Prototype Impressions

I had been curious about Prototype since I heard the title. For some reason on my various jaunts to game events I had never gotten a chance to see it demoed. So I seized the opportunity to check it out at Sierra's Spring Event.

Prototype takes place in an open world recreation of New York City and you take o the role of Alex Mercer who has awakened with super powers and little memory. New York has been infested by zombie like creatures called the Infected and even the surrounding buildings have been sucked into to their evil. Hives of infected dot the city and more an more appear all the time. Using your super human abilities, you must disover the conspiracy involved that made this happen and attempt to save the city. But just because you are attempting to help out doesn't make you a hero. Alex Mercer is a decided anti-hero, out for himself and whatever he can get. And you don't have just the Infected to worry about either, there is the Army as well who is not only out to stop the infected, but for some unknown reason, out to get you too. Also be on the lookout for the mysterious Black Watch who have a hand in this somewhere as well.

The real draw in this game, at least for me, was the super powers and there were a lot of them. All sorts of special moves and knowledge can be gained from devouring the people around you. One of these powers comes to great effect when trying to escape from the Army who is chasing you down. If you can manage to get out of sight and eat someone, you can take on their form and walk around undetected. But, you must be careful. One false move or use of your super powers out in public will cause your cover to be blown and you will be on the run again so stealth is the key in these situations. Devouring other people will also allow you to gain their knowledge and put it to your own use. For instance, devour an Army tank driver and you gain the ability to drive tanks and the same goes for weapon use. The more enemies of one type that you consume, the better your ability in that area becomes. And the nice thing is, once you gain these abilities, you always have them at your disposal. Some of the other special powers include an area attack where thorny tentacles reach out of the ground to attack your enemies and a Hammer Fist which pounds enemies into the ground. A lock on system helps as well for targeting certain enemies amongst the crowds of people who are running about in a panic everywhere you go. If your really feisty, you can even distract attention form yourself by accusing random passers by of being you which will cause all surrounding enemies to open fire on the poor innocent.

Since it is an open world, you can go wherever you please, but there is a main storyline whos plot is revealed as you make your way through the game devouring people left and right. Ingesting main characters throughout the game will give you clues as to what exactly is going on here. You must use your powers to reconstruct your past and eventually discover the giant conspiracy that provides the game's hidden plot. Ultimately, you control the pace of the game by choosing which way you want to handle your enemies. Deceive or Destroy? Which one will you choose?

Prototype really reminded me a lot of Crackdown in it's basic gameplay mechanics. While the game itself looked interesting, I was a little disappointed in the graphics. The character models seemed very simplistic and I saw the same several models over and over again in the various crowd scenes. But, as this was an early build I'm hoping that this is something that will be taken care of when the final coat of paint is applied to the project.

Prototype launches this fall for the 360 and PS3 and is a single player experience although they did hint that co-op and online play were both being looked at as possibilities. And yes, there will be downloadable content although what form that will take remains to be seen.


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