|Composer(s)||Scott R. Morgan|
|Release||PlayStation 3, Xbox 360|
April 24, 2012
August 12, 2015
Prototype 2 (stylized as [PROTOTYPE2]) is a 2012 open world action-adventure video game. Developed by Canadian studio Radical Entertainment and published by Activision, it is the sequel to 2009's Prototype. The game was announced at the 2010 Spike VGA Awards. Versions for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One were released on July 14, 2015 alongside the first game as Prototype Biohazard Bundle. Separate versions of the games became available in August 2015.
The game features a new protagonist, James Heller, as he goes on a quest to destroy the Blacklight virus. The story is one of revenge, as Heller wants to kill Alex Mercer, protagonist of the original Prototype, after his family was killed in the outbreak of the Blacklight virus. While the game was a top seller for a period of time, its sales would eventually result in the downsizing of its developer.
James Heller can shapeshift and assume other people's identities and memories by consuming them. Taking people's identities and shapeshifting into them has become more tactical. Due to Blackwatch's actions in the Yellow Zone, if the player assumes the role of a soldier, people will react to him in a way that shows that they want nothing to do with him. To make sure that enemies do not overwhelm the player, Radical has created a dodging system and new, more realistic AI. Heller will be able to use weapons in the game, such as ripping the Gatling cannon off a tank and using it against enemies. Heller can also sneak up on unsuspecting human enemies, inject them with the Blacklight virus turning them into "BioBomb" to blow up spectacularly. Heller also has superhuman strength and agility, near-invulnerability to harm, near-flight leaping and gliding, infinite stamina, increased speed, and has a sonar sense. The sonar includes a new pulse ability that highlights the key features of an environment to make it easier for the player to find someone, instead of looking in a large crowd for a person with an icon above their head. Radical has stated that the powers will be more meaningful, appearing as mutations and upgrades that let players decide how they want to play as Heller.
To give gamers more power in the game, the developers have added tendrils. Tendrils sprout from Heller's arm and can be used for a variety of purposes. Players can use tendrils to smash objects into other objects, such as a car into a tank, utilising the 'Black Hole' attack. Players will be able to dismember enemies, a force that will become more useful as the game progresses. There are many more ways to kill enemies, ranging from throwing a car at a group of Blackwatch soldiers, hacking off a mutant's head or using powers. Consuming has not changed since the original Prototype, with the exception of some enemies, which are consumed upon grabbing them (e.g. Supersoldiers, Brawlers). It has also been announced that Heller can now control a pack of Brawlers (similar to Prototype's Hunters) to attack anything he desires (note: this power is limited to main variant of Brawler). Heller will no longer find 'Events' throughout NYZ, instead starting side-missions by hacking into Blacknet. Blackwatch's system that details military operations and the three areas of NYZ, Heller chooses from a small list of missions at each terminal. Blacknet will allow Heller to find operations that he can disrupt or take control of for his own purposes and find important people that will allow him to learn more about what he has become because of the Blacklight virus. It will also help him find out more about Alex Mercer and what his connections are to his family's deaths. The missions that are selectable can be sidequests or extensions to the main quest that tell Heller more about the Blacklight virus.
One year after the events of the first game, U.S. Marine Sergeant James Heller, after returning from touring in Iraq, discovers his wife and daughter to be declared dead, causing him to rejoin the military in the fight for NYZ against the Blacklight virus. Heller is briefed on the previous outbreaks in Idaho in the 60's and in NYZ in the events of the first game. He later finds that Alex Mercer (the main protagonist in the first game) has now lost faith in humanity and begins chasing him.
Pursuing Mercer for vengeance, Heller is infected by Mercer with a strain that imbues him with similar superhuman abilities. After blacking out, Heller awakens in a Yellow Zone lab where Gentek scientist Dr. Anton Koenig and Blackwatch Col. Douglas Rooks are experimenting on him. Heller escapes from the Gentek base, when Mercer confronts him and claims Gentek and Blackwatch are responsible for recreating and cultivating the Blacklight virus, making them responsible for the second infection and the deaths of Heller's family. Revealing his plans to take down Gentek and Blackwatch, Mercer offers a truce to Heller. Unsure of Mercer's intentions Heller goes to his local pastor, Father Luis Guerra, for advice and help.
Using information supplied by Guerra, Heller hacks into Blacknet Terminals to find out about and sabotage a number of their operations. Gradually consuming his way through Blackwatch, Heller eventually finds and confronts Koenig, who claims to be on his side and reveals Blackwatch's super-soldier program, codenamed "Orion". Heller prevents Project: Orion's progress by killing a super-soldier who was injected with his DNA. After consuming one of the head scientists, Heller discovers that Koenig was observing him in order to find his weaknesses. Enraged at Koenig's betrayal, Heller tracks him down, only to discover that he has powers similar to he and Mercer, and is one of several "Evolved" agents planted in Gentek and Blackwatch by Mercer. After defeating and consuming the doctor, Mercer reveals to Heller that he intends to recruit him in an attempt to control NYZ. His doubts growing, Guerra then shows Heller a video tape of Mercer releasing the virus for the second time in Penn Station, the same place Mercer originally released and contracted the virus.
