Prey: First Impressions

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I’m going to give you a little bit of Prey because I don’t want to give it too much exposure, because it’s a game that is very much like BioShock and System Shock, an experience that you should start immediately.  I think we have something special here, something that is original and unique that gave BioShock a special kind of fairydust that ended up being a complete masterpiece.

Outside of an introductory sequence where I’m told to look up and down, run, and other videogame things, Prey is a game about exploring wide open spaces I was surprised at this and even more so the basic gameplay perspective that resembles BioShock. In a way this doesn’t really surprise considering a few veterans from BioShock ended up at Arkane, but Prey resembles more of System Shock than it’s successor.

Prey is completely different than Dishonored. Where Dishonored is a steam punk world of political intrigue, mistrust, and assassination, Prey takes place on Talos I in the midst of an Alien outbreak. But in it’s philosophy, both games are mining those same origins that made the PC resurgent again in the late 1990’s to the early ‘2000s with games like Deus Ex, Thief, System Shock, and in some respects BioShock, a game that came out in the late ‘2000s. Prey is more like System Shock and BioShock than Thief and Deus Ex.

In perspective and in practice, this works completely because Prey has a haunted-house thing going on and you can’t trust anything, including a chair or a coffee mug. You play as Morgan Yu, male or female ( the game makes you decide.) and your surivival and escape relays on discovering the mysteries of the space station. It’s clear to draw a line in the sand between  SHODAN’s effort to derail the protagionst in System Shock and the bad shit that’s going on in Prey, alot of things in this game remind me of SHODAN and there’s alot more but as I said, I’m going to give you a very small sneak-peek here.

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As  you explore Talos I, you’ll find neuromods which enable powers and this is where the BioShock feel comes in, these powers range from physical strength to turning into a mug, turning into a mug is quite surreal and weird. Prey’s skill system is tailored to the sense of exploration and experimentation in the same way that BioShock and BioShock 2 did way back when. The skills you take seem to have pronounced effect on the world around you, in the way enemies see you or how  you do combat. Turrets who are friendly to you will open fire on you if you upgrade too much.

Combat in Prey is something you want to do or something you can do but sometimes it’s optional, there are guns but ammunition is scarce and seemed poorly suited to the threats within the game, especially when at first they don’t seem as threats.

The enemies in Prey are something very similar to the black blobs of energy that was seen in the original version of The Bureau: XCOM Declassified that released in 2013, Prey does a great job on delivering tension and terror when it comes to these enemies, they managed to scare me once or twice. Prey does a great jump to scare you and keep you on your toes, and sometimes making you feel paranoid of whatever piece of furniture that you come across.

There’s more here that I’m not saying because I’m trying to keep it as vague as possible, but the first hour is completely amazing and it’s worth that you pick it up. The first hour is intense and effective and I hope that continues for the rest of the game.

 

 

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