PREY: Welcome to TALOS-1 Review


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.


Prey

Reviewed on: PS4 | Time spent: ~30 Hours | Uncompleted Upon Review

Immersion: A

Playability: B+

Multiplayer: N/A

Grievances: Low

Overall: A-

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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

RE “I don’t want to be in this house” 7

Overview

From the moment I started the game, after all the cut scenes, I felt like this would be pretty immersive. The back woods look amazing. The opening cut scene didn’t really look that hot and I was hoping they did a better job on the environment and they did. While it’s not quite 60fps, you are still given pretty amazing graphics, by RE-engine standards. One thing that stood out is that the actual game looks better than the demo, which is rare. In RE7 you play as Ethan whose wife, Mia, disappeared 3 years ago and magically sent an email saying where she was with a picture of herself and other papers, so as Ethan you go to the swamp to a house that was mentioned in the email and begin to look for your wife. Besides the characters we are introduced to in the demo, the character design and detail could have been a lot better. However, the environment detail surely makes up for it.

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Controls

The controls are very similar to the demo with almost no changes. The touch pad is used to bring up the map and the objectives, like “run from everything”. Hand gun controls are kind of annoying and almost absent like they did this on purpose, while other weapons feel better.

Audio

Slow creeping of music and combination of very detailed movement with natural sound makes it an auditory game as well. I always hype about having a good surround sound but this time around I so suggest if you haven’t made an investment in surround sound, games like RE7 are practically made for it.

Story / Mechanics

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Story is slow and the explanations of things are straight lined. However, it’s all in good old fashion RE 1 like surroundings and creepy over tones. The game does a good job of pulling you in and keeping you in the constant struggles of “do I go in there or not” while knowing you have to progress further through the story. Like in very earlier RE games you have a single point of saving, a tape recorder. Which if you remember the first Resident Evil it was a typewriter. Dark is Dark inside RE7, even with brightness kind of high you can still see pitch black corners and hallways. Don’t rely on the demo to get you through the first part of RE7, while many things are the same, details are very different and you will find things in different places. I’ll personally recommend playing on Normal Difficulty, Madhouse Difficulty will defiantly combine RE7 with Dark Souls. Healing after taking lots of damage does come about in a silly Far Cry way but doesn’t really take from the overall experience.

Lighting and tessellation are greater than expected. The lighting, once in the confines of the house, becomes apparent. The tessellation is spotted early on as you are under the guest house for a brief moment (you don’t know how hard it is to write about it without giving anything away).

With that said, RE7 makes you feel uncomfortable walking around for long amounts of time without anything happening then when something does happen you feel like the game is really giving you a break. If you’re looking for jump scares you may find some but I’m not that much of a jump scare person, so I can admit there was just one moment that did make me jump and that is worth $60 to me personally.

Pet Peeves

While the gun control is bad and I stated it before, the fact I couldn’t zoom in on all items kind of sucks. I wanted to know more of the lore and what happen in this house, I was hoping to get some information from the items other than Ethan’s perspective.

The House of Horrors

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RE7 looks to be a good setting for a good horror game that really doesn’t play like other RE games and if you are going into this as a RE game, don’t; it’s too different to be pinned against the rest of the sister games. It is survival horror in its most basic form and the execution of the horror/thriller is good but not great while it does make you uneasy, here and there, there are still areas in which it could improve on it. I would love to see another installment based off of this design. In the end, for now, without considering DLC or other factors, RE7 gets a C+.

Watch Dogs 2 | Everything Is Rooted

Smoother and more fluid than its predecessor, Watch Dogs 2 ups the ante improves the story and gives us a better protagonist to rally behind.


/Gameplay

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A subtle but no too demanding initiation starts your journey. The menu and controls seem too condensed as if it would be better playing with a keyboard. With so many approaches to how to handle a situation it sometimes feels like you don’t have enough buttons on the PS4 to make things just a tad bit simple.
The cover system is not bad but not good either. It makes since to me to take from The Division or Farcry to enhance the cover system, either way it’s not terrible. At times you may find yourself floating over objects and edges, it could be a source of entertainment until your being fired at and it quickly transforms into frustration.

The driving physics are poor. It seems every car has super-soft tires making overly normal turns look like it’s on a slot car race track. I do enjoy the near realistic crash and damage, too many rear-ends and your car will not be speeding anytime soon. Vehicle controls are bit cumbersome with the whole touch to control the media or using L1 as you drive. Luckily in a chase against the 1-time quick L1 hacks still prove to work smoothly, I hope that you don’t have to take your eyes off to hold down L1 to see a mini-menu for more select options, figure out which one and then pass the object you was going to hack right before selecting it; that would make me mad.

