June 8, 2011 by Paul Curtin
With Infamous 2 released in stores today, it’s fitting that Activision and Radical Entertainment would begin showing off Prototype 2 exclusively behind closed doors at E3. The two games duked it out back in 2009 due to how similar they both played and how close their release dates were to each other. Now with Sucker Punch raising the bar from their previous game, Radical has taken the extra development time to make sure that they too take their game to the next level. Although we were unable to get our hands on Prototype 2 with the game still being in its pre-alpha stages, we were able to check out a demo presentation with P2‘s producer, Jonathan Lim.
Jonathan started out by explaining that the core gameplay mechanics would be the same as the original and that Radical is focused on improving upon certain aspects like the story, combat, and visuals. There will be certain tweaks to the combat system to make it easier for players to react during hectic large-scale battles like the addition of an evade button, but for the most part, the game looks to play almost exactly like the first. Which is a good thing, because the high-octane gameplay that allows players to pick up and throw tanks, run up the sides of buildings, and use citizens as skateboards, are features that Prototype does better than any other open-world game.
The first thing you’ll notice different from the original is the new main character that you’ll play as. No longer will players take the lead of Alex Mercer, and instead will now control Joseph Heller, a man who loses his wife and daughter as a result of the outbreak caused by Mercer, and as Jonathan explained it, is now “forced to become the one thing he hates to save the city that he loved and avenge the family he lost.” Unlike Mercer, Heller will not be influenced by others around him, and instead will be a stronger and more bad-ass character that players will be able to relate to more.
The game is once again set in New York City that’s now called New York Zero (because of the outbreak) with the map being split into three different areas that are classified based on the levels of outbreak: Red (full-scale outbreak), Yellow (quarantined with citizens still present), and Green (a clean zone that is under control by Blackwatch). The demo we were shown took place in the Green Zone of New York Zero where Blackwatch was investigating a new form of outbreak. After a cutscene where the evil Blackwatch mowed down concerned citizens watching nearby, the fun began with a showcase of new moves in Heller’s arsenal. Radical started the action by disguising Heller as a member of the Blackwatch forces in order to get close enough to show off one of Heller’s new moves, the Biobomb, which allows Heller to turn anyone into a walking time bomb that unleashes all sorts of chaos and destruction by killing everything in sight when they explode. But the Biobomb wasn’t as impressive as Heller’s next new move… After unleashing all hell on the Blackwatch units, Heller proceeded to vault on top of a tank, rip the massive gun off the tank, and then use it as his own mobile weapon to run around with and use to take out other tanks.
While chaotic battles in the street are nothing new to the Prototype series, there are many new areas to fight in like underground lairs that are being referred to as “underground treasure chests” where players can explore and find all sorts of secrets. As Heller explores more he will find more secrets to go towards leveling up and will result in unlocking new abilities and perks that players can invest in based on their own personal playstyle. The most interesting part of the lairs were the enemies: you’ll start off facing mobs of weaker foes, and as you progress you will have bigger and stronger monsters jump in on the fight. Radical ended the presentation with a “big” teaser in the form of one of the boss battles you’ll encounter on the streets. While we didn’t see much of the boss battle, it featured a Godzilla-sized monster, nicknamed Tiny, plowing through the fully-populated streets, taking cars and people with it, as the mammoth beast chased after Heller.
With the beautiful updated graphics (that are still only in the pre-alpha stage), the updates to combat mechanics, and a stronger story, Prototype 2 looks to be everything that made the original so much fun and more. Set for release in 2012, Radical still has plenty of time to make the game even better and is looking like a strong contender in the second round of Infamous vs. Prototype.