GamesCom 2011 – Prototype 2

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prototype-2 copy

The original Prototype game was a sandbox game of ridiculously violent ideas, as players rampaged throughout the city of New York, fighting their way through infected zones where a virus had mutated the population into horrible creatures with only violence on their minds. Despite several flaws, the game was still tons of fun, and a sequel for it was inevitable.

I sat down with Mclean Marshall to have a look at the demo for this upcoming game, to see what has been changed and refined from the original.

First off, we have a quick recap of the story from the previous event, which tells us that after Alex Mercer stopped the Military organization Black-Watch from detonating a nuclear bomb, he fled into the heart of the worst zone of the city, the red zone, which is home to the mutants. A yellow Zone is used to keep civilians who were evacuated under quarantine,and this area has quickly become a destitute shanty town in the middle of New York.

The final zone, Green, is the only safe area in New York. The video then introduces us to Sergeant James Heller, a soldier who went on a suicide mission to kill Mercer after he lost his family to the mutants. Instead of being killed however, Mercer personally infected him with the same unique virus, allowing Heller to have the same powers as him.

Now Black-Watch is uncertain about which side Heller is on, but they are determined to get their hands on him, and study what he has become. Marshall then starts the game for real, and it looks impressive. The visuals have been improved tremendously, and there is a whole lot more detail in the surroundings. Heller is in the yellow zone, and he needs to blend in, so we quickly kill a Black-Watch soldier and shift into his appearance, a mechanic from the original game that is still around.

“Identity-shifting is still here”, Marshall says, “But we want to make it a bit more tactical, such as using it as a weapon to grab other identities as well. Black-Watch is also a bunch of though guys who are using the yellow zone as a Petri dish, so as a solider walking around, you’ll notice how the crowd draws back from me, as they want nothing to do with me”.

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Marshall then shows me one noticeable improvement to the game, especially to people familiar with the original. He picks up a random civilian, and then puts him down. “In the first game, this became a huge issue, as if you did it accidently to the wrong person, you would have to kill them, and that would start an unnecessary combat sequence”.

Prototype-2-3

“But this is also becoming a useful tool, and we’re working on ways with which to use it as an intimidation factor, as well as earn some trophies and achievements. Also, you’ll notice that we added a hot-swop option for whichever your two favourite powers are. In the original you had to bring up a wheel that pause the game, select your power and carry on, but we felt that that was slowing the action down”.

Marshall shows me some more stealth elements, and then we use our newly acquired scientist disguise to hack into a mobile satellite uplink truck, which allows to scan for missions and DNA unlocking objectives. We find out that Black-Watch is rounding up some rather nasty brute mutants, and head off to stop them.

All the parkour and wall-scaling abilities have been brought over for the sequel, but Heller is a bigger man, and he moves more forcefully than Mercer did, and is more direct in his approach with little time for acrobatics. We slip into our scientist digsuise again and mingle with the Black-Watch soldiers, who are busy locing up the last of the brutes. We slip past and release one from a containment cell, only for it to go on an obvious rampage, which we have to stop.

Heller has all the powers we saw in Mercer so far, such as shifting in offensive mode where he sprouts massive claws from his arm. Heller takes the brute down easily enough, cutting off its arms and then finally smashing it with a quick change to the blunt force hammer fists, killing the creature. “Yeah, we’ve got dismemeberment in the game now, and its going to come in quite useful as the game goes on”, Marshall tells me.

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With the brute taken down, we’ve got to deal with some of those pesky Black-Watch soldiers. Heller hops onto the nearest tank, tears its turret off and bashes in the rest of the vehicle before throwing its remains at the rest of the soldiers, leaving just the choppers to deal with. He quickly scales a nearby building and jumps onto the nearest chopper, steals the rocket launcher off of it, and uses that to fire on one of the other choppers.

From there he jumps onto another chopper, hangs onto its belly and charges a powerful uppercut with which to send it hurtling into the side of a skyscraper. “The ninja-kick players used in the original to get rid of choppers, that was cool and all, but it was wildly impractical, which is why we’ve come up with the uppercut solution. We’re still tweaking it, but its a cool alternative”.

I asked Marshall about the notorious difficulty of the first game, something that many fans complained about. “Yeah, sometimes the action got too much. What we’ve done, is allow players to control the pace of the action as it unfolds. Oftentimes, you’d kill a soldier and the action would go up to eleven, We’re still working on that issue, but it will be more dynamic this time around.

With the military down, we still need to find a commanding officer and absorb his DNAA, so that we can access key memories. Instead of looking for a little icon over his head while he mingles in a crowd of thousands, Marshall shows us the new pulse ability. “Much like sonar on a submarine”, he says. We send out a rhythmic pulse that highlights key elements in the environment, and within seconds, we’ve found our man and hunted him down.

And there ends our short look at Prototype 2, and the sequel looks like it will be even more over the top than the original, while addressing several glaring faults at the same time.

Last Updated: August 22, 2011

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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