Game Title: PREY
Platforms: PS4, PC, XBOX ONE
Release Date: May 5, 2017
This was, for these reviewers, an odd gaming experience.
“What do we mean?”
Well, the marketing for PREY seemed to portray the game as an action packed, first person shoot ‘em up… yet folks online were touting the RPG perspective of the game. So what the heck is it? A first person shooter or an RPG?
The answer is, the game is not a single form of any inside the box gaming. Arkane Studios really thought outside the bun here, just like one of our favorite pregaming fuel up spots. As you start playing, you’re immediately dropped into a totally immersive environment. It appears you’re getting in a helicopter on a high-rise building to be whisked off, but don’t believe your eyes… or your ears for that matter. Nothing is what it seems in this game, and that is really what captured our interest.
Admittedly, it was frustrating at first. There isn’t really a built-in tutorial feel to give you the bearings you need to get going quick. There are “tutorials” available in the options menu, but nobody really wants to do that, right? You want to just seamlessly and naturally figure out how the controls work and be given a clear direction on what you should do. PREY does the opposite, and at first we were ready to turn the game off and take it back, but we forged on and before long, we could NOT put the game down. The lack of direction that frustrated us at first soon became what we loved most about the game. It’s as if you are truly the lead character of the game, MORGAN YU (male or female, they give you the option). You have no clue what’s going on at first, but it’s okay, because neither does your character. YOU decide what to believe and who to trust. Should you listen to your brother who tries to convince you of what your thoughts are, or should you listen to the robot that has your voice and supposedly YOUR directions on what to do and where to go?
One very exciting element of PREY is that there is not just one way to complete an objective. Say there is a locked door you need to get in, and you don’t have the access code. Look around your environment. Maybe there is an air vent up high or some duct underneath your feet. Is there a button on the other side of the door you can use a foam dart gun to activate? Maybe you can find a passcode via the computers in the space station, because guess what… there are actual emails on each terminal, maps, well acted audio logs, etc. Arkane does a wonderful job of painting this haunting space station environment. So these are really the RPG elements of the game. You can decide to help the people you meet, or if you don’t believe them… well, let’s just say you can launch them out into space, whack ‘em with a wrench, or let the aliens rip them apart.
Though there are a few guns in the game, you’ll soon find they are not necessarily the best way to deal with your opponents whether they are the aliens (Typhon), rogue turrets, or corrupted engineer robots. As you go through the game, you study the different aliens you have to fight. As you gain knowledge, you can use “nueromods” to inject this knowledge and abilities into your system. You’ll discover that using a lightning blast or increasing your health is far more beneficial than loading up that shotgun. You’ll also need to gather materials to recycle and fabricate your bullets, guns, EMPs, etc… there isn’t much of just finding random boxes of ammo lying around like a regular shooter game.
PREY is a wonderfully bizarre game that will grab you, pull you in, and before you know it, hours will have passed. That’s why despite our initial knee jerk reaction and a few glitches in the gameplay, we are certifying this game as a quarter muncher! Because if this game was in an old school arcade, we would be pumping in those hard-earned silver coins to find out what happens next. Our advice is play through the game once quickly (around 16-20 hours), then go back and really delve into the game and do all of the smaller tasks and enjoy the details (40 hours-ish).
Until next time, keep on pressing start!