

  4. Anarki says:

    I really loved the first Prototype even though nobody else seems too. I even carried on after I completed it collecting blue orbs, not for any real reason just because I liked gliding around the city. As a result I am looking forward to Prototype 2!

  5. Alexnader says:

    Can someone explain whether there’s any reason the soldiers all get to die horribly? That’s one thing that’s never sat well with me about this game.

    I haven’t really played much of it, I seem to recall soldiers shooting some innocent civilian who was caught in the Red Zone during the opening trailer of P1 but that’s it.

    • merc-ai says:

      Blackwatch are not ordinary soldiers – they are nasty ones who are going to kill their own family if ordered to. And they have been tasked to take Alex Mercer down. A conflict of interests ensues, and down they go.

      Regular marines, on other hand, were just doing their job securing the area against any threat – which includes Mercer. So they are not bad guys – just unlucky to encounter Alex Mercer.
      But then again, there was no reason why hundreds of civilians had to die, but many of them did. When you are walking biological weapon with revenge in mind and enemies in sight, collateral damage tends to be ignored ;)

    • LTK says:

      When you are busy doing things like rocketing down from a skyscraper heel-first, body-surf a soldier’s body across the tarmac, then launch his mangled corpse into the face of his superior like a pro soccer player, it’s easy to forget about who does or doesn’t deserve to die.

      God, I hope Prototype 2 lets you have as much violent fun as the first game. I’m considering reinstalling it right now. But for all its capacity for gloriously pointless murder, it raised some interesting ethical issues. The good thing is that thinking about them was completely optional.

  6. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. says:

    According to a post on their facebook a while back the PC version is being done inhouse and shouldn’t be a shitty port

    (The first one thinks GPUs with 2GB VRAM have 64MB VRAM and won’t work without HEX editing)

  7. DickSocrates says:

    I preferred Hulk Ultimate Destruction to Prototype. They are basically the same game, but they took all the fun out of it and replaced it with horrendous dialogue where people swear all the time, and tons of gore. Visually it was a bit of a mess, and the new one doesn’t look much better. When he does the tendril attacks, I can’t tell what’s happening or what anything is supposed to be, it’s just a tangle of ‘stuff’.

    There were some good moments, the end boss (or near the end) where you fought a giant meaty plant thing was actually quite epic. Maybe I was doing it wrong but I remember it took me about 40 minutes to beat it, coming close to death several times, but it was quite exhillerating.

    I hate that it’s New York again; I”ve never been there for real but I feel like I’ve lived there for 40 years and am sick of the sight of it. On the other hand, it looks much more detailed this time round.

    • Dominic White says:

      Likewise – I reckon Hulk was better than Prototype, but not quite for the reasons you gave. For me, it was all about the combat engine.

      Enemies in Hulk came in a huge variety of sizes, from tiny soldiers that barely came up to your knee in height, to vehicles that could be kicked, to heavy tanks that needed a special ability just to pick them up, and then Hulkbuster mechs – equal in strength and size (but not endurance) to Hulk, which resulted in amazing high-speed, high-powered wrestling matches across the skyline. You even got larger enemies than that, which you could actually climb on top of and tear chunks off of.

      Prototype had soldiers which died in one hit, vehicles that… died in 2-3 hits, and super-soldiers that were annoying and could sometimes throw you around, but otherwise died in 2-3 hits too. The virus monsters were pure damage sponges – all you could do was whack them until they ran out of HP and fell over. It didn’t feel like you were really going hands-on with your enemies. I really hope Prototype 2 brings back some of that. Being able to tackle an enemy off a rooftop, but not be sure of who’ll be winning by the time you hit the ground was great.

      In Prototype, you had 20 different moves you could do on human-sized enemies, but each and every one of them would kill in one hit. Why mix anything up? Why bother having so many?

    • danielfath says:

      In Prototype, you had 20 different moves you could do on human-sized enemies, but each and every one of them would kill in one hit. Why mix anything up? Why bother having so many?

      Because sometimes you just want to surf on an enemy into the base launch your Spike Graveyard and then Tendril Whip survivors . I.e. they looked cool.

