by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on X360
Updated, Overhauled and Improved
Prototype 2 is one of those games that people don't know whether to be excited for or indifferent about. After seeing it in action at GamesCom, I'm officially jumping on the band wagon labelled “Excited”. The game picks up 14 months after the events of the previous game, where Alex Mercer rescued Mother and detonated a nuke that was supposed to destroy New York, and the infection with it, over the ocean. A team of elite soldiers is sent in to capture or kill Mercer, but all but one is lost. It just so happens that the only one who survives has a personal vendetta against Mercer, as the infection claimed the lives of his whole family. Mercer, rather than killing him, deliberately infects him with the virus, transforming him into another biologically-powered monstrosity. This new monster is James Heller.
New York has been split into 3 zones, colour coded green, yellow, and red in accordance with their status. The green zone is where Blackwatch's home base is situated, and is relatively infection free. The yellow zone is a zone where people trying to escape the red zone are quarantined. It is filthy, over- crowded, and dangerous. Gentek's lab is located in the yellow zone, and they frequently come up with strange new things to let loose upon the population there. The red zone, on the other hand, is pure hell on earth. It is Mercer's playground. The whole area is infected and Blackwatch struggles to contain the virus there. Not only will each area feel different, they will also stand out in terms of aesthetics as well- The green area being lush and beautiful, the yellow run down and dirty, and the red having pillars of biological goo all over the place and wild infected monsters running around.
The player will once again be able to consume any NPC in the game and shape shift into that character, and the population of the city will react differently to Heller depending on which form he has. People will be afraid of him in a Blackwatch uniform, but in the form of a civilian, they probably won't even notice he's there. Radical Entertainment has even started a competition where two individuals can win an all-expense-paid trip to Canada to have their likenesses appear in the game. Those people can then potentially find themselves, consume themselves, and walk around as themselves in the game. Shape shifting into monsters is, however, not on the cards right now.
To Kill a Hobo
At GamesCom, for the first time, we saw the yellow zone in action. The area looks very much like a ghetto with numerous filthy people huddled around barrels with fires, trying to keep warm, and some even sleeping in alleys. They are almost so filthy that you can't help but feel bad for Heller, having to obey the player's command and pick one of those filthy hobos up. Whereas in the previous game you could only kill an NPC once you'd picked him up by either consuming them or throwing them away, this time around, you are presented with the option to simply put them back down, making them run away in fear, but still alive. All such actions will, however, draw unwanted attention to you, and if you're not careful, your cover will be blown and it will soon feel as though the whole world is bearing down on you. The implementation of an attention meter allows the player to see how close he is to breaking his cover, allowing him to alter his actions in order to keep the guards looking the other way.