For those at home asking, is this a follow on from 2006's Prey? Well, not really, it feels more of a sequel to 1994's System Shock if anything, though with a hint of Bioshock thrown into the mix. Like System Shock, you’re encouraged to explore and of course fight your way through the forever, enemy infested levels. Exploring in Prey is essential and the game gives you all the right tools to not only explore those hard to reach places, but the ability to forge your own path to reach and complete objectives.
The opening moments of Prey has you, Morgan, running some standard tests before being able to board Talos I. It doesn’t take long before shit hits and fan and an escaped Mimic quickly puts a stop to the experiments.
As I mentioned before, your main enemy are Typhons, with the smallest of the bunch being mimics. These are crafty and sneaky little S.O.B. that can take the form of objects around you such as coffee cups or rubbish bins, so be careful, you can never be too sure. When you’re faced with one, they can be a little tricky to hit. Worse still, if you keep missing and you run out of stamina, while you’re catching your breath, you’re left open for attack. As you progress deeper into Prey, the Typhon become tougher, and you’ll start running into phantoms, and there are a few different types. First up are “Aetheric Phantoms” that can split in half as well as morph around the room. The second are “Voltaic Phantoms”. These a-holes can short out lights and mess up your equipment big time leaving you vulnerable. These are just a few different types of Typhon's you’ll encounter.
So how do you take down a Typhon I hear you ask? Well, a number of different ways. The most useful weapon I found was the GLOO gun that shoots a foam that freezes Typhons in their tracks giving you the chance to beat them to death with your trusty old wrench. There are also other weapons hidden throughout the game such as shotguns, pistols as well as EMP grenades, so be sure to explore, because while the GLOO gun is great againsts the small, more basic mimic’s, you’re going to need some real firepower for the bigger guys.
Prey is aggressively difficult. Going up against a few enemies is not fun and can take some time to work out. What makes it even harder is getting to a room full of enemies only to find you’ve used all your ammo up on the area before it. While ammo is hard to get hold of at times, it can be crafted from the recycler and fabricator in Morgan's office using junk you’ve collected along the way.
The game doesn’t make it easy for you to proceed all the time, requiring you to think of other solutions in order to keep moving forward. As you play you’ll be able to find and inject yourself with neuromods. These will give you access to new skills and abilities that include hacking, increased health and stamina. Later on in the game you’re able to learn Typhon powers that give you the ability to turn into objects, use a kinetic blast to push enemies back and damage them or even create phantoms that will fight for you. Though be warned, if you install too many Typhon powers, Talos I's security system will turn against you making things even more difficult.
Getting around and exploring is by far Prey's best feature. As you play you’ll come across a lot of locked doors and it’s entirely up to you how you get around this. There is always a way into a room, that at first glance, looks impossible to get into. If you aren’t lucky enough to find a keycard or code laying around, using objects or methods the game throws at you can be useful, such as a dart gun to pop the door button, hack a computer console somewhere or even morph into a coffee cup though a small gap. There are many alternate ways into rooms, so think outside the box.
As for most games these days, there always seems to be at least one technical issue that gets bought up and Prey is no different. Regardless of what platform you play it on, loading screens between areas can last anywhere between 40 and 60 seconds. Not as long as some games lately, but still a little annoying. But on a positive note, the game looks great. Talos 1 is decked out with designs from all different periods. Break rooms are full of retro fridges and appliances while medical center have futuristic looking gear and gadgets. Art deco prints line the walls, while huge sculptures hang over lobbies. Arkane’s attention to detail is second to none.
Is Prey worth your hard earned dollars? I think so. Prey will fuck with your head for most of the 30+ hours story and having you change your underwear more times then you’d like. Arkane has delivered an outstanding game along with some outstanding gameplay. If you enjoyed Bioshock or Dishonored, or just a huge fan of System Stock, then you’re going to love Prey.
Prey is out now for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.