Reviews from now on will have the following categories:
- Immersion – graded value on story, sound, setting and effects
- Playability –graded value on interaction and interfaces
- Multiplayer – graded value on multiplayer experience
- Grievances – an Ultra-low, low, medium, high, ultra-high value that determines the bugginess and how they affect the playability and immersion.
The overall score will not be an average of the categories but an overall of the entire game will all areas included.
The title and the score of each category will be first then the article review after it.
Reviewed on: PS4 | Time spent: ~30 Hours | Uncompleted Upon Review
Prey, from Bethesda and Arkane Studios, has not only changed the way I review games but has also changed how I perceive games as well. Prey’s ability to make you invested into the story and the event around TALOS I is awe-inspiring. I thought for sure that this would be your typical shooter / MacGyver style game. It is not. This game does not hold your hand you can literally do whatever you want and play however you want. I the only game in my book that has gotten the concept of “reward the wise” correctly.
Prey may go into most collections as an underdog, a game that was ok; but you have to look at it in detail to get the full picture and see the amazing accomplishments it has achieved. The first thing to note is that the beginning will set everything up and is a big part of you getting invested into the character. Not only do you not know what is going on but there is a believable explanation that you don’t really question because it makes sense. The game’s first trick sticks with you and if you already saw the trailers you know what lies ahead.
Another thing the game got right is the aliens. These creatures are slick, intelligent (at times) and mostly unpredictable when they are alerted. Mimics will be the main reason why you become paranoid. Phantoms are almost always a must to avoid in the early parts of the game and Nightmares are well… titled Nightmares for a reason.
The fact that you are not alone and have the possibility to save others is a good thing. Most space-related horror games pin you as the sole survivor trying to piece together what happens, but Prey puts you in the middle of a catastrophe just 2 days after the collapse of TALOS I’s containments. While there is little hope for survivors they do appear and are scattered about putting a nice edge to dealing with the aliens.
With that said the tasks you do take on more meaning and while most are, on paper, repetitive, it doesn’t feel that way at all. It’s more like how it would be if the game occurred in a more realistic sense. With things that are out but can be repaired, locating individuals for information or access to certain areas and figuring out ways to other places by avoiding the aliens.
Just like how the gravity gun in Half-life 2 changed gaming forever so does the GOO gun. It effectiveness throughout the game it amazing, you’ll be using it far within the game and I believe up to the end. It makes overpowered aliens easier to deal with and easier to get away from. Other than that, the combat is straight forward with some good fun in between. And the fact that you mostly have to craft your ammo and supplies you realize quite early you have to check out every part of TALOS I to make sure you have enough to keep you going.
Neuromod is another aspect of the RPG element with Prey. Upgrading yourself comes with many many choices and two paths to go down or to paths to combined, human based neuromods or Typhon (alien) neuromods. These are, without a doubt, necessary to level out the playing field and make it less of a cat vs mouse game.
Once you realize that not only should you pick up everything but also read everything for codes, passes, or knowledge of stashes, Prey becomes a complete obsession and very immersive, never has a boring moment and you will be glad when you do have a moment of silence and able to rest for a few minutes.
Each game has its bugs and for Prey, there is a couple. One of the biggest thing that personally got on my nerves was the low audio of the transcribe. You can barely hear the live feeds and the audio files you pick up, this could be my surround sound but this should also be coming through the controller, in my opinion, or at least have a choice where it comes from. Music is great but right when there are constant aliens and dramatic situations it’s hard to hear what is going around you. If you want to turn that immersion up some more… go at it with the music completely off after you went through the Lobby for the first time. Jumping is something of an art form and with the GOO gun, it becomes difficult at times. The same can also be said about the height differences in vents/floors that force you to jump and get stuck at times and with a Phantom chasing you, that the last place you want to get stuck.
Despite its flaws, Prey comes out strong. I personally find it better than Dead Space, it’s more immersive than Zero Dawn and has an aura similar to Half-Life that I haven’t seen in a game in a long time.