Prototype Impressions

We get a first look at Radical's rampaging action game.

In a near-future New York City, the populace is gripped in the claws of a vicious war between three powerful factions--the military, the monsters, and you. You are Alex Mercer, a shape-shifting, backflipping, people-eating antihero, and the star of Radical Entertainment's upcoming free-roaming action-fest, Prototype. We recently got a long, hard look at Alex's approaching exploits, and we were horrified by what we saw--in a good way.

The first thing we noticed as the developers ran Alex around the beautifully rendered city streets was his uncanny speed and agility. Alex can run at least 60 miles per hour and he leaps like a frog, bouncing from car to car as if they were lily pads. Actually, he's much more graceful than a long-legged amphibian, and his moves seem clearly inspired by that darling of internet videos, parkour. Of course, his athletics go above and beyond anything remotely human, given that he can also run up walls from story to story, dash in midair, and fall from any height without breaking anything but concrete. This game will put the "loco" in locomotion.

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

When Alex isn't bouncing, dashing, or climbing, he's usually killing, and the environment is bustling with victims. Most of these are terrified civilians, attempting to go about their daily lives in spite of the terrible war going on around them. With a single button press, Alex can brutally kill anyone he sees. He then consumes their biomass, gaining access to everything about them, including their DNA, memories, and especially their appearance. So, in a sense, the people he kills don't die; they join him. Creepy.

And intentionally so, because Alex isn't meant to be good, or even likable. Rather, he's the fearsome byproduct of a corrupt society, the wicked specter of science gone wrong, risen to wreck his creators. He's like Godzilla in a hoodie, though the famous lizard wasn't mentioned by the developers as an influence on Alex. Rather, they mentioned Darth Maul (for his crazy, vicious side), Travis Bickle (the weirdo in Taxi Driver), and Hannibal Lecter (for his sense of taste). But Alex doesn't wield lightsabers; rather, he forms his body parts into lethal weapons, kind of like the T-1000 from Terminator 2.

We saw him turn his arms into sharp, hard prongs and slice people in two, as well as stick his hand into the ground to cause an eruption of stalagmites under a tank, which will no doubt have a massive repair bill. Alex can also grow armor plating to protect him from damage, but at the cost of being able to cut people up or impale armored vehicles. As you eat more people, your body mass becomes denser and your attacks even stronger.

Most awful way to die number 731.

Then again, why break a war machine, when you can suck up its driver and use it yourself? Alex answered this question by hopping on an Apache chopper, ripping the cockpit open, throwing out one pilot, eating the other, then continuing his assault on New York from the air. According to the devs, Alex will be able to commandeer a nice assortment of vehicles, as well as use an arsenal of weapons.

But for what, and why? Evidently, Alex was part of a governmental conspiracy involving covert biological research--a conspiracy that backfired, badly. Part of that fallout is Alex himself, and the other part is the new population of powerful and angry mutants taking over New York a block at a time. As Alex, you have to piece together the plot by eating people who know things, thereby gaining their memories.

And sometimes their mammaries. While you can always try to approach situations the violent way, Alex may also assume the physical forms of people he's eaten in order to sneakily blend in. So if you'd rather not completely destroy New York and its inhabitants as you go along, you may be able to eat only bad people and stalk through the game in their shoes, high heels, or boots, as the case may be.

Army of one down; 10 to go.

If you ask us, Prototype's New York is absolutely worth saving. Not only does it look good, it's also split into accurate neighborhoods that have either been occupied by the army, the mutants, both (a war zone), or neither (a neutral zone). While we don't know the full implications of this territory system, we do know you'll be able to manipulate the conflict between the mutants and the military to suit your own personal ends.

There's a lot more we don't know about Prototype--the developers say it's only 20 percent finished--but we do know one thing: We want to know more. With its slick graphics, crazy violence, bizarre take on identity, and fascinating approach to dining etiquette, this game looks ready to kill and eat the competition when it rampages into stores sometime in late 2008.

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Discussion

141 comments
zakhaev
zakhaev

If I dont play this sick game right now i swear I will killl myself!!!!!!!!!!!(It looks a hundred times better then inFAMOUS)

CRYSIX
CRYSIX

Looks incredible! The powers are awesome and the gameplay seems to be very good.

savageforrlife
savageforrlife

omfg. did you see the opening cinematic! This is fawking kewl. I know im gettting this before infamous for suuuuuure

mspranav
mspranav

aweeesome ... i think the gameplay is gonna be awesome . :)

DeafMonkey39
DeafMonkey39

I'm tototally bying this game!!...although they could work alittle more on the graphics!!...but graphics don't matter much alot!!...i reserved(pre-ordered) mines already and payed for the whole game already!!...now all i have to do is wait!!...[PROTOTYPE] ROCKS!!...

mr0806
mr0806

game looks good... if it is bad at least it will be a break from first person shooters and sandbox games where you drive around and hit old ladies for points....

Paul_Els
Paul_Els

hmmm. i'll probly buy this and then play it for a day thinkin it kicks arse and then probly get sick of it and not play it again. Cos seriously if your a guy that powerfull it would be a pretty damn easy game and one that you'd get tired of pretty quick.

abbas4evr
abbas4evr

Do i need to tell that this one is going to be one hell of a game ???!!!!!![:)]

Strigidae
Strigidae

2009 IS GOING TO BE A FREAKIN' EXCELLENT YEAR FOR EVERYONE. I LOVE IT!

devan001
devan001

finally PC is getting some kick-ass games! Just think, Xbox360 and PS3 were getting all the attention. Now we get a little chunk of the action.

