Prototype 2’s James Heller is on a quest to destroy the Blacklight virus

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The last big action-adventure open world videogame starring a brooding soul with super powers I took a deep leap into was inFAMOUS 2, which featured a troubled young man gifted with special powers, a city under attack and turmoil, and plenty of tall structures to climb and jump off of cinematically. Well, I’ve had the itch for more of the same lately, as I’m still working on Final Fantasy IX and am totally not emotionally ready for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and so, after scanning my long list of PlayStation Plus freebies, I discovered Prototype 2. Now, when I said I wanted “more of the same” in relation to inFAMOUS 2, I didn’t mean it literally. It’s fun, but something still seems off.

Let’s get this out of the way. I never played the original Prototype, much how I never played the original inFAMOUS. Thankfully, you don’t really need to have in order to have a good time here. Plus, there’s an option from the main menu for a summary of the previous game’s events. Of which, I’ve forgotten everything. Something something virus something something Mercer something something consume people for power. Yeah, got it.

Anyways, two years after the events of the original game, U.S. Marine Sergeant James Heller is struggling. His wife and daughter are dead, due to the Blacklight virus, which kickstarts him rejoining the military to fight against it. During one mission, he bumps into Alex Mercer and, believing this is the man at fault for his deceased family, chases him down. Unfortunately, Mercer infects Heller with a strain of the virus that gives him superhuman abilities. After dropping some predictable exposition about the nefarious plans of Gentek and Blackwatch, Mercer offers Heller a truce in order to take them down.

If Prototype 2 has anything going for it, it is this: running up the sides of buildings. I could do this for hours and accomplish nothing, but the feeling of bursting to the tippy-top of some tall skyscraper is immensely satisfying, especially since you can then leap off of it and immediately glide towards another erected structure. I actually ended up bouncing back to Assassin’s Creed II after playing this a bit, needing to collect the remainder of Subject 16’s glyphs, and the slowness that is meticulously clamoring up an old-timey building in Rome physically hurt my soul. Oh, and Prototype 2 also has an in-game GPS notifier when near some kind of collectible, which I appreciate. So there, two things I am really digging.

Playing on the “Normal” difficulty, I’m finding Prototype 2 to be shockingly easy. Maybe I should bump it up a bit, but I’m not actually looking for a challenge here, now remembering how frustrating some parts of inFAMOUS 2 got with those enemies that shot up high on pillars of ice. I think I’ve died only once due to some lousy dodging on my part, but otherwise Heller can take down an entire base of enemies without seeing a drop in health. It’s ultra violent, mindless, and laid-back, which is a strange combination, but fitting nonetheless. The stealth mechanics, thanks to being able to transform into people you’ve consumed, are very forgiving, which results in a good amount of experimenting, all of which is nine times out of ten successful. Personally, I love transforming into a scientist, leaping off a building into a military-controlled zone, and then releasing monsters from cages to do my dirty work–all without raising an alert.

Based on the Trophies list, I feel like I’m about two-thirds of the way through Prototype 2, almost done with the second island zone of New York Zero, with plenty still to destroy, collect, and upgrade. I hope to finish this up soon though and get back to some other games that require a bit more focus and effort.

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