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Prototype 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Release Date: April 24, 2012


PS3/X360/Preview - 'Prototype 2'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 6, 2011 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

In the original Prototype, you played as Alex Mercer, but the tables are turned in the sequel as you control Sergeant James Heller. Your sole mission: finish off the protagonist of the first title by becoming a a mutated monster.

Prototype 2 is set 14 months after the events of the first game, and New York has been quarantined after the infection of the Blacklight virus. The city has been renamed New York Zero and is divided into three zones. The Red Zone consists of the areas where the Blacklight-infected monsters control the city. It is filled with zombies and rampaging monsters and is held only by the forces of the mysterious organization known as Blackwatch. The Yellow Zone is the quarantined area around the Red Zone, and it's where the forces of Blackwatch and Blacklight wage near-constant battle. The Green Zone is the relatively uninfected area, but that doesn't mean it is safe. Blackwatch rules the Green Zone with an iron fist, so anyone who objects to their rule is brutally executed.

However, Prototype 2 isn't a straight continuation of the original game. The virus clone ZEUS has gone missing, although he is still in the city. Players are put in control of James Heller, a New York soldier. Unfortunately, the events of the first game led to the death of his family, and Heller blames Alex Mercer, who was the first being that ZEUS copied. Now he seeks to find and destroy ZEUS. He has somehow gained the same powers as ZEUS and has ventured into New York Zero to find his enemy. In order to destroy a monster, Heller must become a monster. Unlike ZEUS, however, Heller seems to have no illusions about what he will become. He is his own master and won't be serving any whiny sisters or cowardly doctors.

On the surface, Prototype 2 looks a lot like the original, but in our brief demo, we saw a hint of some of James Heller's new abilities. The demo opened up with Heller in the Green Zone, which is being terrorized by one of the mutant monsters from the Red Zone. Even though Blackwatch killed the mutant, the paramilitary organization isn't letting anyone get close. A group of curious gawkers is summarily executed when people try to see what the soldiers are hiding. Using his ability to mimic others, Heller can get close by turning into a Blackwatch soldier. This lets him show off one of his new abilities. By sneaking up to a soldier, Heller can plant a "biobomb" inside of them. A few moments afterward, the bomb explodes, sending deadly tendrils of razor-sharp biomatter in every direction. It slaughters every nearby soldier and allows Heller to devour one of the badly injured ones to find more information about the creature.

After this, we got a glimpse at the upgrade system in Prototype 2. Scattered throughout the city are Blackwatch trucks with a connection to the Blacknet. By hijacking one of these trucks, Heller can find information that leads to new missions. In addition, hijacking these trucks will give him perks, such as new mutations, which upgrade some of his basic abilities. For example, the truck that Heller hijacked in the demo gave him the Bird of Prey ability. This allows him to do a second air-dash in the air. Another, called Adrenaline Surge, allows him to jump higher. These mutations appear to be based mostly around Heller's less combat-oriented abilities, allowing him to move faster and take more damage.

That's not the only way for Heller to upgrade his abilities, though. Scattered throughout the city are Lairs, which are locations where the infected Blacklight hide. By finding a lair, Heller can go inside and slaughter everything inside. Lairs give you missions to defeat certain enemies and devour them. Once you do, Heller's basic attacks, such as the Blade, will upgrade. This gives them new attacks and greater attack power.  In addition to the classic Prototype powers, Heller will also have access to some new abilities. One of these is the Tendril power, which allows Heller to use deadly spiked tendrils to spear enemies and hold them in place. It's similar to, but different from, the Whipfist from the previous game. The big difference is that the Tendrils can be detached, allowing you to pin down enemies and leave them vulnerable to your other attacks.

The Weaponization ability was missing from the original Prototype but was available in Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. In Hulk you could turn various objects into weapons for The Hulk. Some of those were obvious, such as pulling guns off vehicles to use as your own, and others were more esoteric, such as turning a bus into a makeshift skateboard. Prototype 2 is bringing back this ability, although the limits are still up to question. In our demo, we saw Heller pull a missile launcher off an APC and weaponize it, allowing him to use it without needing to pilot the machine to use it. This allows him to be far more destructive in his regular form, as opposed to ZEUS' habit of stealing vehicles.

You'll need to be more powerful because Prototype 2 is throwing a whole hoard of enemies, both new and old, at you. In addition to the familiar enemies, like the infected Blacklight hoards and the deadly Hunters, you'll also come up across new and deadlier mutations. One of these, for example, is the Juggernaut, which is a huge, ugly mass of infected flesh that can deal a ton of damage and is extremely hard to kill. The Juggernaut isn't even the strongest, or largest, enemy out there. The demo ends with the reveal of the Behemoth. It's a huge beast that's two to three stories tall, and you fight it on the streets of New York Zero. It's not unlike a Tank from Left 4 Dead, but larger and nastier than a Tank could ever be. Sadly, we didn't get to see Heller take it on, but considering its size and shape, it is sure to be one epic fight.  

Prototype 2 doesn't look to be veering too far away from the original game. It certainly looks a bit better and contains plenty of new abilities, but the basic Prototype gameplay is still there, if refined and smoothed out. The combat seems smoother and with a wider variety of options, and the city seems more diverse. We only got a brief glimpse at Prototype 2, but that was enough to show that fans of the original Prototype have lot to look forward to.  

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