Want some do ya?! *Bang!* Take that mother hubbard! You want some too?! *Squish* Don’t you dare fire that gun at me, don’t, DON’T! I’m giving you verbal warning now! No? Right *smash!* All right, if that’s the way you want it, gather round, come on. Closer, little bit more……perfect. *Swoosh………Bang!* Now do you see what you get! DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU MESS WITH ME! Hey, old man……*Whollop!*
If nothing else Prototype 2’s absurdity for gratuitous violence is a great sedative for the stresses of any work day. Explosions, blood, infected humans, abominable mutations, tendrils seemingly composed of cartilage that elongate and consume…….people? It’s the equivalent of suffering an acute migraine during a carnival, but you know, in a good way?! You don’t even need to play the original to enjoy it. Subtlety is an observance that won’t be a pervasive factor in your direction, as you contract an adaptive range of powers, ascend vertical surfaces like an ice skater skirting down a sharp gradient and simply blowing everything up, sometimes accidentally. But amidst all the ensuing chaos lies a well-mannered veterinarian, trying to establish a practice exclusively for the aid of newts that suffer from debilitating heart palpitations. No, wait, sorry I read that wrong, you actually play as James Heller, a mercenary deliberately infected by a walking pathogen called Alex Mercer, who manipulates Heller’s grief over the murders of his wife and daughter by granting him super-human attributes and provoking him into vengeful recompense against the very militia he helped serve. I was close. As you can imagine, the conceit hasn’t exactly been adapted from the lost scriptures of Shakespeare, but it functions to a degree that can generally ignore the context of why, when and whom your mutilating. There’s no moral ambiguity nor diversion to accentuate a man beset by tragedy and malice, just a man purely motivated by aggression, a purely platonic Oedipus complex and seemingly aggravated by his very shadow.
“James Heller is an angry, angry man.”
After inheriting the same strain of infection that Alex Mercer possess, imbuing you with super-human abilities such as increased speed, resilience to projectile weaponry, the ability to emit a viral sonar which allows you track specified targets, wall running, temporary elevation, indiscriminate fatalities on civilians, the mobilisation tanks or Apache helicopters, command a horde of savage mutations and supplement your artillery with the consumption of humans or other “evolved”. Yes you can literally consume victims, appropriating their façades as a form of disguise bestowing access to previously restricted areas. The overtures in the absorption of a person is startling, as you pound the essence out of the cadaverous recipient, restoring dwindling health in the process. And as long as there is someone there to exploit then you’ll be almost invulnerable. You soon become a prevalent, parasitical infarction on the 3 segregated boroughs, zones quarantined into colour coordinated sections based on the severity of infection. Of course it’s all governed by the prominent militarised unit called BlackWatch who’s overt contingency is operating regulated control over the impoverished communities, for their own protection and preservation of course. Their inert plan however is the total eradication of the virus that has plagued the city and saving humanity! Mwhaha……wait? Their the good guys?!
“Traversing large distances without touching the ground is extremely satisfying.”
Oh sure, BlackWatch is occasionally infiltrated by undesirables seeking to annihilate mankind at the behest of mutated sociopath, but they are attempting to formulate antigen. Whereas I’m eviscerating every in and around my path! As you progress you’ll only become more proficient in killing, and take enormous satisfaction in denoting it. Speed and diligence are necessary commodities and trust me the compulsion to eliminate compacted groups with a flurry of rapid parries is such a compelling allure. Heller’s retention of self loathing and projection of hate is effervescent and feels so damn good to unleash explosive ferocity on the malignant infected. Smash, bash and consume! Like a masochistic prostitute. Whereas games such as inFamous restricted your errant abilities, requiring moments of respite to consolidate your diminished reverence, here your almost unstoppable, relishing the clinical potency of your consummate enmity. But with great power, comes little resistance, especially in the latter stages. Even the most aggressively respondent of enemies are easily quashed by the severity of “Hammerfist”. If they aren’t immediately splattered into a cardinal fluid by the initial impact then they’ll at least be stunned, allowing enough respite to repeat the process. This powerful trajectory from the ascent and subsequent descent mitigates the danger of almost any threat, dispatching aggressors with haste and accuracy. Evasion, if required merely requires enough distance from perusing opponents. Once clear you simply morph into your alternative guise and merrily continue without being accosted.
“James Heller here taking some time out of murdering innocents to play catch.”
The monochromatic cut-scenes are very refined and cinematic, the city and its municipal districts less so. Buildings and environments are all spurious, repeated patterns that reticulate throughout. I observed the same theatre sign adjoined to two singular buildings, both of which resembled dilapidated apartments. Vehicles are shunted off the road simply by taking leisurely strolls into them, further depicting your eminent influence. The principal story can be completed within about 8 hours, and certainly entreats you to engage with all the supplementary tasks or seeking consignments dotted around the cities that generate increased dividends to your vivacious array of abilities, which invariably brings me back to supplier of these extraordinary talents. On the surface he’s motivations are very procedural accordance’s; he desires revenge at any cost for the tragic murder of his family, offering glimpses of his receding humanity with an ordinance that only provokes further distance from sanity. But it becomes evidently clear that you’re not the hero, with even Heller openly chastising those that imply he is chivalrous. There is little regard or compunction for reforming the judicial aristocracy that clasps society and a reluctance to regard humanity with any relevance. What can be derived is that what little compassion he does inherit soon abscond’s with the regular intervals at which he is deceived by the people he does trust.
Whereas inFamous would depict colour coordinated resolutions that impact negatively or positively on your character, here decisions, or lack thereof are far removed and ponderous. On the surface every kill, every consumption of DNA appears inherently justified. I mean mutated abominations are trying to maim you and humans are attempting to shoot you! Until you begin to understand that James Heller is a selfish, troubled former marine, admittedly disposed by grief and loss, but ultimately becoming what he sought to destroy, evil! And boy does that feel gooooooood!
Prototype 2 is available for free to all PlayStation Plus subscribers.