Prototype 2 Preview

When the heads of Radical Entertainment were trying to figure out a way to best summarize the first Prototype game, they used a Penny Arcade comic that mentioned how you could karate kick a helicopter.  Climbing the Empire State Building, jumping from the top, and elbow dropping on a tank is a great way to put a smile on your face after you’ve had a really rough day.

While the over-the-top action resonated with some gamers, it turned off others, making the first Prototype a polarizing title.  When Radical decided to make a sequel, they knew they could take two courses of action.  They could either try to broaden the appeal of the game to capture a larger audience, or they could speed up production and give the fans more of what they want.  They went with option two, amplifying the power and destruction of the first game.

Instead of continuing the story of Alex Mercer from the first game, you’ll instead be put into the shoes of Sgt. James Hiller.  The change in character signifies a major shift in how the two games play.  Alex Mercer struggled with the powers, almost rejecting them.  He listened to his ex-girlfriend and his sister for guidance along the way.  Sgt. James Miller lost his wife and child to the original outbreak, and he blames Alex Mercer for what happened.  Hiller will stop at nothing to get his revenge, even becoming the thing he most hates.

New York City no longer exists as we know it.  It is now just known by NYZ.  Manhattan is the Red Zone, which has been completely infected.  The Yellow Zone is heavily radiated.  It stinks of the stench of death from all of the body parts falling off of the bodies.  The Green Zone is the only inhabitable area of NYZ left.  It’s not like you’d want to go and take a vacation there.  It is ruled under martial law by Black Watch.

Missions will come from consuming scientists, but there is another way you’ll get missions.  Black Net is a system that you can hack into to get new side missions.  The more targets you consume, the more you’ll be able to hack into Black Net, the more missions and the more rewards you will get.

You’ll need new abilities as you are on the hunt throughout NYZ, and Radical is ready to give them to you.  The first we were introduces was the Biobomb ability.  If you use this ability close enough to someone, they start to shake until they become a human explosion.  It’s the perfect way to create a distraction as long as you are stealthy about it.

Having a good sense of direction is important, but you also need to know where your enemies are.  You’ll get a new hunting mechanic that acts like sonar.  While this is great for finding your objectives, you want some new powers.  A new tendril attack is available for you which will let you attack from long range.  Your tendrils also have a new weaponization ability.  You can take weapons and integrate them into your tendrils to use them.  Let’s say there’s a tank that’s bugging you.  You can disable it, pull the cannon from it, attach your tendrils to it, and then use the cannon to blow up the tank.  There’s nothing like getting a little sweet revenge.

Throughout the areas are lairs.  In these lairs you go underground and find essentially a prototype treasure chest.  Tons of enemies are there to get destroyed, and plenty of rewards to reap from destroying those enemies.  The blade arm upgrade was in full effect here, and the dismemberment of those enemies could be seen all over the screen.

The Prototype team couldn’t let us go without giving us a little surprise…except that surprise was a new three-story tall enemy called the Behemoth.  While Hiller tried to run away, the Behemoth was able to easily catch up with him while causing a path of destruction with cars hurled into buildings and power lines being taken down.  He’s a big, mean, scary looking creature.

When it was all said and done, I wish I could have seen more of the game, and I was really disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to experience Hiller’s force of destruction until sometime in 2012.  Radical looks like they have a huge hit on their hands with Prototype 2.  If you liked the first one, you love this one.  If some aspects of the first game bugged you, the improvements that have been made just might win you over.  Look for it to be released on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC next year.

For more information, watch the new trailer for the game.


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