Prototype 2 preview

Prototype 2 gives players godlike powers and a city to save with them

What is a hands on review?
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Prototype 2
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Prototype 2
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Prototype 2
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Prototype 2
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Prototype 2
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Prototype 2
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Prototype 2

Prototype 2 is a true sandbox game; the player is plonked down in wide open world filled with targets and obstacles, handed increasingly god-like power and is then allowed to completely cut loose. Being bad hardly ever gets this good.

Prototype 2: Plot

The first Prototype game put players in the shoes of Alex Mercer, a gravelly-voiced sociopath, who woke up one day in the morgue to find he’d lost his memory of the past few months. He also found out he had been infected by something called the Blacklight Virus, which gave him some impressive new superpowers.

With these awesome powers, the world of Prototype was a high-octane playground for players. As the game unfolded they inevitably used Alex to lay waste to most of New York, obliterating a large number of monsters and military personnel as well as countless civilians.

Prototype 2: Characters

For Prototype 2, Radical Entertainment have pulled off a neat twist by having players control someone whose life was ruined by Alex’s (and by extension, the player’s) actions in the first game. James Heller is a soldier whose family was wiped out by Alex, and who volunteers to go into the infested and broken city Alex left in his wake, to hunt him down.

Their first encounter doesn’t go very well; Alex beats Heller to within an inch of his life and then infects him with the Blacklight virus.

This makes Heller a fugitive as his military commanders want to gut him open and harness the power of the virus for the rest of their men. Heller heads into the city in search of answers from Mercer, avoiding the military and helping civilians who face desolation on the streets.

The city itself is now divided into three areas. Green Zone is military controlled and safe for everyone (except Heller). Yellow Zone is a quarantine zone where military presence is less, but the overall population is bigger. Red Zone is where the mutants have taken up residence, and anyone or anything who ventures in there is potentially their lunch.

Prototype 2: Gameplay

Like its predecessor, Prototype 2 starts off by giving the player a couple of interesting powers – wall walking and super strength – and then builds from there.

However, for its second instalment, Radical is allowing players a choice in how they upgrade the protagonist. Heller unlocks new abilities not just through XP, but by taking on infested areas of the map and clearing them. This allows the players to unlock new gameplay moves and abilities for Heller.

As players unlock new abilities, Heller become more and more of a force to be reckoned with. Like Mercer, Heller can kill NPCs and assume their shape and he can also turn his arms into stabbing weapons.

However, Heller also has new powers, such as the ability to split his whip attack into three tendrils and hit multiple targets, or create webs, which capture enemies. He even has a sonar power that allows him to hunt down persons of interest in the city and set off on side-missions.

Prototype 2: Verdict

Prototype 2 looks set to be one of the most action packed games of this year. In a brief first look that T3 were shown, the developers demonstrated what the player had in store after they’d opened up Heller’s full range of powers.

Words can’t really do justice to the volume of action in the scene we witnessed, in which Heller took on multiple opponents including giant monsters, armoured tanks and attack helicopters. The screen was awash with explosions, gunfire, flying limbs and smashed ordinance. ‘Insane’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Radical is promising new villains, a better story and more fantastic powers for players. By all accounts it sounds like Prototype 2 will be a powertrip worth taking.

Prototype 2 availability: 24 April 2012

Prototype 2 price: TBC

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.