Enraged at Mercer's deception, Heller sets off to the Green Zone to hunt down Mercer's henchmen, including an Evolved agent in Gentek named Sabrina Galloway; upon confronting Galloway, however, Heller reluctantly teams up with her when she reveals she can help him take down Mercer. With Galloway's help, Heller soon finds that Mercer plans to infect the entire world through "Whitelight", a contaminated vaccine released by Gentek that actually serves to accelerate infection and evolution rather than prevent it.
Frustrated with Heller sabotaging his plans, Mercer confronts him and the two engage in a fight. However, Mercer's strength proves superior and he easily overpowers Heller. As Mercer attempts to consume Heller, a strange chemical reaction occurs, resulting in Mercer discovering he is unable to kill him due to his 'annoyingly resistant DNA', solidifying Heller's status as a virus-human hybrid. Mercer promptly flees, and Heller receives a call from Father Guerra. Guerra informs him that a large horde of infected have amassed outside his apartment.
Heller arrives at Guerra's apartment, finding only his corpse. However, a grieving Heller uses Guerra's phone to reach Athena, Guerra's contact, who is revealed to be Dana Mercer. Dana explains that Heller's daughter, Maya, is still alive, prompting Heller to head for the Red Zone to take down Mercer and save Maya. After Heller prevents Blackwatch's second attempt to level Manhattan Island, Rooks takes Heller's daughter hostage in Gentek Headquarter and locks it with an unbreakable door, but Heller consumes an Alpha Juggernaut and temporarily obtains the ability to control other Juggernauts. Using this new ability, he breaks the door.
Heller confronts Rooks, who reveals that he has a daughter of his own, and grants Heller free passage to leave NYZ. Before Heller can take Maya, Galloway arrives and kidnaps her, having joined forces with Mercer once more. Upon confronting Mercer, he reveals that he plans to solve international conflicts and world problems by infecting the entire human race, effectively creating a superorganism, with Maya's unique DNA inherited from her father acting as the catalyst. After Mercer absorbs Galloway and the remaining Evolved, the two engage in a bloody duel, only for James to emerge victorious and to kill and consume Mercer, who says, "Welcome to the top of the food chain", before dying.
Subsequently, Heller wipes out the infected in NYZ along with most of the Blacklight Virus; then using Mercer's absorbed memories, Heller locates and frees Maya and Dana from a vault. The story then ends with the three overlooking New York before Dana questions what to do next.
Prior to the game's launch, Radical Entertainment announced Radnet for Prototype 2 users who would either pre-order the game or buy a new copy. Radnet offers the player weekly in game abilities, events, challenges and avatar items. Upon the launch of the game, first-run copies and pre-ordered copies of the game would include 55 pieces of additional add-on downloadable content (DLC) at no extra cost. Included in the pre-order/launch content was in-game events, additional and optional challenges, avatar items for the Xbox 360 and themes for the PlayStation 3 and behind the scenes videos. In order to make Radnet coherent to players, Activision announced that the events playable in Radnet would be outside of the game's main storyline.
The 55 pieces of DLC would be launched by Radical weekly from April 24 until June 7, with content available forever once unlocked. To earn the rewards given for an event or a challenge for a given week of DLC, players had to achieve at least a bronze medal in events and a minimal score threshold in challenges. To make Radnet more accessible, content will be available to all profiles on the console where Radnet was unlocked.
It was announced by Radical Entertainment that like the original Prototype, Prototype 2 would have a comic counterpart. The three part series takes place before the second video game, acting as a bridge between the two games.
Published by Dark Horse Comics, the first comic was called the Anchor. After eradicating the virus in Africa, Mexico and Russia, Alex travels around the world, wondering about if the virus has made him a human, humanity's killer or its savior. Alex slowly begins to decide that he is the earth's savior and will usher it into a new age of prosperity after he wipes out humanity. However, this changes when he falls for a woman. When the woman betrays him, he decides that he will wipe out humanity, and so he returns to New York City and makes it NYZ.
The second comic, dubbed the Survivors, focuses on a former police officer, Conrad, who joins up with Ami Levin, a religiously tolerant person and Marcie, an art student. The three run afoul of Lieutenant Riley; he would, however, agree to let Conrad see his wife, so long he agrees to work for Gentek. Unbeknownst to Conrad, his wife is dead, and he ended up in a project called Orion.
The third comic, entitled the Labyrinth introduced Heller and Mike Marcos.
Development of the game started soon after the success of the first game and was in development for three years. The game was first shown at the Spike 2010 VGA Awards in December. The game was revealed to be the main focus of the April 2011 EGM Issue. It was displayed in EGM and EGMI in 2011 revealing many new details about the game's plot, characters and gameplay. The game's graphics have been completely updated with buildings being much more detailed and deformation of vehicles, mutants and humans being much more visual. The game was also partially written by Dan Jolley.
