If you skipped the original Prototype, you won't have an issue jumping into the sequel. About 14 months after the events of the first game, New York City is once again in the grips of a viral outbreak -- supposedly at the hands of Alex Mercer, the antihero of the original title. Heller blames Mercer for the death of his family, and through a 14 or so-hour game (if you do all the side quests), it's our job to rain vengeance.

The story doesn't get much deeper than that. You'll partner up with shady characters throughout the journey, and they'll feed you missions that usually end with Heller beating the hell out of a bunch of soldiers or mutants. The setup is repetitive, but the action is entertaining.

Prototype 2 gives you five weapons to morph Heller's hands into, and you assign two of them to the face buttons. See, Heller's powers -- given to him in a WTF moment by Mercer -- allow him to create these tools of destruction, leap tall buildings in a single bound, and ingest people so he can steal their memories and shapeshift into their forms. He's also packing the ability to turn people into bio-bombs. So, know that.

It's a delicious recipe. Leaping into the air, targeting a foe and swooping in for a claw attack that beheads the bad guy is fun. Sneaking around a base disguised as a solider and absorbing unaware enemies is cool. Prototype 2 excels at making you feel like a badass. Completing tasks levels you up so you can move faster, fly farther and become invulnerable to gunfire. Absorbing specially marked characters upgrades your abilities so you can pounce on victims from farther away and increase the range of your Whipfist.

With each mission, you feel Heller getting stronger and stronger. Brutes that used to be the bane of your existence eventually become your pets and the first helicopter you KO with an uppercut will leave you feeling like the apex predator of New York City.

On top of that, developer Radical Entertainment nails what work works in open world games -- collectables. New York City is broken into three zones, and each section has a slew of side tasks to knock out. There are infected lairs to clear, teams to kill and blackboxes to find. Although you'll need to find these locales, the general areas are marked on your map. This is awesome and led to me spending an hour knocking out side missions as soon as I stepped foot on each island.

System Requirements

OS: Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.6GHz, AMD Phenom X3 8750

Memory: 2 GB RAM

Hard Disk Space: 10 GB available space

Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT with 512 MB RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512 MB RAM

DirectX®: 9.0c

Sound: DirectX 9.0 Compatible Sound Card

Supported Input Devices: Keyboard, Mouse, Xbox 360® Controller

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