Thursday, May 17, 2012

Prototype 2

I bought The Witcher 2 and Prototype 2 on the same day. I have played through the first story based achievement in The Witcher 2 and am about 100 gamer points away from completing Prototype 2 (and have already beat the game... about halfway through my second playthrough). For someone who got to somewhere around the last boss fight and gave up on the original game, this says something about the improvements that were made to this game's mechanics.

I liked the original Prototype. It wasn't necessarily a deep story motivated by a fantastic main character. In fact, Alex Mercer is sort of a dick. He's not even close to a hero, though I think early on he is guided by the same sort of "what just happened" motivation as the main character in the game Infamous. It is, however, the sort of game where you can karate kick a helicopter out of the sky and turn your limbs into a multitude of weapons. It's just mindless slaughterhouse fun (sort of like my as of yet undeclared love for House of the Dead:Overkill on the Wii). 

I think, as yet another ethnic main character (I note this merely because the last game I recently played through was Shadows of the Damned which featured a Hispanic main character), they treated James Heller incredibly well. He has very textbook revenge motives and there is very little real development to him, but again karate kicking helicopters out of the sky. We aren't looking at deep character story here. Eventually, Heller is going to figure into a post I'd like to write about fathers in gaming. There seems to be a special place in the hearts of game developers for fathers - and for the most part damned good ones. Square Enix (or Squaresoft as I still think of them in my heads) loves to throw in a great ethnic single father into their mix of characters.

And I digress, the point of this post is simply to say that Prototype 2 is a game I began playing again immediately on finishing it. This is a very rare occurrence for me. I have games unopened - sequels and trilogies waiting to be finished. There are other things for me to be doing, but in a time when my personal life is in upheaval and my plans for the future uncertain Prototype 2 provides that perfect diversion. The controls have been vastly improved upon, so I found combat to be a fun and almost intuitive experience. When contrasted with the frustration of the original Prototype - which did manage to capture a breathtaking version of New York City - it's an incredible change. They focus less on a hundred (literally) random collectibles and give you more focused goals. The addition of Radnet is fun, but mostly because I am competitive in a very roundabout way. I like being able to check in and realize "Oh, hey, so and so beat my score in this challenge... it's on." I'm not so much of a fan of direct multiplayer where I just don't have the drive to invest in memorizing maps and controls for a single game to the point where a win feels rewarding instead of like the spirit sucking death slog of games of things like Dark Souls. 

The graphics are good, but nothing to write home about. It's just a really fantastic open world sandbox game full of infected goodness and monsters (both human and... not). If you have the chance, rent it, or pick it up. If you're thinking "But I didn't play Prototype, so I'll have no idea what is going on", they do include a convenient recap. And honestly (I feel like this bears repeating yet again), you can karate kick a helicopter out of the sky... or pounce on it and rip off any number of pieces that keep it airborne.

What can you expect from me in the future? A post about why I'm incredibly excited about the Suda51 directed and James Gunn (of Slither and Super fame) written Lollipop Chainsaw and yet also prepared for a fair amount of disappointment. I feel like it will be a hell of a lot of fun to play and I'm excited to see how they treat a female main character. Scared and excited. And that aforementioned piece about fathers and father figures in video games, probably peppered with a little commentary on how few mothers you see in them. If anyone can think of some games, I should research when writing this piece I'd be appreciative. Right now, I'm looking at a handful of Final Fantasy games, the Uncharted series, Heavy Rain, and Prototype 2.

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