I remember the first Prey game, and how great it was. Not only because its visuals were very good but also because of how awesome the gameplay was. I had never played anything like it before so I immedietly liked it. Fast forward a decade later, and a reboot of the franchise is here. The new Prey is very different to the first game but that might not all be bad. I received a review copy of the game from the lovely people over at Bethesda and I've now played the game for several hours. I definitely have some things to bring to the table!
Platform: Xbox One S.
Introduction The introduction part in Prey is perfect, from how authentic everything first seems like to how weird it all is at the same time. Upon starting the game, I am introduced to the main character that I will be playing as. If my preference is to play as a female character, that is an option.
I never tried it, though and I'm not even sure what the female character's name is. Shortly after that, I wake up in an apartment. Morgan Yu, the character I play as, receives a phone call from his brother Alex, about some tests that he needs to do. I put on my suit and start to explore Morgan's apartment. I immedietly notice that everything seems very futuristic, which is because Prey is set in the 2030's. There's all kind of things that I can use or grab.
I picked up a nearby coffee mug and threw it away. I was able to activate the faucet, too, for example. After spending some time messing around in my apartment, I move ahead to the objective. A chopper is waiting for me to take me to the testing facility. Upon entering the facility, I am introduced to Morgan's brother, Alex. He actually plays a pretty big role in the game. Shortly after, I start the tests. They are short and somewhat strange due to the fact that each time I do a good job in a test, it is deemed weird.
They're basic tests, like having to hide as quickly as possible. After doing the last test, though, something weird happens. A black little creature pops up out of nowhere and attacks the scientists, resulting in Morgan fainting. This is where the game truly starts off, and where things goes creepy. Morgan discovers that he's been having memory issues, and that there's a backstory to it all. It's now up to him to figure out what's going on. Visuals/performance When I saw the first game, I was blown away by its graphical beauty. Like The Darkness and Riddick, it really stood out. The new Prey is No exception at all. One thing that is certain almost immedietly, is that it looks very similar to the Dishonored games, which isn't a bad thing (it's made by the same people that developed the Dishonored games, Arkane Studios). Even from just waking up in bed at the start of the game, I'm reminded about one of the traits that made the first game so special, the graphics.
Visually, it looks amazing. I think the Xbox One S version runs in native 900p, which is odd because this game should easily hit native 1080p on the console. It doesn't really matter since there's no visual difference, it looks just as good as native 1080p. Moving over to framerate, I never noticed a single framedrop at all. Splendid work. Audio design is great, too, especially the scary music that from time to time can be heard. Firing the shotgun sounds very authentic and well designed, and so does just about everything else as well.
Character design is not bad at all and is very similar to the Dishonored games, again. Effects like fire and electricity looks very good, with the shots of space outside of Talos 1 looking gorgeous, too. Everything looks amazing! I never stumbled upon any glitch at all either. Textures are of high resolution, it seems and the level design is really good. Each level/part of the station that I am able to enter, is very varied. In terms of looks, it's very much like Dishonored 2. The only weird thing I ever noticed is that some textures seem to load slower than other textures. Story The year is 2032. Talos 1, a space station orbiting the moon, is the center stage for experiment tests to change humanity forever. Morgan and Alex Yu, two brothers working together have invented the Neuromod, a device that you place on your eye to gain knowledge or powers quickly. It is designed for smaller things like learning to speak French immedietly but can be used for heavier stuff, too, if used correctly. There's a catch, however: if someone was to remove a neuromod, that person's memory since installing it, would be completely erased. Simply put, with a neuromod, someone could be the subject of experiencing the same day, each time it wakes up.
That's the case with Morgan Yu. Morgan and Alex Yu succeded with giving humans powers that wouldn't be possible before but their main goal was to implent the Typhon's powers into humans. Eventually, they succeded in that department, too. One day, the one thing that never was allowed to happen, happened. The Typhon broke out, Talos 1 is now overrun by highly dangerous aliens. It's now up to Morgan to save the situation. After a while, Morgan is contacted by an Operator made by himself to help himself later on, if he ever suffered from memory losses. You see, Morgan agreed to being tested on with Neuromods to achieve their goal but he knew that there were risks. In knowing so, he had a plan deep down with his brother to destroy Talos 1 if the Typhon ever broke out. The story in Prey is great, with at least two different endings that you can choose from. Like the Dishonored games, there are multiple ways of approaching an objective. For example, a locked door might seem like the only way to progress through but if explored carefully, alternate options will show up, to cater to every player's preference.
