Hand-to-hand combat is just as effective as the murderous weapons. Your arms transform into a bevy of handy killing contraptions such as tendrils, blades, and hammers, and you map two of these to two buttons. Depending on a number of factors, such as whether you tap or hold the button, you perform different moves, and these all finish your enemies in spectacularly bloody ways. The most sadistic of these is a black hole you create with tendrils. Enemies and environmental debris explode at a central point, causing a geyser of blood to shoot from anyone unlucky enough to be at the center. The controls have been streamlined from the original , so you no longer have to contend with the finger gymnastics the more powerful moves demanded. Instead, your kills are varied and gruesome, and it's so easy to initiate the moves that you happily test out different combinations while dead bodies pile up at your feet.
6388505A little stealth never hurt anyone... except the bad guys.None
There's a sadistic joy to brutally murdering your enemies in Prototype 2. You're blessed with such a powerful repertoire that you can cause excruciating pain with ease. Although much of the excitement exists because of this savagery, your enemies are such pushovers that you rarely feel the satisfaction of a hard-fought victory. In many ways, Prototype 2 encompasses the design philosophy normally associated with quick-time events (even though that control method doesn't often surface). In other games, frequent QTEs make you feel like a badass without much work, and that sense of unlimited power is Prototype 2 in a nutshell. Your overpowered enemies keel over after barely even scratching your durable skin, so you tear them to shreds without any fear of dying. Even when you start a New Game+ on the unlockable Insane difficulty, you progress through missions without any serious opposition.
Your biggest challenge comes from overcoming twitchy controls and a camera that falters under certain circumstances. Killing dozens of enemies is no problem in Prototype 2, but when you want to hurt just one attacker, things become a bit more complicated. You move so quickly that homing in on just one man is a crapshoot, and this means you might pick up a box or stray rocket launcher when you desperately need to grab on to a specific person instead. In tight spaces, the camera doesn't know how to properly showcase the actions. Characters become obscured behind obstacles because your view zooms in too tight, making it tricky to get your bearings. Neither of these issues is detrimental because even with hiccups you rarely confront death, but they do get in the way of the freewheeling action during the most intense moments.
That flimsy mask won't help against this virus.
These are small problems in a game that's overflowing with simple pleasures. Maybe the best of these flashes of joy come from the way you escape from the military. When you cause too much damage, troops are alerted to your presence and hunt you with extreme aggression. If you escape their line of sight and shape-shift into someone you previously consumed, they immediately call off their manhunt. In theory, this is a fine solution, but in practice, it's so delightfully illogical that it only adds to the ridiculous fun of the rest of the game. The military quits the chase abruptly and is too stupid to understand reality. So, if you transform into a scientist while running up the side of a building, no one will think twice that a medical professional is defying gravity. This leads to a number of hilarious situations in which your pursuers happily ignore gliding hobos and artillery-toting doctors while you giggle at their buffoonery.
The freedom in how you traverse the city and kill your foes is the main draw in Prototype 2, and though the missions give you the flexibility to complete them in unique ways, they lack the inventiveness that could have added variety to your objectives. Just about every mission boils down to exterminating a person of questionable morals, so you rarely have to exert much effort in planning your attacks. At least stealth elements do give you a new way to approach things. Picking off enemies (either by consuming them or planting a viral bomb in their skull) is deviously satisfying and gives some challenge to completing missions even though stealth is usually optional. Plus, secondary objectives give you bonuses for completing missions in specific ways, ensuring you can't just rely on the same technique if you want to excel.
He's lifting a bench over his head! Can you imagine such a thing?
Outside of missions, there are oodles of collectibles to nab. The map sends out a radar pulse in the approximate location of hidden black boxes and secret lairs, so you don't have to explore much to uncover them. But it's fun to traverse the city locating every spare part, and the upgrades you receive for doing so are worth your while. The pacing is handled well in Prototype 2. You learn new abilities every few hours, so you always have something new to play around with, and bumping your stats makes you stronger and faster as you get deeper into the journey. It's a shame the challenge doesn't scale with your newfound powers, but that doesn't detract from the excitement of learning new ways to tear your enemies to pieces.
Prototype 2 is a safe sequel. It doesn't add anything particularly new or inventive to the genre, but small tweaks make it more accessible than the original game. Most importantly, it's an unabashedly fun adventure that doesn't have any doubt about what it wants to be. This is a game about killing enemies in an open-world environment, and little stands in the way to hinder your enjoyment. Mindless violence is all the rage in Prototype 2, which makes for a stupid yet entertaining experience.