Prototype Preview: Slick, But Not A Stand Out

What's that? You say you wanted more sandbox-style games? Activision has you covered with the release of Protoype on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC this Summer.

New York Comic Con attendees will have a chance to go hands-on with the game at the show this weekend and we recently got to see the game in action at CES. But I played through an early level at an Activision event earlier tonight in advance of the show.

What It Is
Prototype is an open-world action game that takes place in a decimated New York City. The protagonist, Alex Mercer, has awoken to a pretty large problem. Not only has his memory been erased, but he also has these crazy shape-shifting powers. What is one to do? Why, go on a rampage of course!

You'll fight hoards of militants and enemy mutants by flinging cars, people, or by using any one of your many shape-shifting powers. Radical Entertainment is developing the game, who may be best known for their sandbox-y action games like Scarface and The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.

What We Saw
I saw an early preview level from the game for the Xbox 360 that I managed to complete in about 15 minutes. Overall, there were 4 mission objectives given sequentially, mostly involving killing someone or something before advancing to the next. I played this demo at an Activision party, meaning I did have an Activision rep on hand to highlight some of the elaborate looking move sets, but I mainly completed it myself without any help.

How Far Along Is it?
I was told it's still in pre-beta. Its expected release date is June.

What Needs Improvement
While I wasn't given the option to fiddle with every feature of the game, from my initial impression I'd like to see a few minor touch-ups to the camera positioning. During busy fights you can lose sight of what you're doing.

The civilian A.I. didn't seem to really react to anything going on in the environment. They were always just running around in panic mode (which could be understandable). At times, I felt like I could simply button-mash my way to victory.

Oh, and it would be nice to have multiplayer co-op, but that's not happening any time soon.

What Needs To Stay The Same
The controls. Performing high-profile acrobatic moves never seemed easier. Holding the right-trigger while running allows Alex to automatically leap over debris. The controls themselves take very little time to get used to.

Final Thoughts
While the game is an original I.P., I'm not sure about how much different of an experience this will be from the Incredible Hulk games they made. The demo I played looked extremely polished, save for a few minor bugs, like cars getting stuck in the street pavement. The framerate, overall, was solid. I'm also interested to see where the story goes throughout the rest of the game.

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