+An incredibly well written story that will drive you through 40+ hours of gameplay
+Easily stands beside games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution and System Shock
+Insanely large amounts of freedom to explore
+Typhon enemies are unique in design as well as their originality
+Zero G sequences are a fresh breath of air in the first person genre
+Strong FPS mechanics that serve well in the horror-survival elements the game offers
+Headphones are absolutely a must to enjoy the amazing depth of sound quality and music
-Not beginner friendly at all
-Fabricator is overly relied upon
-Inventory fills up entirely too fast due to materials
-Resource management is painful to deal with and rather tedious
When first looking at the title Prey, many may relate it to the 3D Realms published game of the same title. It was a game that took us on an adventure through space as protagonist Domasi Tawodi (Tommy for short) who lived on a Cheeroke Reservation in Oklahoma. His job was simple in the original, he was a mechanic who just happened to end up on the wrong side of a bad bargain.
After the game was rallied to obtain a sequel through Bethesda Zenimax, the title seemingly fell into obscurity since it was rarely spoken of, but when it was there was always trouble behind the door. It wasn’t until last year that publisher Bethesda Softworks came out at QuakeCon 2016 with an ambitious idea: A reboot. With their announcement, fans sat bewildered by the inconceivable thought, which left fans curious to what was going on.
Within the past few weeks, we’ve been able to sit with a copy of Prey on a PlayStation 4 and a PlayStation 4 Pro in order to see the differences in performance, but that’s not where we will begin. Prey by far is one of the most ambitious titles to come out of Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Dishonored 2) and it even sought out to distance itself from those two titles with quite a bit of easy. While reviewing, you must keep in mind that games are usually pushed out quick for their reviews. Some getting only a few days gameplay time, while others merely a few hours. Luckily for us, Bethesda is a company that is patient, and prefers reviews to take time before being published, which fortunately for us, is the same case we have here with the game Prey.
They’ll Never Hear You Scream in Space
To begin, Prey is one that invades a space that is overcrowded with first-person shooter titles. While the company has published many notable titles such as DOOM and the now in-closed beta Quake Champions, it seems that the genre is becoming once more-crammed with newly announced titles. To open up, Prey isn’t one that wastes time building up to its premise.
It’s a game that thrusts the player forth without hesitation. Basic controls are learned in a few short minutes such as jump, crouch, grab, and drop. Minutes after those said tutorials are done, players are then thrust into the world where they will learn to manage resources, craft items, and even move across Talos I as if they had been awaiting this moment all their lives.
Talos I is Alive. It’s a Breathing and Living Entity.
Prey is a game that follows closely among several notable titles such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution and System Shock. It’s a game that appeals to the science fiction fan inside of you that makes you want to stare into the stars and wonder, “are we really alone out here?”
Fortunately in the universe Arkane Studios has created, the answer is quiet easily spoken for you. We are not alone. We are in grave danger due to what lurks on Talos I and it can not be allowed to escape unless humanity is wanting to be put on the verge of extinction due to mimics. As you are wondering through Talos I, it’s hard not to soak in this games creepy and imaginative world, one that was so carefully crafted with meticulous details that sprawl across every corner of this space station.
Now that you are this far in the review, you may be wondering what the true core of the game is, what the best aspect is. Is it the story, is it the games appealing design, and its difficulty? Is it the sound design that brings Talos I to life as you go sprawling through space in zero gravity to reach another side of it or is it the FPS elements that bring the game to life as you combat enemies?
The truth is, none of the above is the main star of the show. Morgan Yu just happens to be apart of it that stands separated from the rest of the game in some earnest way. It’s not January or even Alex who stand as the star of the show. To be quite honest, I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s Talos I, an outerspace Titanic that has been besieged by oily black aliens that dart across the screen without hesitation in order to wrap their inky black tendrils around Morgans lifeless corpse after they’ve killed him or her.
Here is where Arkane Studios shines at their prowess in artistic direction, skill, and prestige. They are masters at creating a place that we can believe would truly exist. They are artisans that have mastered the art of story telling using some of the most basic elements possible.
Unlike many games that offer up beautiful scenery for us to see, such as Dustin noted in his review for Bulletstorm: Full clip Edition: Talos I is very alive. It is a place that creeps to life as you find yourself using the Goo Gun in order to evade enemy interactions. It’s a place that allows players to choose whether or not they wish to undergo many of the games chaotic fights.
Some take place where variant forms of the Typhon will stalk across the halls in order to bring you down with their psy abilities while others will simply morph into cups, luggage, or even a corpse in order to lure you in for their killing blow. It’s a game that offers up a need for attention to detail in order to prevent death. It’s a game that is, for all intents and purposes, a simulation of how you would survive in such a situation.
Your Choices Matter
One of the largest questions about trekking through this so perfectly created world is a topic of survival. Whether its creeping across metal beams, or simply morphing into cups to avoid contact, there are consequences for every action taken. As you proceed through the halls that have been painted in black from Typhon fluids, there’s a question that will be purposely placed before you, as much as one was placed in front of Alice after she went down the rabbit hole. How far will you go to survive? Will you allow for your neuromods to become a part of you or will you fight to retain your humanity the best you can?
