Hands-on with Prototype: being a super-powered badass

Within seconds, we were able to run along the sides of buildings, glide through the air, and take down tanks with the greatest of ease. Prototype, Activision's upcoming open-world super hero game, is undoubtedly an ambitious project. However, in spite of the game's diverse move set, the team at Radical Entertainment has managed to streamline the experience, presenting a control scheme that's instantly rewarding.

There's nothing more emasculating than having to struggle with a control pad. The demo presented at Comic Con eased us into Alex Mercer's overwhelming power. Movement is quite possibly the most impressive facet of the game: absolutely nothing will ever get in your way. Want to take on a tank? Lock on and simply fly there. A building in your way? Simply run towards it ... and then up it, ignoring all effects of gravity.

Traversing the landscape is thrilling, especially with so much happening on screen. Even without the massive mobs being rendered, the virtual NYC in Prototype is, from what we've seen, even more authentic than the one found in GTA4. The scale is appreciably larger; Times Square is appropriately filled with masses of panicked crowds. It's hard not to feel like you've been transplanted into a big-budget Marvel movie with the scope and scale of these visuals.
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Even with so much happening on screen, we were impressed by the relative stability of the game's framerate. Yes, it dipped once in a while, but that's something easily rectified by a few more months of development time. It's hard to gauge the depth of the combat in a 15-minute demo, but it seems to follow the same model of movement. It's incredibly intuitive and rewarding.

Alex's melee combat is simple, but thoroughly brutal. We were able to button-mash the light and heavy attacks, creating combos with relative ease. By using the lock-on and dash, we were able to rush around from one enemy to the next, thrust down on tanks and rip through massive mutants.



One feature we wish we had more time with was Alex's consume ability. By grabbing an enemy and hitting Y, Alex is able to absorb the abilities of his victim. Eating a soldier restored our health, and also gave us access to his rifle. The gunplay seems rather simplistic, and is far less visceral than the limb-ripping fun of the melee combat. We're hoping the ability to don other identities will be used in non-combat sections as well. Imagine being able to infiltrate certain high-security facilities wearing the skin of a consumed enemy. There's a lot of potential in Prototype, if properly developed.

There is the real possibility that Prototype may be a bit too easy, considering Alex's incredible power. It may also become tiresome to go from one crowded mass of enemies to the next. However, the short time we were able to spend with the game was empowering, exciting, and most importantly, fun.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.