Prototype 2 Preview

For PAX 2011, Activision brought out a "near alpha" version of Prototype 2. But what does that mean exactly? This recent build was meant to show off how much better the new game looks than its predecessor--and it worked. I didn't need to be told that enhancing the graphics engine was an important goal for the game. The evidence was right there in front of my eyes. Along with the game's engine, a number of other tweaks have been made in response to criticisms of the original. For starters, civilians can now be simply set back down when picked up by accident. It's a nice gesture, and one that will likely get some use, because consuming civilians no longer recharges health; only enemies provide a boost. This substantial change in the way the health system works reflects a larger change in the pacing of the game. Rather than constant mass chaos, Prototype 2 offers plenty of opportunity to slow things down and play at a more measured tempo. A new awareness system highlights potential targets in either white or red to indicate whether they can be stealthily consumed. By observing the situation, it's then possible to slowly work around the environment, eliminating watchers one by one instead of just rushing in using brute force powers. In the same vein, a new hunting system features a target sonar system. Like watching the screen on a ship, activating it sends a visible pulse out into the environment, which then "pings" and echo of the target. Once close enough to see them, the target also gets highlighted, making it easier to single them out in a crowd.

Prototype 2 looks significantly better than its predecessor.

This demo also offered the first glimpse into the "yellow" zone of New York Zero, aka the quarantine zone. It's an area where infected refugees take shelter, and it's kept under strict rule by the Blackwatch biological attack response force. Don't mistake them as the good guys, though. They're not only ruthless in their rule; they're experimenting on the refugees. Changing the main character from Alex Mercer to Sargent James Heller reflects the direction of the series to more prominently feature the virus as the central element around which the story builds around. Memories from the people you absorb also plays a bigger part in the game. As they are learned, they open up new missions and help directly advance the plot of the game. BOOM video 10104 Prototype 2 is due out in April of next year on PS3, 360, and PC.