I hadn’t intended to play Prey when I first heard about, but Steam was pretty insistent about recommending it and the trailers looked cool, so I gave it a shot. All in all, pretty glad I did. I do have some mixed opinions on some parts, but I’ll get to those in a minute. First off: While I do try to keep them to a minimum, there may be spoilers included here. If you prefer to go into the game blind, I recommend coming back after playing. This has been a PSA. Thank you.
OK,moving on. Prey is listed as an Action Adventure game, which is technically true. It also has some horror elements and a bit of a sandbox feel, especially in the first 3/4’s of the game. At multiple points I had flashbacks to the original Dead Space. There were numerous similarities in the setting if not the story. Here comes the synopsis, last chance to click away!
You play as Morgan Yu, freshly freed from a looping simulation test that had him/her stuck in a single day of their life and bereft of any memories of their time on the station. You learn that a dangerous alien race known as the Tython were being used in experiments on board the station and have now broken containment. As you can guess, everything is going to hell as a result. It now falls to you to navigate the station to deal with the threat, the whole time being hunted by the Tython – and being dicked with by your brother.
The story remains fairly straightforward throughout, and if you’re focusing just on that won’t take very long to complete. There are multiple side objectives to undertake though, either providing you with valuable resources or more information about the story and your character. Prey is a fairly open game – for the most part – as can be expected from Bethesda. Most objectives will have alternate routes to success, depending on how you want to approach the game. You can go aggressive if you want combat, stealthy if you want more of a challenge of both whenever it suits you. Now having said that, things do become much more difficult in the later game from a stealth perspective so I would grab some durability upgrades, at least.
Skills in this game are acquired through the use of Neuromods. Just apply to face, inject horrifically long needles into eye, and voila, you know how to repair complex machinery! Or make your…inventory…bigger..how the fuck? There are three main categories to begin with as shown here:
Remapping neurons apparently extends your life…who knew?
This will expand later to also include psionic abilities. You too can be a mind flayer! A few recommendations though? None of these skills are technically required, but I highly suggest grabbing the inventory upgrade and the recycle buff early. Resource management is huge in this game and having to constantly run back to the Recycler is a pain in the ass. What am I talking about? All items in Prey are made with materials gained by recycling other items. Talos 1 is loaded with trash and excess items that you can run though the proverbial juicer to get useful components. Problem here is they go fast and they do not re-spawn. This isn’t so much an issue early on, but as you explore more and more of the station and undertake side missions that bring you back to places you’ve already explored – and scavenged, you naturally find less and less to recycle.
Combat in Prey can go many different ways depending on how you spec your character. Many Tython are both extremely mobile and powerful and getting hit by them hurts. A lot. Success in battle will often come down to how well you can pin the target down before going all in…or how fast you can empty a clip into them. And that quickly leads to you looking at your guns and wondering which one you can most afford to recycle into ammo for another one.
So what didn’t I like about this game? Well, without giving anything away about it, the ending was disappointing to me. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions there, the game is worth playing for the content regardless. Tied to that is how the game switched gears. It’s normal for this type of game to switch into ‘balls out’ mode as you get closer to the end, but once you reach the 3/4’s point it gets pretty bad. I kept getting into situations where I just said ‘screw it’ and ran to my objective whilst shotgunning medkits instead of fighting. Another huge irritation was the space walks. You’ll have to go outside the station multiple times, and there are probably loads of supply caches you can find if you take the time to really explore out there. But navigating in zero gravity is a colossal pain in the ass, especially when there are enemies out there that can not only disable your suits propulsion, but hurt you in the process. Not saying it was badly executed. But super irritating.
All in all….8/10. Fun game, decently challenging and allows for a lot of replay value if you want to try different strategies. If you’ve played through the game, let me know what you thought in the comments below, and as always, happy gaming!