The original Prototype had all the makings of a huge success, but repetitive mission design and an unlikable protagonist prevented the game from attaining any lasting appeal. Radical Entertainment hopes to right their wrongs and produce a more competent package with Prototype 2. I take a look at a recent Prototype 2 trailer (above) to see if there any definitive changes to the Prototype package.
A good guy that’s kinda good or at least better than the last
Prototype 2 has been spun into a more approachable revenge tale with players taking control of James Heller, a soldier seeking redemption after the outbreak from the original game killed his family. Compared to our previous protagonist, Alex Mercer, Heller himself is a bit more bad ass with a thicker, more muscular build and hard facial features. Despite being the “good guy” in this game, Heller rarely smiled in the trailer, This makes it difficult to determine his intentions, but it does convey a sense of focused determination that is important in any confrontation with secret military death squads and scientific abominations.
Heller has access to powers similar in application to Mercer, but his highly functional tendrils are a welcome change of pace. Just cloning Mercer would be less than innovative but tendrils need to come with the mutant package. These tendrils have all the same abilities as Mercer’s, but they can also be attached to objects, creating a magnetic effect that causes rampant collisions or limb separation. Unfortunately, these tendrils do not appear to have the ability to mend a broken heart, so Heller is out of luck in terms of utilizing them in alleviating his own emotional distress. He can make helicopters crash with them though, which in and of itself can help individuals deal with internal problems through an external venue.
Heller’s main target is the man who essentially started the whole ordeal, Mr. Alex Mercer himself. In what was probably conceived as a shocking discovery, we learn that Mercer isn’t exactly the hero of New York City. Those that played Prototype probably aren’t all that surprised considering his aptitude for grotesquely dismembering innocent bystanders while gallivanting about the city. Heller should be more palatable as a hero, as while he’ll still probably destroy thousands of human lives, his soulful eyes and depression over the loss of his family seems to help validate the unnecessary destruction left in his wake.
From hero to heel
There’s no real indication from the trailer whether Mercer knows he’s the bad guy this time around or whether he’s even comfortable with this demotion (assuming of course he sees this as a demotion, judging from his previous actions this may be a less confusing affiliation for him). One can only hope that he’ll take on some physical characteristic that will help players differentiate him from Heller as they both have similar mutated looks. Perhaps devil horns or a thin mustache/ goatee combination would do the trick, though slicked back hair and an over priced suit could also be effective in establishing his moral orientation.
It is apparent from the video that despite his hate for Mercer, Heller does respect his mortal enemy’s fashion sense and will don his familiar hoodie/jacket combination throughout the game. He’s not a complete poser though as Heller appears to be wearing a military themed coat as opposed to the leather that Mercer wore. In what some may see as a radical departure from the original, Heller will opt to leave the hood down off of his head. It is not obvious whether this is a choice in regards to comfort or fashion, but hopefully the game’s narrative will reveal further information. It should also be noted that Heller is also wearing looser more comfortable jeans as opposed to Mercer’s more stylish yet snugger fitting classic fit.
In regards to the mutant creatures of the game, they appear to be as unappealing to look at as in the original. These monsters either lack the ability to disguise themselves in same way that Heller and Mercer do, or they just aren’t comfortable expending the amount of calories it requires to transform into more attractive individuals. Not that Mercer or Heller possess traits that deem them “beautiful people” by any stretch of the imagination, but they can at least associate with other people during social gatherings without causing a sensation. Whether the mutants desire mass acceptance is also unknown at this point, but one can only assume they do given their attention seeking behavior.
The appreciation they deserve
One little detail that does stand out from the trailer is the extensive amount of screen time given to slow motion explosions. Alongside Heller and Mercer, slow motion explosions look to be integral to the plot development of the Prototype 2 story and have been given the focus that other games refuse to bestow upon similar slow motion effects. One can assume that slow motion effects will play a dual role in Prototype 2 as Heller seems to benefit from their presence while at the same time being forced to avoid their effects in certain situations. It’s quite apparent that slow motion explosions resulting from Heller’s actions are ok for him, but those as a result of missiles or grenades from his enemies can cause damage.
All in all Prototype 2 strives to be an improvement to the original Prototype blueprint. The trailer tells us quite a bit, but a full synopsis of the game’s quality will only be determined once the product is finished and playable (which at that point further analysis in the form of a review or preview should paint a more detailed picture). It goes with out saying that there’s a lot left to be desired here, as there are multitudes of unanswered questions. Perhaps the trailers should have been 10-12 hours long to give us a better grasp of the internal workings of Prototype 2, but we will just have to hold onto the hope that the future has more promise for this game than the present.
I’ve Had Better – Video game trailers are serious business that require analysis to the point of missing the point entirely because we have nothing better to do until the game comes out.