Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Prey is a sci-fi RPG adventure that has both action and stealth elements. This version of Prey is made by a different company than the 2006 version of Prey, and while it has the same name, there isn’t a whole lot else they have in common.
2017’s Prey takes place on a large space station where you are part of an experiment. You have no prior memories, but you have different sources each trying to influence your actions. What you choose to do does have some influence the outcome of the story.
The gameplay has lots of combat, and plenty of sneaking around and exploring. Space walking in zero gravity is pretty neat, and it’s great that there are so many alternate routes for getting to your destination. I must admit though, I am a bit disappointed that there are no portals, no gravity walls, and no spirit walking; as those were features that made the old Prey so memorable.
The combat is fine; there’s a decent variety of weapons and special abilities to use. The special abilities that you copy from the aliens are more fun to use, but they also cost PSY energy to cast, so you can’t just spam them. As for regular gun ammo – it can take a several bullets to kill some enemy types, even with upgraded weapons. I also wish that the wrench for melee attacks had upgrades since I ran low on ammo quite often, and had to resort to melee damage or just running away to try and hide.
The world evolves as the game progresses, but even then, as you near the end and you’ve already explored, you might just want to run by the enemies to the next loading area. Just be careful if you do because the enemies might be waiting at that door when you come back through it.
The crafting system is fine, and it encourages you to explore thoroughly and scavenge almost anything you can find. First you have to recycle the items to break them down into their base materials, and then you use those 4 resources to craft new items. All recipes are learned once you find them somewhere. The crafting can only be done at fabrication stations, so it was inconvenient at times where there was no station nearby. I looted everything I possibly could, but I had a full inventory quite often. So I started to run into problems where I couldn’t craft more ammo, which was somewhat frustrating. I would have liked to have tried more of these special abilities, but there’s no way to respec the points once you spend them.
- the story is interesting, and you’ll probably want to find as much of the lore as you can
- good crafting system
- good exploration as you read documents, and listen to audio logs
- the game looks great; the environments are visually appealing, the character animation is decent, and the enemies are awesome, especially the mimics (the fact that nearly any object might be an enemy may make you a bit paranoid of your surroundings)
- the sound effects are done well, and the voice acting is good for the most part
- the music is decent as well, and it helped to create more tension while playing
- the performance is excellent
- the controls are fully customizable, and there is full controller support (the controls in zero gravity didn’t take too long to get used to)
- the stealth gameplay is a bit underwhelming, and the stealth is usually just you crouching out of site – need more stealth abilities (i.e. an actual stealth ability or longer range teleport)
- progression wise, it feels a little slow to get skill points and it feels like you don’t have enough points to spend (things like lifting heavy objects, increased inventory space, and hacking way take too many skill points after the first rank)
- some enemies take a lot of ammo or PSY power to kill (i.e. it’s kind of annoying to have to shotgun spam something point blank for it to die
- (nitpick) there is also a fair amount of backtracking through the space station as you complete the side quests and the main campaign
- (nitpick) there are sometimes issues where more than one voice is talking at the same time, and you can’t tell what either of them are saying
- (nitpick) full inventory can be irritating
The game took me about 11 hours to finish the main story with some of the side quests, but it would easily be longer if I completed all of the side objectives. There is replay value in that you might want to try a whole different skill set or try making opposite choices to see how much of an impact it has on the overall outcome of the story.
Ultimately, I think this new version of Prey is alright. There were some features I liked about the game that were implemented extremely well, but then there were other things that I thought could have been done better. All in all though, there’s plenty to do in Prey; it’s not a bad pick-up for those who are interested in a lesser version of Dishonored that happens to take place in space… Perhaps at a sale price though.