Prey: Arkane Studios’ sci-fi 1st-person action game (review)

Prey
Prey is back! Developer Arkane Studios has its own ideas for the reimagined game, making it different from the original 2006 counterpart. It keeps many of the sci-fi components from the original but layers it with a new element of suspense and more action to set itself apart. It also combines parts featured in many games like BioShock, Half-Life, and even Alien Isolation. The experience will have players feeling alone as they try to stop an alien invasion in space.

Prey

Story

The sci-fi first-person action game is set in space in a monumental research station called Talos 1. Morgan Yu along with his/her older brother are two of the lead researchers at the station. They are pushing the envelope forward with experiments. A sci-fi story in a space station with questionable experiments is bound to go awry… and Prey is no different. The opening scene gives just a glimpse into what horror mankind has encountered aboard the Talos 1. While it starts out as a straight-forward narrative with an obvious goal, it quickly twists and evolves. The player’s choices will have grave repercussions to not only his/herself but to everyone aboard the station and possibly the entire human race.

Who can Morgan trust while aboard the Talos 1? Their brother, Alex, or their memory log that they’ve embedded in a droid before losing their memory. A large portion of the story will leave the player with more questions than answers. And they are left unanswered by the main storyline without tracking down certain audio logs, emails, and completion of certain sidequests.

Combat

With the game’s combat, this is where the comparisons to BioShock come into play. The combat is fast and fluid, and Morgan will have access to a wrench for melee (just like BioShock) and 5 firearms. It’s actually 6 if you count the nerf-like crossbow, but it’s more of a tool than a weapon again just like Bioshock. While guns will often be your first go to when fighting, ammo can be limited at times.

Abilities

The abilities are by far one of my favorite things in Prey and that’s because enhancing yourself with typhon abilities is a blast. Being able to create phantoms from corpses to fight for you… who wouldn’t like that? As I stated earlier, you also get elemental abilities like electricity and fire. But my favorite isn’t a combat ability. It’s actually the morph ability. That’s right, once you have the morph ability unlocked, you can transform into teacups, chairs, boxes, or my personal favorite, turrets. Do you need access to a security room but have no keycard? Morph into a teacup and roll inside. Have a room full of enemies and low on ammo? Morph into a nearby turret and destroy them all without wasting any of your precious bullets.

Certain abilities will completely change how you approach certain encounters. Do you set up traps on the floor and lure the unsuspecting person into them? Will you activate combat focus to slow time down to a crawl? Or maybe you like throwing lighting bolts or charming your enemies so they do the fighting for you?

As you progress, the enemy types, as well as their threat level, will expand. They will cause you to be more thoughtful about how to attack certain situations since some can disable you with stun, anti-gravity, and fear attacks. Learning what each enemy can do and their weakness will be key. That is done by scanning them with the psychoscope.

Highlights

Prey definitely shines in a lot of areas, especially in the combat department. Fights are often fast and frantic and enemies will retreat and hide to try and catch you off-guard. This can happen often with the small mimic creatures that can morph into just about any object in the environment. This causes a certain level of suspense, especially when you’re venturing into a new area for the first time. Everything from the chair at a desk to the garbage can in the corner could be a deadly mimic waiting for you to come into range and attack you. Thankfully Prey features a robust auto-save feature that activates every time you swap zones, anytime you enhance yourself or weapon, and periodically after certain checkpoints within missions.

Finally, I want to commend Arkane Studios for pulling off Prey’s space traversal. Often you will find yourself outside of Talos 1 and this a huge area. I mean it is space, right? The controls are done so well that I didn’t feel bad when a mission would send me outside.

Final Reaction for Prey

Overall Prey is an excellent game with tons of promise with moderate to excellent replayability. There are multiple save slots for experimentation. This is helpful since you can test certain things out before deciding whether to proceed with a story’s direction. It is stifled a bit by a lack of variety when it comes to enemies and its clunky map/inventory system. That makes it difficult to track down specific objectives at times. This paired with a lack of fast travel and longer than ideal load times may be a turn-off for some players. However, this ends up being a minor nuance in the grand scheme of the game.

Anybody who was disappointed with the original 2006 version and is skeptical of 2017’s Prey will be happy to know that this is the Prey title that’s worth every minute of gameplay. (Although, don’t expect to hear that iconic Blue Öyster Cult track, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”.) For some reason it is the most memorable thing from the previous title for me.

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

*Prey was reviewed using a PS4 retail download key provided by Bethesda Softworks.

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Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 320 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.