    • Dominic White says:

      You could do all that in Hulk, though, and enemies would actually put up a fight. It looked *far* cooler if a huge mech managed to reverse a grapple and throw you through a building, only for you to recover in mid-air and shoulder-charge out of the wreckage back at them.

      Prototype’s combat often devolved into a mess akin to blindly mashing buttons while watching a frog in a blender.

  8. Dom_01 says:

    Prototype’s story is what I enjoyed the most from the game. It’s about a government conspiracy to create the ultimate biological weapon, and without spoiling too, the back-story goes back much more than you’d think.

    I also think Alex Mercer was a very interesting protagonist: it’s basically what would happen if a regular guy was given superhero powers, yet was hunted by the government. You could almost say he’s the good guy, except he can devour innocent civilians for health and some missions task him to kill marines doing (in their perspective,) their dutiful jobs. So yeah, he’s not a goody two-shoes nor evil incarnate by any stretch.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention, I loved the “Web of Intrigue” cut-scenes, and went out of my way to get them all. Great stuff.

    • whydidyoumakemeregister says:

      Glad somebody got some joy out of it. I always think it’s interesting when a game has you killing innocent civilians because you deserve their life more than they do, and then they give you a story that would be a bit too immature for a third grade book report.

    • ChiefOfBeef says:

      You’re kidding? The story was worse than B-movie tripe and it didn’t even have the stones to avoid taking itself seriously. Only story-telling of a very high calibre has the right to take itself so seriously and Prototype could have been written by a 12-year old.

      What’s also quite obvious from reading about it on the website a year before release and then playing the actual game was how much was cut. They might have had a good story but some focus group told them to get rid of it. Alex Mercer’s mother was originally part of it but didn’t appear at all in the end product and Elizabeth Green is shoe-horned in with some half-baked “I’m your mother” bullcrap that suggests she might turn out to be but really, no she isn’t- she’s nothing more than a Plot Device that isn’t even necessary.

      There are so many holes from the main missions and the ‘web of intrigue’ which has no real connective story behind it, it’s just a lot of empty sound-bites that something way more interesting has clearly been cut down to size because the teenagers in charge decided it was ‘TL;DR’.

  9. Oreb says:

    I liked Prototype, but I did not enjoy the game’s pretense for mass-murder. I don’t care what some evil scientist did to your Mom, murdering everyone on the Upper East Side still makes you a bad guy. I wish the developers had embraced their anti-hero and just let us get on with the evil-doing.

    • Dominic White says:

      Just going to SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILERSPOILER SPOILER this so it doesn’t appear in the sidebar:

      You’re totally an anti-hero in the game. At the end, remember the big reveal? You’ve not even been playing as Mercer. He died. You’re playing as the now-sentient virus vector. You just happened to pick up Mercers memories as he was the first victim.

    • LTK says:

      But story-wise, you’re not really doing evil for the sake of evil. (Let’s disregard for a moment that gameplay-wise, you personally might enjoy treating the streets as a bowling alley and a tank as the ball. The pins? Everything else, I guess.) To put it another way, He Never Asked For This. From the beginning, [the protagonist] has been hunted like an animal by Blackwatch, albeit with varying success. He has to fight for self-preservation, by all means necessary. Blackwatch’s actions, on the other hand, can also be somewhat excused in the present situation. They see Alex Mercer, alive, probably spreading the virus, and directly counteracting their efforts to keep the virus from taking over the city. The only sensible action is, of course, to take him down by all means necessary.

      It’s not often that I play a game where both sides of the conflict seem to be equally villainous but are at the same time equally justifiable.

  10. JimmyJazz says:

    am I the only one that feels absolutely terrible for those soldiers? I am feeling really bad for some reason. I mean, jeez.

  11. Kefren says:

    I haven’t played the first, it isn’t my kind of thing, but I just wondered – are his clothes part of his body? Or can he remake then as well as body parts? Generally when people mutate and their clothes get Hulked they then have to find more or run around naked. That would probably add an extra element to the game. “Look cool OR mutate – you decide.”