Just like Dishonored, Arkanes latest title is one that makes every choice, every thought, and every action have a consequence. It’s a distinct theme that fits the game as the title becomes more riveting thanks to its themes of transformation and humanity. It’s a game that is effective at bringing these qualities to life as you fight your way through the games entirety. Become too in-touch with Neuromods, you find yourself becoming more, and more in-touch with the Typhon. If you don’t follow down such a route, you’ll find yourself fighting as a human, relying on your awareness, the technology around you, and you skill in stealth.
It’s one of the many features that will lure you in ever-more than before. It’s a game that is both entrancing and horrific, which gives the game a genuine feel in contrast to titles such as Call of Duty, which have lost sight of their original ideals. As you move through ever nook and cranny of Prey‘s Talos I, this becomes even more-so true as you begin to relate the games originality to already existing titles such as Dead Space, Deus Ex, System Shock, and even the original DOOM titles from the 90’s.
The Real Horror is Talos I Itself
Much as you’ve already come to know, this game is a beautiful blend of both psychological horror wrapped intertwined beautifully with action-based combat that connects so perfectly with the games profound and striking story. One that will take time for you to wrap your head around as you come down from its intoxicating experience. It’s a game that is beautiful, it’s hypnotic, but it’s one that is purposely aimed at those who ever questioned if aliens could be something out there and if we would ever understand them.
Much like few games that share the genre with Prey. You’ll find this game is a profound and competent shooter that doesn’t force you through you enemies as id Software’s smash-hit from 2016 DOOM did. Prey is one that follows suit with Dishonored‘s multi-play style approach that lets you solve problems in your own ways. This can include using the Gloo-Gun to lock enemies into place before hitting them with a telekinetic blast, or beating them down with a wrench in order to assure yourself they are dead.
Lets Talk About Those Cons
While Prey definitely deserves the appraisal I’ve given it, there is definitely some inner workings outside of the appraise the game has gotten that can be troubling to some. While fighting creatures of course sounds fun, the Typhon aren’t easy to take on head to head at all.
Because of how fast they move, there were many times I found myself cringing as much as Dustin did as we were wildly swinging our wrenches around trying to beat them down. Even though I was playing on easy, it is truly difficult to survive aboard the Talos I. Enemies hit hard, extremely hard, and their movements are more rapid than someone such as myself could handle.
There were moments that I found myself trouble enough that I stood up, handed the controller over to Dustin, and watched him combat the troubling mimics that I, myself, could not fight. When he wasn’t having to help me navigate, I too, just like him, found myself in trouble with having to use the fabricator quite often in order to dump out my inventory.
Resources are aplenty within the game, but some more-so than others, which will leave you starving for much needed elements in order to create health packs, ammo, or upgraded weapons. It truly became tedious after dealing with a swarm of Typhon enemies due to all the resources that become readily available.
Lets Talk Zero-G and Final Thoughts
Prey – PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), and Xbox One
Developer: Arkane Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Zenimax
Release Date: Available Now
Much as you would expect, Zero-G plays a rather large role in the game. There’s plenty of times you’ll find yourself spacewalking in order to get to once inaccessible areas within Talos I. This can include going to areas such as the Psythronics Lab where your opening hours will take you. It’s an element to the games core mechanics that Arkane Studios captured rather perfectly. They were able to perfectly take the idea of the what an authentic experience of floating in space would be like as well as the challenges that comes with it.
Things such as using guns in space will push you back, while accelerating too fast will thrust you forth, hurtling you towards a nearby colliding object, which makes your impact one that could very well kill you due to impatience. While these sequences are quite enjoyable, they help underline the theme of the game itself. A vertigo-inducing, disorientating adventure, where up and down are constantly being tossed around before you so that the blackness abyss of space is all that is between you and the death that creeps behind closed doors back on the Talos I.
It’s a game that gets the idea of just how freighting the emptiness of space is, even when aboard the Talos I, which is astounding with its size and scale compared to the inner workings of the station itself. Even with its few shortcomings, Prey is a game that isn’t scared to show itself within the opening hours.
This is a game that doesn’t shy away from the fact it is vast, it is huge, and it wants to be explored no matter how bad it scares you in the process. It is a game, for all intents and purposes, that can be called an artistic masterpiece that deserves to stand next to some of the largest names in gaming ever made.
Our review is based upon a retail version provided to us by the games publisher. For our review, we used a PlayStation 4 Pro with a 7200RPM HDD. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 8 out of 10
About the Writer:
David Murphy is B.A.T.G.R.’s behind the scenes man who helps get things up and going as well as keeping things in order. Don’t be surprised to know that the old man contributes rather heavily to editing, news, and information he digs up so that editorials as well as articles are done properly. He also likes Fallout… A lot. We’re not sure he’s not secretly the Vault Boy in disguise.