Prototype 2 Gameplay Preview

by on June 6, 2011

At Activision’s pre-E3 event in London recently, Radical Entertainment was kind enough to show us some Prototype 2 gameplay, as well as telling us about some new enemies and how the setting of the game, New York City, is broken up into three zones.

Radical Entertainment’s studio head, Ken Rosman, was joined by Matt Armstrong to tell us a little more about Prototype 2, which is going to be released in 2012. They began by outlining that Prototype, released in June 2009, had sold enough copies to warrant a sequel, two million worldwide, but Rosman was also very frank about the misgivings of the original Prototype, and outlined why Prototype 2 will be a much better game.

Armstrong outlined that he thought Penny Arcade had nailed the core audience of Prototype in a comic strip, as well as calling the game a “Power Fantasy” whereby players can “Let off steam, chill out, relax and feel like the ultimate badass.”

Prototype 2 is the story of sergeant James Heller, a man forced into evil for the sake of the city. It his his goal to rid the city of the Black Light Virus, which took his wife and child from him. Heller holds Alex Mercer personally responsible for the spread of the virus, and is driven to exact revenge on Mercer throughout the game. Unlike Mercer, Heller embraces his powers and uses them as a tool to gain vengeance, whereas Mercer, while extremely powerful, only used his powers when ordered to do so.

New York City is the setting for the game, 14 months after the outbreak of the virus. The city is now known as New York Zero (NYZ) and is broken down into three sections:

The Red Zone: This is Manhattan, an urban jungle which is home to the infected.

The Yellow Zone: A residential and Industrial area which doubles up as a quarantine for escapees.

The Green Zone: This is an area ruled by Blackwatch, the brutal militant regime.

We were shown a pre-alpha build of Prototype 2, and taken to the Green Zone where a new virus (which we would later learn is a new enemy, the Juggernaut) has been born, which scientists are examining. It is here where we were shown a new weapon, the Biobomb, which Heller must use to distract the Blackwatch soldiers so he can get to the scientist and consume his memories. The Biobomb is a bomb which affects the human body so Heller becomes pretty much invisible to them. The consumption of memories is relentless and brutal, a perfect example of “feeling like the ultimate badass.”

After this, we see Heller hacking Blacknet, the communications network for Blackwatch. Heller cannot hack Blacknet directly, but he can hack the comms vehicles which will be found throughout the game. Doing this unlocks stories which all play a part in the completion of the game.

We were also shown the hunting mechanic in Prototype 2. This is where Heller can emit pulse energy from himself, which then bounces back off of targets, giving away their identity and location. This feature looks very cool, even if it may make things a little easier for players at times. The hunting mechanic will also unlock more missions for Heller.

In terms of weaponisation, Heller can literally tear weapons from tanks and turn them on his enemies. This looked fantastic and adds another element to fights and battles in the game. Also, Heller will gain mutations as players play through the game, which are completely dependant on playing style, ensuring Heller’s final attributes will be unique to the player come the end of Prototype 2. So if a player uses blade attacks a lot, it will be those that are upgraded throughout the game.

Also found throughout NYZ in Prototype 2 are a series of underground locations, or Lairs as they are known in the game, which are essentially underground fighting arenas which Heller can use to hone and upgrade his skills. In these Lairs, Heller’s finishing moves are displayed in their awesome and brutal glory. There is a series of enemies which come at Heller in wave attacks, with the ultimate goal being to kill and consume the Hunter. There are several ways players can approach the Lairs, which will see the best players come out of them without being hit once. Players will be able to use a tactical dodge, which if executed correctly, will leave the enemy vulnerable to attack.

Before leaving us, the Radical Entertainment guys showed us one more thing, a brand new enemy for Prototype 2. The enemy goes by the name of Tiny, but don’t be fooled, as it is massive and very scary. These enemies look like overgrown, deformed Juggernauts, which can be seen chasing Heller in the E3 trailer for Prototype 2.

There is no doubt that Prototype 2 looks to be the game that Radical Entertainment intended the original Prototype to be. The gameplay is really well thought out and caters to the most gung-ho players or the strategists out there. Weapons, and how they are used will be very important throughout the game but also rely on how players use them with regards to how Heller’s skills evolve as the game goes on.

Rosman admitted that Prototype polarised opinions of gamers last time out, and he also said that they had taken on board both the criticisms and the positives from the first, which should see Prototype 2 become a thoroughly entertaining title when it is released in 2012.

Check back during E3 for plenty more Prototype 2 news.