Prey is a franchise I come to fresh, having never played the first one, so I read up and spoke to friends to find out more about it. Bethesda bought the franchise and have changed it considerably, by more understanding the only similarities between this game and the original is that it is about some form of aliens. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so. I’m getting a little fed up of companies re-releasing a game that didn’t even come out that long ago. Personally, I have never played a bad Bethesda game so when I received this the day before release you can guarantee I was buzzing.
This review has taken a while to put together, and since playing the game I have seen a number of companies put out their review. Shame on them! We all know no-one had access to this before Thursday/Friday, and I have put in around 30 hours on this game and there is still a number of things I can do on it. Be wary of those early reviews as this is a game in which things are unlocked as you progress and some publications can’t have progressed very far before frantically typing out their reviews.
In terms of gameplay, I have heard a lot of people say that Prey doesn’t offer you anything new, and is just a merging on Dead Space, Bioshock and Dishonoured. I have to disagree – yes it does borrow elements from those three games, as well as others, but there are elements of originality sprinkled in along the way. Saying all that, if this game was a perfect merge of the aforementioned ones, then we would have a kick ass title here.
If you are looking for an out-and-out shooter, then Prey isn’t the game for you. Just blasting at every enemy you see isn’t going to win you many battles. There is no scope on the guns which make aiming more of a challenge, although there is a crosshair which is on the screen. This makes the game feel much more like a PC title in my opinion (which is good as I always get told the PC is the inferior console). What Prey does offer is a fantastic range of new and exciting weaponry.
Like most games, you have your silenced pistol and your shotgun, and there’s the wrench which you start off with, giving you the ability to break glass and tonk enemies on the top of their heads. The rest of the weapons give you a range of different abilities. There is the Gloo gun, which fires off a glue-like liquid to freeze enemies. This can also be used to create walkways to climb up walls, as well as stop fire leaking out of pipes and electricity escaping from open circuits.
What I love about this gun is how it makes everywhere explorable. You could be desperately trying to find a keycard to get to the top of a building when you realise that you can just use your Gloo gun to stick yourself a little gluey path on the ductwork. Running around an enemy is made so much more fun when you can bop him on the head and he can’t retaliate because he is all glued up. This isn’t the only cool weapon, either. There are the different types of grenades including the recycler charge which proves extremely useful after you have gained the Neuromod blueprint, meaning you can gather lots of materials to make more Neuromods (fantastic).
The enemies are also quite original and pretty freaky. Hiding as humans or objects is a great idea and really keeps you guessing every time you go near a cardboard box. I also loved some of the different baddies, with the poltergeist being the one I suggest you really look out for. Tricky little bugger!
Personally, I found Prey quite challenging in normal mode, and this made me think really carefully about how I was going to upgrade. There are a number of different areas with which you can do this, and I advise you to master one area first rather than try and span out your neuromods. Each area will give you more skills to open up and explore new ways to places. At the start, I decided to spread out my points and found myself always having to go the long way round to new areas.
The graphics had me a little confused – they were sharp, they were clean, they were pristine but they just left more wanting something a little bit more. I am sure you will understand when you look at them yourself. When you first see the facial animations and realise that what you are looking at, is a 2017 4K game you will find disappointing. I suppose the aspect of them I was most impressed with was that of the enemies, and they didn’t particularly have much detail to them. At no point during the proceedings did I find myself being amazed by what I was seeing. For me, they’re on par with Bioshock Infinite. Considering that game came out in 2013, I felt that this was a saddening thought. Saying that, Bioshock Infinite was a great-looking game, but I just wanted more from a 2017 game rendering 4K. Am I being too cynical, here? Possibly, but while I didn’t hate the graphics and they didn’t really affect how I found the game, I just wanted more and that is all.
With Prey being a horror adventure game, sound was always going to be important. For the soundtrack, Bethesda have used along with the voice editing, they really have hit the nail on the head. The aural experience is at the forefront of this game and keeps you constantly on edge. The timing of frightening/mysterious noises always seemed to be perfect. The screech made by the Poltergeist would have you at the edge of your seat. There was even one part where the sound had freaked me out so much I had to stop playing for a few minutes (DVDfever Dom adds: “I had that frequently with Thief II: The Metal Age when it was released, while playing at 4am with the headphones on!”).
Prey also boasts one of those soundtracks that you would never buy because it isn’t full of great songs, but you will always remember due to the uneasiness throughout. Characters are voiced perfectly and *finally* we have a game where the lip-sync is perfect. If you’re easily scared, then play this with the sound off. However, if you choose to do this I am sure the appearing of an enemy from a box of tissues will get you grabbing for your own Kleenex! There is absolutely nothing I would change about the audio and that’s a rare compliment from me on that aspect.
So, at this point in my review, you’ll have realised that I definitely enjoyed this game. In every aspect, it oozes class and I had a great time playing it. Prey, itself, doesn’t massively offer much replayability solely due to the uninspiring story, but that is what I loved about it – it doesn’t *need* a good story, since while playing it, you’re constantly on edge or having fun.
I loved the guns, I liked the enemies and I loved the atmosphere which lasted throughout. I have read a number of people saying this game will take you around 20 hours to complete, but it took me more like 25. Maybe I am a slow player, maybe I just did lots of exploring. Either way, I had a great time throughout the whole journey. There is so much more I can say about this game, but what I will say is – this is well worth a purchase.
Thanks to the Youtube channels featured for the gaming footage.
- Publisher: Bethesda
- Players: single-player
- HDTV options: up to 1080p
- Sound: DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
Director: Raphael Colantonio
Producer: Susan Kath
Writers: Chris Avellone and Ricardo Bare
Music: Mick Gordon
Aaron Ingram: Walton Goggins
Alex Yu: Benedict Wong
Danielle Sho: Mae Whitman
William Yu: James Hong
Morgan Yu / January (Male): Tim Kang
Morgan Yu / January (Female): Sumalee Montano
Medical Operator AI: Tom Kenny
Luka Golubkin: Ilia Volok
Yuri Andronov: Elya Baskin
Dr. Dayo Igwe: Ike Amadi
Walther Dahl: Steve Blum
Mikhaila Ilyushin: Eliza Schneider
Dr. Sylvian Bellamy: Stephen Russell
Dr. Lorenzo Calvino: Enn Reitel
Sarah Elazer: Iris Bahr
Miyu Sato / Station Announcer: Keiko Agena
Kaspar: Dino Andrade
Skillet: Cerris Morgan
Engineering Operator AI: JV Martin
Military Operator AI: Jocelyn Blue
Science Operator AI: Melissa Disney
I have been a video game player since 1993 and a music fan since I can remember. I studied Film and Journalism at university and ended up becoming a Primary School teacher. Video games changed my life and sent me on the right track and have stayed with me ever since.