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CES 2009: Activision/THX Prototype Demo

Posted by: Dan at 1/18/2009 2:35 PM
While CES is predominately a showcase for the latest and greatest in electronics, there are plenty of game publishers and hardware providers on site as well as a ton of playable games and game demos. Sometimes, these games are not at the most obvious location, which was the case when Sean and I went to our THX appointment only to find ourselves getting a hands-on demo of Prototype from Radical Entertainment President Kelly Zmack and his team. The paring is due to the work that THX has been doing with the Neural-THX Surround Technology that expands basic 5.1 into 7.1 surround and Prototype being one of the first games to utilize the technology in its development.

As for a little background on the game, it starts with the main character Alex Mercer waking up on a slab in the morgue and realizing he now has all kinds of shape shifting powers that he did not have previously. Apparently, he is one pissed off dude, as he starts trying to track down who is responsible for making the changes to him. He accomplishes this by roaming the streets of New York tracking down people that have small bits and pieces of the information he needs. The game features various challenges that have three levels of completion (think PGR races) that award points that can be used in the upgrade store to unlock more powers for Alex to use as he hunts down the answers he needs. Your playing style will dictate how you upgrade Alex, yet some upgrades will be necessary in order to move past certain levels of the game. The end game is to figure out what happened to Alex and how he evolved into what he has become.

To describe the game would be hard pin down, as it contains so many aspects from some of the greatest games and movies of the last dozen years to help formulate the lead character and the plot. However, the one word that Kelly will bring up in the audio, and we saw constantly during the demo is the word “Intense.” The demo showed us how quickly the AI and Alex can take the game from calm and peaceful into the gates of hell breaking open. The military, the infected population and the brawlers all play a big part in the on screen action and can make the intensity rise quickly, or Alex can escape and assume a military or citizen identity and the intensity drops just as quickly. With all of his powers turned on and him being indestructible for the demo, it is clear that Alex in one seriously bad-ass dude, and it will be a fun challenge to learn how to master all of his skills.

I absolutely love free-world and sandbox style games, so as you listen to the audio you will hear Sean and I with some very robust feedback in reaction to what we are seeing on the screen. The main thing I can say after getting the hands on is that this game will be a must have purchase, and probably a pre-order for me as soon at it is available.

Sean and I actually were able to get a demo of Prototype on two different occasions (we also had a shared Activision appointment the next day to see the game), unfortunately we were unable to take an images or record video of the piece. However, we were able to record the audio of Kelly as he walked us through the demo and then answered some questions at the end. Take a listen to the audio from the private meeting that Sean and I had with Kelly and his team: