By GolazoDan 1 Comments
I was not a great fan of the first Prototype. Not at all. It took the formula from Radical Entertainment's The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction game, that of running around a city and smashing all sorts of shit up, but replaced Hulk with Alex Mercer. Alex Mercer is no Incredible Hulk. One of the reasons I disliked Prototype was Alex Mercer. He was a pretty bad character, both in terms of quality and motivations. Rationalise this how you will, "He's not the real Alex Mercer, he's infected", whatever. The point is that I, the player, had to spend all my time with this character who was quite frankly a bit of a knobhead. Not even one of those cool anti-heroes the kids rave about nowadays, yer Stone Cold Steve Austins and New World Orders and the like (that stuff's still popular, surely - if not, why not). Alex Mercer was just a bad man.
Fast forward to Prototype 2. Someone at Radical perhaps realised Mercer was extremely unlikeable, so he's the villain this time around. Now you're playing as James Heller, a soldierman who's angry or something, there's an emotional backstory but they never really show much conviction to that so neither should we. That in and of itself is weird considering that backstory consists of his family dying, something perhaps not on his mind when seeing a giant tentacle kill a load of humans, which he deems the hypest shit and declares "I GOTTA GET ME ONE OF THOSE". Everything is an annoyance and everything is sworn at. He's as much of an awful stereotype as every character in that game, except he has sweet ass Hulk hands and Batman's Detective Mode.
This is my quandary. Alex Mercer is technically a better character. He has a more mysterious background, there's a lot of moral ambiguity in some ways, there's perhaps something that could be explored in a better way. With James Heller there's none of that. There's no mystery. Any potentially mysterious aspects are soon revealed and promptly sworn over by Jimbo. He's a shit character but I think I prefer him. I'm not sure why but I do know that I'm enjoying Prototype 2 more than the first despite them pretty much being the same game and one thing has changed.
Heller cannot even be classified as "so bad he's good". I think I just see a lot of missed potential in Mercer, whereas with Heller they didn't really have a go at creating the illusion of quality. Mercer was an appalling human being, I don't imagine a human being like James Heller would or could ever exist. And if one did I would like to see a documentary where Louis Theroux meets him.