There are very many side quests, filling the game with hours of gameplay. NPCs sometimes asked me to go fetch something for them, or sometimes I needed to save someone, all impacting my ending. Throughout my time in Prey, I encountered many different enemies. The most common one is the Mimic, a small creature that looks like a spider, that has a very special ability where they're able to imitate objects such as a chair, for example, to gain an advantage over its enemies. It can be very confusing sometimes when they imitate an object and sometimes they suddenly pop out of nowhere, resulting in a jumpscare. The most frightening one is probably the nightmare, a giant Phantom that is hard to kill and that will from time to time appear to hunt Morgan down (a Phantom is a Typhon that's as tall as a human and that's pretty dangerous). Throughout Talos 1, I was able to read many different logs, either notes, or emails on a computer that shows how things were before the outbreak. I think the story is very deep and immersive, with great voice acting to top it all off. It's rather lengthy, too and it kept me wanting more throughout. It's kind of different to the first game but I think that's good, this side of the franchise is as great as the other side.
The story in Prey is simply amazing and keeps you in your seat at all times. Seeing all the NPC's reacting to the situation, and reading the logs they've made, is remarkably great. Seeing Morgan and Alex work together (not all the time, though since Alex doesn't really want to destroy everything they've worked on) to fix the situation, and to see the results of the outbreak, really gave me a sense of immersion. My ending was great and it was entirely based upon my choices within the game. I think the game really shines with its story, a story that'll force you to think it through in order to fully understand it. I really hope there will be a sequel, the ending kind of indicated that there could be one. In short, Prey's amazing story is definitely the best thing about the game. Gameplay Prey, like the first game, is a first-person sci-fi shooter (I don't remember if the first game had but this one has RPG elements). There's no third-person involved but the option to see Morgan's face, is there. There's an emphasis on the use of weapons but the option to use powers to eliminate enemies is there, too. However, if I want to sneak or even run past enemies, that option is a thing as well. I love the fact that they went with giving players a ton of freedom, it really feels great when I find an alternate way of moving forward. It features hacking for those, like me (sometimes), prefer to hack their way ahead.
Hacking works for unlocking computers/terminals to gain knowledge, to find crew members, and to activate utilities. It can also be used for robots and doors. Obviously since the game's set in space, there's space exploration outside of Talos 1 but mostly for traversing the station quickly. Arkane Studios did an amazing job with the shots of the moon, and space, though, wow! There is so much exploration to do, from exploring the crew quarters to just walking around in the lobby. The game is pretty creepy sometimes, especially with all the Typhons roaming the station. There are a lot of them, too, so I was never really safe. One of the coolest and most creative things I did was opening a locked door by shooting on a nearby terminal's touch buttons with a Boltcaster. I can also choose to never kill anything in the game at all, be it Typhon, machine or human. Moving over to how the gameplay is in general, I have to say that it's just great. It's varied, not too much action and there's a perfect amount of exploration.
It features RPG elements like a skill tree (in this case it's powered by installing neuromods), ranging from super human powers like being able to lift really heavy objects, further upgrading a weapon, and being able to hack more advanced doors or computers, to getting Typhon powers like kinetic blast, or mindjack. Like in many other games, the ability to upgrade weapons is featured, that works in the way of finding a weapon upgrade kit and then installing it to the preferred weapon. I decided to first fully upgrade my shotgun, which actually didn't take that long cause there's a lot of weapon upgrade kits. There's also chipsets that helps Morgan gain an advantage, like reducing the time it takes to pick up heavy objects, for example. After progressing through the story a bit, I picked up a helpful gadget called Psychoscope that is able to scan robots, Typhons and similar things. It is also used to gain access to more Typhon powers, by scanning them to explore their powers. I am able to access a inventory menu whenever I want to, that contains your weapons, medkits, food, ammo and such like. Another cool thing about the game is the fact that you can recycle just about anything that you can put in your inventory.
Recycling something gives Morgan material to use in fabricating things like weapons, medkits, neuromods, psi hypos, suit repair kits, and similar important things. It looks really cool at the same time! The game can get a bit challenging at some times but it never made me lower the difficulty. Honestly, the game's gameplay is actually very addictive, especially when you find more neuromods to get more powers, or when you find more weapon upgrade kits. Like the Dishonored games, I am able to kill any NPC in the game. All in all Prey is a superb sci-fi shooter with RPG elements that never stopped giving me hours of fun, exciting, and thrilling gameplay. The immersive and great story really gives the game character, and I loved the freedom that it offers. With the perfect gameplay options it features, I was never bored while playing. The RPG elements are rich and detailed, with a lot of options for every kind of player. To top it all off, the game looks and runs incredibly good. I enjoyed every second spent in the game and definitely recommend it to everyone! It's an amazing installment in the franchise and it's pretty different compared to the first game but honestly, I think we needed to see a different take on it, too. It didn't hurt at all.
Prey is available both digitally & physically, with a price tag of $30. A review copy was provided for review purposes. This review is written by Jesper Ingemansson and is based on his honest opinion about the game.