Prototype Updated Hands-On Impressions

We head back to an infected New York City to clean up some mutants and do a little field testing.

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Last time we had a chance to take control of Alex Mercer and run him through an infected present-day New York City, we got a feel for his unique killing abilities. This time around, we were given the option of taking things a little slower and trying out the pseudostealth mechanics available in Prototype.

Warped forward to about halfway through the game, our initial job was to seek out and make contact with Dr. Ragland, an as-yet-unintroduced medical contact, at his lab. With the point marked on our map with a glowing yellow marker, we decided to stay above the fray going on at street level by dashing up buildings and then hurling ourselves off of and gliding to the next structure. Once we got close to our target destination, we descended to mingle with the crowd of citizens while wearing our now well-recognised hooded sweatshirt. Given that our progression with the game hasn't been chronological, it's still unclear what sort of awareness the locals have of Alex's presence or whether they perceive him as a threat.

Once we were on the street and mixing with the people, our cover status immediately jumped to code yellow, warning us that performing any superhero ability would quickly drop our cover. The good doctor was in, and although the cutscene was brief, he appeared sympathetic and helpful to Alex's plight. It was here that he handed us a giant syringe full of some kind of antibody and instructed us to seek out a nearby Hunter mutant to try out the mixture. From the rapport the two seemed to share, we got the distinct impression that it was with a view to testing the formula, with the ultimate goal of using it to return Alex to some semblance of normalcy.

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Our next stop was to head to a nearby Black Watch outpost, which was housing a required helicopter. Perched on a nearby roof, we scoped out the complex and the best way to get to the chopper. As is the case with the rest of Prototype, we were presented with two obvious ways of handling the situation. The first was to jump in with superpowers blazing and nuke the place. The other approach used a little more finesse, trading fists for a stealth consumption of a nearby soldier and then simply walking in with the rest of the unit unaware.

This is a game of fantasy, so naturally we decided to try going in with arms swinging. Unfortunately, once we hit the ground we were immediately fired on, forcing us to flee because we had underestimated the sheer number of personnel. For our second go, we went the sneaky way, dragging a nearby rocket-launcher-wielding trooper into a secluded spot and consuming him, stealing his identity and casually strolling in unnoticed. Consuming the biomass of the pilot of the helicopter rewarded us with a brief cutscene of the pilot's life before we jumped in and took to the skies.

Once in the air, we needed to follow a signal-strength meter to locate and destroy nearby rooftop water reservoirs. Apparently the water towers are where Hunters hang out, and it wasn't long until we were instructed to chase one down and inject it with the serum. Luckily for us, a Hunter was already turning cars and locals into paste nearby, and we simply had to head over. We ditched our chopper by holding the B button, falling to earth with a thud and unleashing a barrage of fists. Once we had done enough damage to trigger it, we were presented with the option to grab the Hunter by pressing B and then consume it with the Y button. It was at this point that the mission ended.

Are Alex and his doctor buddy using the local mutants as test subjects? If so, is he any better than whoever turned him into what he is? Unfortunately, we're going to have to sit tight and wait a little longer to find out more when the game is launched on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC in June this year.

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