Prototype 2 Preview
Last month I was fortunate enough to be invited to play some Prototype 2 and now I can finally tell you guys all about it! It’s been a few years since we last saw Alex Mercer, the protagonist from the first game, and since then a lot has happened to him, to the city and to the people. While the first game received good reviews there were a few aspects, such as awkward controls, that fans wanted to see improved if a sequel was heading our way. The great news is Radical Entertainment has listened and from what I saw, Prototype 2 is looking fantastic!
The biggest change in Prototype 2 is the change of the main character from the scientist, Alex Mercer, to the solider, James Heller. Taking place just over a year after the events of the first game, Heller has lost his wife and daughter to the citizens who have been infected with the Mercer Virus and seeks to avenge their deaths. On a routine mission to Manhattan, Heller’s transport vehicle is attacked and his team killed. After chasing down Mercer and fighting his way through various infected Heller himself becomes infected and gains the same powers as Alex and is informed of the government’s plan to infect humans. This causes Heller to change his plans and take action against Blackwatch and Gentech on behalf of the people.
You’ll be happy to know that all the mutating weapons from the first game make a return as well as a new addition: the tendrils. The tendrils breathe new life into the combat system by allowing Heller to extend his reach and kill enemies at greater distances and also create webs that can trap enemies and cause havoc throughout the city. Heller also has the power to have two different weapons equipped at the same time to give more variety on the battlefield and allow you to create better strategies against your foes. With a hammer in one hand and a blade in the other Heller can not only cause devastating smashes but can also perform faster swipes, which allow him to control the battle regardless of which enemies he’s up against. The controls have also been greatly improved from the first game and make the combat more enjoyable now that it’s a lot less awkward.
Aside from the regular combos that you can perform, Heller has the ability to turn enemies into living bombs, which upon exploding will take out a large number of infected and also cause webs to spawn and trap enemies. Battles against tougher enemies will sometimes feature cinematic finishes that add even more to the already hectic battles, but in a good way. It’s also a refreshing break from the sometimes constant combos you will be dishing out.
Heller is also able to get in the different vehicles controlled by Blackwatch and Gentech but these are only as strong as they are when controlled by the bad guys and it is much more enjoyable to just jump off a building, rip the propeller from one helicopter and pierce another than to fire missiles from the seat of one. Well, in my opinion anyway!
Straight up combat isn’t the only way of dealing with the infected and members of Blackwatch though. With the power to consume people and then shapeshift into them, Heller can tactically take out enemies in all manner of ways. Shapeshifting into a soldier could gain you access to military compounds or becoming an everyday citizen could allow you to safely walk around the streets without being attacked. This is needed in some situations as the AI has been vastly improved and now work together to take you out by coordinating plans and flanking you from all sides – including the air. A good place to see the AI’s ability to coordinate attacks on you is in the different lairs spread throughout the city, which are challenges not associated with the main story. These lairs are crawling with powerful infected and if you manage to complete them successfully it will result in rewards that cannot be found anywhere else in the game.
Graphically, the game looks fantastic and it is a huge upgrade from the original game due to a new engine being developed for it. When the game releases Radical Entertainment have even gone the extra mile and introduced a Radnet Edition which will feature special downloadable content for day one purchasers in the form of events, such as chopper races or killings enemies in a specific time, and rewards such as skins and other mutations, plus leaderboard challenges for bragging rights. This will be released over a seven-week period and will also include other content at milestones, such as avatar items on the Xbox 360 and Dynamic Themes for the PlayStation 3.
Prototype 2 is due for release April 24th in the United States and April 27th in Europe on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.