Prototype centered around a virus-infected, quarantined New York City and a hapless guy by the name of Alex Mercer. Alex awoke facedown in the street to find that not only had he lost his memory, but the virulent plague that hit his home city and turned many of the residents into zombie-like monstrosities had somehow given him shape-shifting superpowers. Oddly, that caused everybody to start blaming him for the disaster. So Alex had to piece together his shattered memory and find the truth.
In Prototype 2, the hunt for the truth is still on and the nasty virus is still raging, but the protagonist has changed. Sergeant James Heller is our “hero” this time around, and he hasn’t lost any of his memory. No, he remembers quite clearly the torment the virus inflicted on Manhattan. He remembers quite clearly that the plague claimed his own wife and daughter. So he wants only one thing: to find Alex Mercer and kill him … as painfully as possible.
God-Like Powers …
Heller does indeed find Mercer, but things don’t go as he planned. Instead, Mercer injects Heller with a batch of his own brand of all-powerful infection and sets the enraged Marine off on a quest to find the real culprits behind the mess. Could it be that the whole thing has been a controlled bioweapon experiment? A purposefully concocted genocidal cauldron that a governmental black ops entity has been stirring and studying? The sergeant’s on the scent now, and he won’t stop until he’s found the truth and wreaked revenge.
As impassioned as that scenario sounds—and the game’s intro is a morsel of cinematic titillation that draws you in with an artistic visual flourish and a strong emotional charge—ultimately the gameplay all boils down to whole lot of killing, dismembering and gore-splattering chaos. Heller’s powers include the ability to run up the side of skyscrapers, soar from the building tops like a sci-fi version of Rocky the Flying Squirrel and throw vehicles around like so many crumpled candy wrappers. But the real oomph comes in the form of his death-dealing weapons. Assault rifles and rocket launchers are available, but Heller comes equipped with the ability to turn his limbs into raking claws, pulping hammers, hacking blades and death-delivering tendrils.
… Without the God-Like Upside
Depending on which button you tap, the characters you attack meet their ends in a variety of incredibly bloody spectacles. And even if you attempt to keep the body count down, the game pushes you in the opposite direction—encouraging a rampage against the guilty and the innocent alike—since you can only recharge your depleted energies with a kill. So kill you will, if you play, grinding enemies into a bloody, swirling pulp that Heller then absorbs.
In a way, the entire game glorifies torturing the less powerful—without even a dash of consequence. One of the more sadistic methods comes via those tendrils I mentioned which create something of a black hole, causing geysers of blood to flood forth from any unfortunate standing near its vortex.
Streams of s- and f-words also gush and gurgle. Even Heller’s spiritual confidant, Father Guerra, drops an f-bomb in the midst of their heated conversations. And we hear discussions about marijuana use and sexual performances in the bedroom.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.