LYTEK
LYTEK

If it's 3rd person that's actually good. 1st person games w/ high speed running and crap like Mirror's Edge r ok but tough. This game does look good though. Will wait for more info on it.

neobita
neobita

last I checked, vincent from dirge of the cerberus (final fantasy VII) look a like. FYI, vincent can also shapeshift into demons (mutants in this case) the only thing viable as a difference is the assimilation that alex can do. There truly is no more originality left in this world is there?...

1Slide5
1Slide5

awesome powers. hope it'll be as superb as it looks. looks bit like a modern prince of persia+cool powers

kna3000
kna3000

The super power looks really cool. The flaying, gunshot & the 3 way war is nice( nothing new). Figuring from the name, the character probably dont EAT the victims, he, or it, just copy them if we can say that. The only way this game be something this year is the story or, as other games are, the soundtrack.

Ricky-Wagner
Ricky-Wagner

Looks kickass, I cant wait to start eating and demolishing the entire New York population!

xxmicahxx
xxmicahxx

This game looks awesome. Can't wait for the release. PC will be awesome for this game. Excited, this looks like a 8.5 game to me so far. Hopefully even better once it comes out :D

shadow9669
shadow9669

this game is in my top 10 most wanted games this year sofar cant wait for a demo

godboy32
godboy32

I just hope they dont screw it up. I remember when Fable 1 looked this good....

Lord_Pisces
Lord_Pisces

Looks interesting. The shapeshifting and super -powers looks cool, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the eating people. How are they gonna show that?

AJ-2K7
AJ-2K7

kwl its got my name as well, but i aint bothered cos it luks gd anyway :)

AlexLJ
AlexLJ

The fact that he has my name makes this game that more appealing. I wish I could absorb people >:) I cannot wait for this game to hit the shelves.

dark-zazo
dark-zazo

The concept is good but the grphics... they just don't look nice. I sure hope they do something about that

infinite_venom
infinite_venom

The games 20% finished but it already looks good.

NuKkU
NuKkU

looks pretty cool

Asskick_QTip
Asskick_QTip

yeah nice love it cant w8 it looks like a combo of: AC ( the parkours) The Darkness (Eating People love that part and the weird powers) Crackdown (Insane Jumping and climbing) and itsoriginal

hilltops
hilltops

Yeah...this game looks insane..good insane :P

skywalkerforce
skywalkerforce

This games looks so nasty, I cant wait to get this game, the new gen systems just came out and they already have so many games I want, Assassins Creed, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, GTA 4, MGS4, etc. The only game missing for me is a remake of Final Fantasy VII.

Turbo-Evil
Turbo-Evil

My third "must buy" of '08 - the other 2 being GTA IV and Smash Bros

jack_sparrow_28
jack_sparrow_28

20% done eh? So by the time they're done it'll be... FIVE TIMES AS AWESOME!

vass86
vass86

"Looks promising...unless you're a German gamer of course! I suppose they can always import.." i find it really funny when germany ban things. after all this is the country that brought us 2 world wars, hitler and the holocaust

Zee666
Zee666

OOOOH, eating people. Looks good, if the graphics are made a wee bit darker then it'll be a definite buy, especially since you can run and jump and smash people heads into pepperoni slices

Derek58
Derek58

After playing Ultimate Destruction, i have a lot of respect for Radical, so i bet this is going to turn out to be a REALLY awesome game.

madalin_thunder
madalin_thunder

Apart from the original concept, the sweet graphics and everything else, I especially liked these two parts: "so if you'd rather not completely destroy New York and its inhabitants as you go along, you may be able to eat only bad people" and "you'll be able to manipulate the conflict between the mutants and the military to suit your own personal ends." Given the poorly-thought games of the last months, this one might break the ice and actually "eat the competition".

GSU28
GSU28

I am not too much of a pessimist but this seems very difficult to pull off (efficiently.) The whole parkour style gameplay with the ambitious shapeshifting physics will be hard to get right. But if the devs get it right I will definitely be looking this one up.

keyoga
keyoga

this game looks friggin awesome *starts considering different ways to kill people* that one pic kinda makes you wonder though, what are the other 730 most awful ways to die. i cant wait till this comes out im gonna have to save for a like a year just to afford a ps3 let alone the game

-Lu-
-Lu-

These are some awesome powers' but they could proove hard to contorl. I realy hope they'll get it right, this game looks realy cool...

snipeviper
snipeviper

GoldMine, This game should be comin out for 360, since i found it in the 360 section of the site, and numerous other sites have listed it as a future 360 release. BUT, no worries if it's not, cos the way ps3 is keepin exclusivity these days, by "q3 2008" it'll be out on everything from 360 to the NES anyway =D

sheffield53
sheffield53

the gameplay sounds good just as long as the controls fit and its actually sorta original so this should be a good game as long as they dont totally screw it up

Przem0
Przem0

Extremely funny comments to the screenshots :).

capitancahonas
capitancahonas

Looks promising...unless you're a German gamer of course! I suppose they can always import..

GoldMine516
GoldMine516

i thought they were making it for 360 too beacuase in gameinformer it said that itr would,and me really it would be good cause i like how this game sounds and i dont have a ps3