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Prototype – hands-on

When we were a kid taking a trip to the Big Apple, we imagined streets full of screaming people, mutated monsters, and cops in riot gear trying to keep things in order. Then we imagined transforming parts of our body into sinister weapons, before launching 50 feet into the air and elbow-dropping a tank, smashing it to a smoldering wreck. With helicopters zeroing in on us with Gatling-gun fire, we picked up the wrecked tank, leaped into the air, and hurled said tank into one chopper.

What? That’s not what everyone imagines when they’re a kid? Oh, right, we didn’t imagine exactly that scenario, but it was something close. Nah, we just played that scenario in Prototype, realizing we’re not crazy because clearly other people were imagining the same kinds of things. It’s good to be a kid again. While Prototype’s hero, Alex Mercer, doesn’t look like a kid, he sure has fun like one.

The Manhattan we parkoured through, smashing anything we damn well pleased along the way, was about as busy with moving bodies as the real New York, except everyone was running, screaming, and killing each other. Developer Radical realizes that with so much carnage filling the streets, getting around could be a pain, and so they’ve given Alex plenty of ways to move fluidly through the madness.

First, there’s the parkour button. Hold it down, and Alex goes into a sprint, but without the pesky endurance limit many games impose. Speeding along, any poor sap that gets in the way gets a meaty strong arm to the face. Crowds barely pose a hindrance when you can part them like grass. Cars and walls aren’t a speed bump either – as long as you don’t stop running, Alex automatically vaults over obstructions or tears straight up the side of a building.

Still, if that’s not fast enough, jumps can be pre-loaded by holding down the jump button, even in mid-air to provide progressively bigger bounds. Or, once in the air, a second tap starts Alex gliding in what looks like a skydiver’s posture. This seems to be the absolute fastest mode of transport based on raw velocity and the handy aspect of staying above the mewling masses. Finally, for quick short bursts that also are handy for reaching tricky high spots, Alex has the air dash that sends him briefly rocketing in any direction chosen from mid-air. It’s also a formidable dash attack.

Getting around is one thing, but doing horrible things to anyone along the way is even better. The mysterious plague that has turned NYC’s citizens into raving loons and worse may or may not be the same thing that has mutated Alex. We don’t yet know the cause, but we enjoyed the effects. Alex’s mutant weaponry is divided up into essentially fighting stances – each mutation changes parts of his body and allows access to particular moves. Claws can shoot into the ground and erupt underneath a target, hammerfists can perform the infamous elbow drop, and the blade can shred through heavy enemies. There’s also a sort of bio-armor that lets Alex charge through just about anything – instead of vaulting over cars, he bats them out of the way as if they were gnats.

33 comments

  • bis7105 - June 22, 2009 6:21 a.m.

    iv played this game I LOVED IT the adaptive parkour makes it awesome
  • kyle.m - June 7, 2009 1:51 a.m.

    ok all that i have to say is it looks like they took the infamous game from the PS3 and gave the guy a different mutation and more gore.but i have to say ill probably buy it it does look awesome.
  • B3f1 - May 17, 2009 5:14 p.m.

    cant wait
  • IndigoDragon - May 6, 2009 9:48 p.m.

    this game sounds awesome. It looks like you sould just run around and destroy the whole city with almost no resistance.
  • Yellowhat17 - April 25, 2009 8:28 p.m.

    Niiice.
  • SneakyAgent - April 20, 2009 1:03 p.m.

    i have to say, this is probably the coolest game i have ever seen
  • DasavageJ - April 12, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    WOO Looks sick!!! also the whole "kinda like Hulk: Ultimate Destruction thing" is because the developers also created that game. So in other words expect greatness =)
  • ALocalPro - April 11, 2009 8:08 p.m.

    God.. this game looks amazing on so many levels.. im with may.be.vital though adding a co-op aspect would have been amazing.. nevertheless this game should be EPIC! IMO it does have the potential to over..awesome.. if thats possible.. all in all i think this game will be rediculous fun.. ill be there for the release.
  • JohnnyMaverik - April 9, 2009 2:07 a.m.

    "Smeggs - 53 minutes 11 seconds ago " O.O No ur either drunk or crazy but great comment all the same ;P This game sounds intersting but excuse me if i remain skeptical since it sounds too good to be true... bit like gta, which while being a fun game to mess around on never really captured my heart.
  • Cerbeross - April 8, 2009 7:57 p.m.

    Looks great so far- perhaps one to look out for if I can afford it
  • curtw_819 - April 8, 2009 6:07 p.m.

    i cant wait 4 this game... love the GTA with superpowers the first thing im doin is runnin around 4 lik an hour
  • shadowleon - April 8, 2009 4:58 p.m.

    I have been waiting for this game forever and it is finally coming out in two months which is good because I thought it wouldn't be released till next year
  • darrell386 - August 19, 2009 6:04 p.m.

    this game is bad ass
  • oryandymackie - June 10, 2009 6:31 p.m.

    It got an 8.1 from CVG. But how? This game is everything I have EVER dreamed of! Must buy official.
  • bitbatshitjohan - May 1, 2009 8:09 p.m.

    This game looks absolute quality. Is it just me or does this look better than infamous? It seems more visceral and varied. I'll totally play both but this is the one I really can't wait to get my mitts on.
  • SneakyAgent - April 30, 2009 3:01 a.m.

    Bio-armor=JUGERNAUT RAMPAGE
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - April 28, 2009 9:08 p.m.

    I want this game so bad.... I may have to bribe someone of the correct age to buy this if it's an 18 (for those who have realised that the maths doesnt add up, it's because i find 1990 cooler than my actual birth date, 1993.)
  • 100tommo100 - April 25, 2009 10:02 a.m.

    I SO WANNA PLAY THIS!!
  • JLgameR63 - April 24, 2009 10:25 p.m.

    I have been following this game since it first appeared in GameInformer in '07. Anyone who thinks this game is not the best ever is out of their minds.
  • GordanMFreeman - April 11, 2009 6:41 a.m.

    any game where i can say F-U to the police is fine with me, really looking forward to it

Showing 1-20 of 33 comments

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