Prototype is a fairly open game, letting players wander through all of Manhattan, although it's not a literal building-for-building remake. The demo I saw centered on the ability to fight through situations, although gamers will be able to choose a sneakier path, walking in shadows and impersonating others.
The city has been infested with a plague, turning some people into zombies and introducing other monsters. Even the buildings evoke this wasteland setting, decaying with the exposure. The military has moved in -- in addition to a shadow group of mercenaries -- and you're at the center of the mess.
While you've lost your memory, you've gained unnatural powers. One attack swings your arm out like a tentacle, striking everyone in the vicinity. Your hands can turn into claws, quickly cutting down others. A punch into the ground can raise a circle of spikes around you.
But the shape-shifting and movement are the most important powers. By touching any other person, you can take their form, and meander through the city mostly unnoticed. Or you can run -- literally -- up buildings and scamper along ledges, moving over any surface.
The story will require players to steal certain identities. For example, if you can take the form of a military commander without being seen, you can run that local outpost. One part of the story will even have you pretend to be a pilot, flying missions and following orders until you get enough clearance to learn more about your history.
I saw a couple of these 25 military bases, and like the rest of the game, the graphics seemed adequate but not a highlight of the game. Sure, details are being optimized, and some areas were clearly being further developed. But there still seems to be a lot of work to finish by the fall.
The animation, however, looked fluid and fantastic. Everything moved at a strained pace, from the character hopping between buildings, to the black-ops attackers trying to bring him down. These aspects should make Prototype a physical thrill, regardless of how much the other visuals improve.
Maybe I was hoping for too much, wanting to see Prototype neatly come together in front of me after a brief demonstration. The massive open-world setting and twisted characters are messy. Whether the story can give a through-line or not, that chaos could be a good thing.