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 Hands-on with Prototype

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InFamOusH1TmAn
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PostSubject: Hands-on with Prototype   Fri May 22, 2009 2:54 am

Hands-on with Prototype
By Gerald Villoria |
Prototype gives you superhuman powers and then drops you into an open-world playground to wreak havoc in.

Spiffy:
Multi-faceted superpowered character with plenty of options to choose from. Iffy:
From what we've seen, there's not as much diversity in terms of enemies.
StumbleUponRedditFarkEmail I recently had the chance to play Prototype, a sandbox-style action game from the team at Radical Entertainment. I was immediately struck by how similar the game was to a previous game of theirs that I enjoyed: The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction. Prototype may not be marketed as such, but it plays and feels like a superhero game.

Prototype's main character is one Alex Mercer, a somber-looking, hooded amnesiac who discovers that he possesses startling powers. He's a shapeshifter who gains new powers by consuming the biomass of his enemies. The most obvious analogue to his powers is Venom from the Spider-Man universe. He's extraordinarily fast and strong, and able to weaponize his body in various ways, which include slashing with razor-sharp claws, transforming his right arm into a wicked blade, and, of course, sprouting various tentacles.

I'd give this a 9.0 on the Richter scale.
Mercer's collection of powers is almost overwhelmingly extensive. He can do pretty much anything that you'd want a superhero to do, outside of being able to fly, though he can glide at altitudes which make it close enough. He can run at high speeds, fast enough to run straight up and down vertical surfaces like the sides of buildings. His body mass is also extraordinarily dense, meaning that if he comes down from any sort of altitude, he's going to leave a mark. Bullets don't do much to him either, though you'll want to avoid rockets and artillery fire from tanks and helicopters. If he's ever hurt, Alex can regain health quickly and easily by simply consuming anyone unfortunate enough to be around. He's also super-strong, meaning he can pick up and chuck a tank at enemies in a pinch, made simple through the game's easy-to-use targeting system.

While my first reaction was to classify Prototype as yet another superhero game, it actually felt more like a supervillain game. Prototype is a sandbox-style game that presents an open-ended set of opportunities. You can choose to go about your quest for self discovery, or you can wreak havoc on Manhattan, rampaging across scenic Little Italy, smashing apart the military in Harlem, and causing a ruckus in Times Square. It's almost impossible to resist the urge to cause a mass panic with so much power at your disposal.

"It's just a flesh wound!"
Sociopathic behavior is part and parcel of the Prototype experience: When you can have so much fun grabbing a random citizen and dragging them across town, up a tall building, and chucking them off to see how much distance you can get, why wouldn't you? Sure, there are plenty of infected fleshy zombie-type bad guys to beat up, and the corrupt military provides for plenty of additional targets, but you're free to do as you please. This often involves causing as much trouble as inhumanly possible.

While I enjoyed the stealth aspects of the game that came with assuming various different disguises and avoiding military detection, I was pleasantly surprised by how many different activities you could partake in, much like in Crackdown for the 360. Numerous checkpoint races taught me how to best use all of Mercer's movement options, tasking me with leaping from rooftop to rooftop, gliding and running in a race against the clock.

Prototype is a game about choice. It features an open-world environment that begs to be explored, a character that can change his appearance and powers at the drop of a hat, and combat that is varied enough to make every fight feel different from the last. You'll have the choice to check out Prototype when it's released in early June.

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