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E3 2011: Prototype 2 First Impressions

Robert, Kyle and Jenner give their impressions of their exclusive preview of Prototype 2
Los Angeles, CA, USA

Robert, Jenner and Kyle got a tour of Prototype 2 at E3 2011, so we thought we'd share our thoughts.

Prototype 2

Prototype 2 takes place 14 month after the original title. New main character Sgt. James Heller returns to a virus ravaged New York City to find his daughter and wife have been killed by the first game's protagonist, Alex Mercer. Heller, after gaining the same abilities as Mercer, sets out to claim his revenge. Heller is a different character from Mercer, as he chooses to embrace his powers.

New York, after being destroyed by the virus, has taken on the name: New York Zero. NYZ has been divided into three zones: the Red Zone, formally Manhattan, is now heavily infected with little to no chance of survival; the Yellow Zone, formally the business district, is now a refugee camp filled with survivors of the virus; finally, the Green Zone is a heavily military controlled zone in which excessive force and gunning down civilians takes presence over any sort of judicial system.

The video and staff-played demo begins in the Green Zone. A squad of militia is seen encircling an area which contains a large, deceased mutated beast. A crowd appears at the edge of the containment area and starts yelling at the militia, demanding details. With very little patience, the militia opens fire on the crowd to disperse them.

At this point, Heller jumps into the fray and plants a new feature called a biobomb on one of the militia members. The man starts shaking and is consumed by a biological organism, which eventually explodes and takes out all members of the militia, allowing Heller to grab what he needed from the scene.

Heller departs to hunt down a target, which is another new feature. Heller can ping his target in much the same manner as sonar. He will see a reply visual, so he can start to zero in on it for the kill later. As with its predecessor, you can absorb memories in Prototype 2. You can also unlock the operation your target was participating in, giving you the opportunity to shut their operation down.

Another new feature unveiled is the addition of lairs. In a lair, Heller will find all sorts of mutated creatures, including several boss-sized creatures that, upon their defeat, will allow him to absorb a new upgrade of some kind, be it a weapon enhancement or some new ability. These lairs are akin to dungeons.

Some other new attacks shown in the video include Heller using a tank's gun as a hand-held weapon. The game is being modified to give the player more control of the action and battles, allowing you to take things on your own terms. The video concluded with a teaser showing a monster called Tiny. As you can imagine, Tiny is ironically named, being about the size of a four-story building.

Prototype 2 will come out in 2012 for PC, PS3, and Xbox 360.


What new feature did you like the best?

Kyle: I liked that they retained the fluidity and ease of movement and combat of the original. The quick transitions from combat, to parkour based movement, to consuming people to blend in were what made the game so much fun and from what I saw here, all of the movement and combat appears to be intact along with a few new ones to boot.

Robert: The lairs. Sometimes it's fun to drop cavorting about a big city and to delve into a situation that resembles Fight Club. The lairs allow the player to engage in relatively story-free combat, allowing for some moments of pure, unadulterated brutal action for almost nothing other than the enjoyment of the battles. Oh yeah, there's also the upgrades you can get, which is obviously a game-related incentive to partake in the lairs.

JennerThe addition of the perks system, that is, if it’s different or separate from upgrades.  Perks are usually dramatic and permanent bonuses but also give disadvantages, making the player have to make decisions.  It would also make good for multiple playthroughs.  Also, a move that I saw Heller do, which was jumping up in the air, throwing his tendrils at a monsters, and then what looked like was sucking the life out of them.  Both brutal and useful.  (Lifedrain?)  The quick-time-events in non-scripted fights (regular enemies) seem to be a nice touch, I just hope it doesn’t get carried away with them.


What are you hoping to see?

Kyle: This is a different character from Alex Mercer. For someone who is supposedly supposed to embrace his new move set, Heller's combat arsenal seems to be very similar to Mercer's with the exception of a few new moves. If he's supposed to be that more willing to use his powers, he needs to have nearly unparallelled powers to use at a moment's notice. It might make the game unbalanced, but normal enemies never posed much of a threat in the first title either, the bosses did.

Robert: I'm hoping that the customization options and player-centric changes are implemented well and very broadly. Activision is keen on allowing the player to customize Heller to their playing style, so I hope that system is put into place well enough so that players can actually do that properly. It'd be nice to see a very wide area of possible character customizations, rather that a few limited options.

JennerWinnable fights to remain in this sequel.  I was very happy to see in the last game that you could cause trouble, cause an alert, and actually not have to run away from the military that was after you.   (Most games put you at near impeccable odds that never end unless you run away and hide.)  When the fight subsided, it felt so cool to then just slowly walk down the street with everyone running away from you, feeling all bad-ass.  Then again, it does give a feeling of adrenaline to have to run away, so maybe there can be a perk to not slaughtering everything in your path.  If had a choice of the two though, I’d go for slaughter, it seems to fit the theme as the developers call it, a “stress reliever.”  In addition, I’m hoping to see a much more thorough story and ending.  The last game’s ending left gamers with a “huh?” ending, leaving them to run amok the city in turmoil to find more memories to get an answer, if there was one.


Overall thoughts?

Kyle: It seemed a lot like the first one with only a few new moves. Even though the city was supposed to be in a state of ruin and panic, it looked completely similar to the original's. It's already apparent that they choose to stick very close to the original title's gameplay. If they can fix what didn't work (the story) Prototype 2 might be an open world action title to look forward to.

Robert: It seems like a promising start. It doesn't appear that Activision have tinkered too much with what made the first game good, so the added depth, options, lairs and other new features will hopefully make Prototype 2 a more expansive game with more to do and to give the player a feel that they have some level of control over the character.

JennerI agree with the others that it is a good thing that they are not deviating too much from the original.  The first was already a great game.  Just no more X+B button combos please, that was awkward.


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