To promote the game, Radical Entertainment launched a Facebook app for the game. The app is called Blacknet, named after the game's mission system, and it allows fans to work together to "hack" the interface. Hacking it will allow the fans to uncover a series of videos, interviews and other behind the scenes content, all in the run up to the game’s launch. Also via Facebook, Radical unveiled that they would announce something huge for Prototype 2 at ComicCon. This was the ability to let people play the game, they also released the first of three trailers detailing the story of Prototype 2. At ComicCon, Activision held a raffle in which the winner won either the jacket worn by James Heller, or Alex Mercer's jacket; and a custom skinned Xbox 360. At ComicCon, Activision employees were handing out Prototype 2 themed merchandise, including T-shirts, posters, giant foam Heller Blade Arms and more materials based on the game. Activision released for iOS an official game titled ProtoSlice, available free to download. Activision has released a couple of trailers, Radical Entertaintment's team also went to Paris to promote the game in February 2012, and had a video interview with JeuxVideo Live.
Commercials for the release of the game used the song "Hurt", as sung by Johnny Cash, in the background. The video depicts two live actors (one for Alex and one for James). James falls over the side of a building as if to commit suicide, while flashbacks of the war, his wife being found dead, seeing imprisoned civilians, and being infected by Mercer flash across his mind. Just as he hits the ground, he creates a shockwave killing multiple Blackwatch soldiers in the area, showing that he is infected and the suicide was just a misdirection to the viewer. He stands up, unharmed, and looks at Alex (who is standing a short distance away). Alex looks at James with a smile, who returns with an angry look. Alex displays his claws, and James displays his blade. James then rushes Alex while screaming loudly in rage. The words "The Power of Revenge" then flash on the screen. The video is around 1:27 seconds long.
Out of all Activision's titles displayed at Comic Con, Prototype 2 was the most well received. Greg Miller of IGN awarded Prototype 2 as Activision's best game at Comic Con and did not mention anything negative in his preview for the game.
Prototype 2 received "generally favorable reviews" on all platforms except the Xbox 360 version, which received "average" reviews, according to the review aggregation website Metacritic. PlanetXbox360 called the game a "wonderful sequel that surpasses the original". At the time of his departure from the show, Community creator Dan Harmon considered Prototype 2 a great game.
GameZone gave the PlayStation 3 version a score of nine out of ten and said it was "everything you could expect from a sequel, really. While there are certain elements that once again hunker back to the old days of Ultimate Destruction, Radical Entertainment has stepped up with a piece of sheer rollicking, do-whatever-you-want entertainment." Edge gave the same console version eight out of ten and said, "There's a dazzling seamlessness to every aspect of Prototype 2. You feel it as you traverse the world, sprinting powerfully up buildings, bounding high into the air just as you reach the lip of the roof and then transitioning with a tap of the right trigger into a glide that will take you to the next rooftop." 411Mania gave the game a score of eight out of ten and called it "a decent game. It's less frustrating than the first, with more options for customization, better abilities and more stuff to do. It's hampered though by a garbage storyline and a serious lack of Barry Pepper. It's worth a look if you liked the first game, or if you like super hero games at all." The Guardian gave the Xbox 360 version a similar score of four stars out of five and stated, "The very purity of purpose which makes the game such a fine arcade killbox also renders it unengaging on any level that isn't soggy and littered with stray organs. So while as a destruction simulator Prototype 2 scores very highly, there's a chance that, just like those toddlers in the dirt, you'll get bored after a short while and wander away." The Digital Fix gave the same console version a score of seven out of ten and said, "It's really not the AAA title it wants to be but that said it's also far from bargain bin fodder, landing somewhere just above the middle." The Escapist gave it a similar score of three-and-a-half stars out of five and called it "a decent action-adventure with fun combat, but gets a little too samey here and there." Digital Spy gave it three stars out of five and said that it "excels as an open-world killing field, in which you can wrench anyone asunder in gory cascades of blood and guts. Underneath, it's a pretty standard action game featuring mundane missions that offer no real challenge, wrapped in a story that lacks substance and originality. But those players who can turn off their brain and just enjoy the ride will find Prototype 2's flavor of blood-soaked action a rather guilty pleasure." Metro UK similarly gave it a score of six out of ten and said, "In small doses Prototype 2 is a perfectly enjoyable game but in the end, because Heller and Mercer don't care about anyone else you never end up caring about them."
Although Prototype 2 was the top seller for April 2012, beating Kinect Star Wars and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, its sales were considerably down from the sales of games released in April 2011. Prototype 2 would continue its strong sales into the month of May, garnering more sales than the highly anticipated Dragon's Dogma, but failing to beat Max Payne 3 and fellow Activision Blizzard game Diablo III.
On June 28, 2012, Activision announced that despite the "substantial investment", the game "did not find a broad commercial audience", and as a result, developer Radical would encounter layoffs and the studio would be reduced to a supporting role towards other Activision projects.
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