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E3 2011: Prototype 2 (Impressions)

by: John -
More On: E3 2011 Prototype 2
Game: Prototype 2
Developer: Radical Entertainment
Release Date: 2012
What's polished: The super hero stylings of James Heller, the carnage that you can create
What needs polished: Some details on the characters, some hit detection

Alex Mercer is going down and Sgt. James Heller is going to make it so. That's the premise of Prototype 2. A sequel to a 2 million unit seller, Prototype 2 has you playing a new protagonist on the hunt for Mercer who he blames for the death of his wife and child as well as turning him into a mutated superhuman.

As with the previous game, there are going to be some decisions you make and there'll most likely be collateral damage. The game takes place in NYZ and three zones of what's left of New York. The green zone is the military controlled zone. It looks the nicest of the three, but it comes with a price. The yellow zone is home to secret testing labs and is also used for quarantine or triaging. It's a densely populated area, similar to the districts in District 9. Finally, the red zone, which is Manhattan, is the infected zone and the base of Alex Mercer.

James has many powers that are similar to Alex. He can glide, jump great distances, and use various mutating powers that Alex exhibited. Some new ones were shown in the demo that gave you an idea of how much more fun the game's going to be. As with Alex, you can disguise and absorb memories of others. The demo showed James disguising himself as a Blackwater guard trying to get close to some scientist in order to gather some information from his memories. To create a distraction for James to get close to the scientist, James touches one of the guards and creates a biobomb. The guard proceeds to convulse and have tentacles shoot out in all directions latching onto other guards around him. The tentacles proceed to pull them all in and then explode everyone attached. It was a pretty impressive sight and the level of blood and gore was intense.

Another cool power shown was the ability to use the tentacles to wrap various parts of the enemy and then to structures around it in order to use tension and pull the victim apart. It sort of reminded of the chains in Hellraiser where the chains latch onto the poor soul and proceeds to tear him apart. The carnage that develops from pulling the person into various detached body parts is a pretty gruesome and awesome sight.

Finally, James is able to take heavy weapons from vehicle and use them against the enemy. The demo had James rip off a rocket launcher from a tank and proceed to rain down locked on missiles onto people and other vehicles. The usage of weapons is another way for James to unleash havoc and destruction in the world.

James can grab new missions and tasks from Blacknet, an encrypted network that's designated in the world by communication trucks. When accessing this network, you can acquire new targets to take out. With each case that's closed, James can acquire new mutations from the successful completion of these missions.

Prototype 2 also features a perks system where by you can fill multiple slots with various perks. You can use this feature to customize a James Heller to fit your playing style by mixing and matching perks. This way, you can have a protagonist that's possibly different from your friends.

Radical Entertainment has taken an interesting approach with the sequel by making you hunt down the protagonist of the previous game. It's certainly a story mechanic that's an eye opener and one that might have the ability to pull in both old and new fans. I'm interested to see how it plays out and if the gamble of hunting down your "creation" pays off. Look for Prototype 2 sometime next year.