by Josh Butler
previewed on PS3
Tendril enhancement (cntd)
New abilities for your tendril can be unlocked, though Radical promise you won’t be overwhelmed with an embarrassment of customisation options immediately. Rather these will be drip-fed, as you complete missions and clear areas. In fact this is representative of the way Prototype 2 treats ability enhancements in general, as they will more often be rewarded for securing an area or defeating a particularly powerful foe than the product of gathering up piles of cash to throw at upgrades.
One ability that will likely be available upon starting is the hunting enhancement, which emits submarine-like sonar to bounce off - and thereby highlight - your target. Visually this is enjoyably reminiscent of The Dark Knight and according to Radical is designed so your HUD isn’t cluttered with abstract icons to demarcate your prey. As effective as this may be, their philosophy of simplicity is undermined by another interview which reveals that during any battle the enemy that poses you the greatest threat will be marked by an icon above their head. Clearly Prototype 2 is still at a stage of development where its design philosophy can be somewhat in flux.
Prototype 2 bears many of the same dichotomies as the previous game; with good acts weighed against evil ones, order always on the brink of chaos, moments where you pass disguised and completely unnoticed suddenly becoming a torrent of explosions as you rip the turrets off tanks to turn them on their previous owners. Radical have acknowledged the all-or-nothing vibe of the previous game and have attempted to offset it with colour-coded areas of the city where the action will be more consistent. Red areas will be the badlands of all-out combat and warfare, yellow areas the partially-controlled quarantines of not-quite civilised cohabitation and green areas the regimented parts of town under military control.
A worthy opponent
Multiplayer is currently off the cards and admittedly would be contrary to the tale of a solitary vengeance Radical are looking to tell. That’s not to say the idea of super-powered players laying waste to the city doesn’t appeal but it’s clear that several overpowered combatants might be difficult to balance when the game mechanics are largely designed in relation to fighting underpowered enemies. Given the danger of being a big fish in a small pond it’s unclear how engaging those mechanics will be after the umpteenth tank has been de-turreted and hurled at unsuspecting humans, but there’s reason enough to believe that Prototype 2 might have enough tricks up its sleeve to hold its own in the red corner of this heavy-weight bout.
Whether Sergeant Heller has more to worry from Alex Mercer or Cole MacGrath, it’s safe to say that having strong opposition can only be a good thing. One can only hope it’s enough to bring the best out of Prototype 2 - though seeing the worst brought out might be fun too.