Sneaking and using the toys at your disposal are very fun and enjoyable, while full on combat could be improved; however this isn’t terrible but does take some getting used to. Like the cover system, the combat should have picked up some tips from other games. It seems like they just tried to improve over the initial installment.

Hacking is at its best and give a very open-ended-like play through as you can choose and/or combine different approaches to getting the job done. Growing the hacking abilities also proves to be something to strive for and can easily be done by completing side missions and discovering research points. When it comes to figuring out what to do next choosing a mission, finding a clothing store on the map, car retrieval, scouting and other tasks all come from your phone; mirroring how we basically are today. I find it a bit of a play on our reality and it was well implemented into this game.

/Graphics

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While many would say that the first Watch Dogs came very short of their E3 demo; Watch Dogs 2 is a slight improvement. Not amazing but defiantly better than Watch Dogs. Not that many pop-in textures and very little faults here and there. There are still a lot of clipping, collision errors and flicker. Lighting is decent and character detail is ok as well.

/Sound

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Effects and speech are improvements from the first installment. Acting is pretty good and the sync could be better from other NPCs but for the main story ones the sound sync is great. Sound effects are crisp and music blends are nice and not too loud definitely a plus if you have a very good sound system. Ambient sound is randomized and does bring more detail into the game, almost as well as GTA.

.Connected

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Right out the gate, not including the online experience (which they didn’t have ready at day 1) not including a PS4 Pro play through, Watch Dogs 2 deserves a solid B. If you are a Final Fantasy fan, wait until that drops before picking up Watch Dogs 2. If you just got Dishonored 2 then you can wait for a bit before checking this out. If you haven’t bought a game since CoD or BF1 then this can be your next purchase. If you didn’t like the first Watch Dogs then don’t buy this one, I would heavily suggest renting or borrowing it first. For this to be the second came it almost plays as if this is the 3rd or 4th game, I had to remind myself that this is only the second title.

I’m impressed with this year, not too many flops and a few surprises here and there. With that said, I very much hope that FF15 will knock it out the park.

Battlefield 1. A beautiful representation of a horrible time.

EA DICE’s Battlefield 1 is well put together with a multiplayer probably at its best that it can be. I’m glad there is finally a multiplayer that has all roles/loadouts being effective in almost any map. Besides the multiplayer, the story and campaign is captivating as you play as multiple solders and here their take on the worst era in human history.

Graphics

I get it. It takes time to squeeze all of the juice out of a ps4 and while the graphics of battlefield 1 does look good, you don’t know how much is missing until you play it on pc. I haven’t yet, so with only playing the ps4 version I can say that it is good. Not too much texture popping, transitions are a bit rough and so are checkpoints. However, despite a few little nuances, the graphics are what you expect from the frostbite engine; crisp.

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Mishaps

Some gripes about Battlefield 1 that it is slightly buggy and does seem to punish you for it. There is no game that comes bug free however during multiplayer (not the alpha or beta) there are occurrences that do leave you quite vulnerable and during the campaign some bugs you can take advantage of. Nevertheless, none of the bugs fully depreciates the entire game.

Gameplay

The detail of introduction and the chaos of war is depicted just as crazy as the stories that came from it and seeing a German solder shell shocked and just walking around aimlessly during the shooting is brilliant. Sadly, after the swift introduction the AI falls down a bit, well maybe a bit more and you’re left with the same basic npc characteristics from previous titles. From a multiplayer aspect, everything is rainbows and sunshine. The multiplayer is reminiscent of battlefield 4 however it’s also nothing like it at the same time. Combat is more sporadic, spread over a much larger landscape with battles overhead and all around. The blinding of light, smoke and weather make it more intense. Soundtrack is nice and very hopeful. The sound effects are really good. This is the perfect game for those with medium to large surround sound systems.

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Other thoughts

I like the fact that this game doesn’t try to give you why these events happened or the politics of it. It doesn’t try to spin it from a fictional standpoint either. The goal, I believe, was to give the gamer the experience of time where the chance of dying; the fear of engagement and the gloom of war was just another Tuesday and how maddening the whole war was as over 10 million solders lost their lives.

Overall DICE did a phenomenal job making it look and feel slightly different, enough to make me want to buy it and the multiplayer is decent. For now before any DLC drops the grade I give it is a B-.

If you’re on the fence, I’ll say stay there or rent it. If you love the battlefield series then this is surely something you might be interested in. If you’re thinking between this and Mafia 3 or waiting for CoD I would suggest renting it first.

Uncharted, for the last time?

Right off the back U4 is a very well put together game that starts off similarly as U3. In fact Naughty Dog has been pulling out the same mechanics and technique since the beginning. Well if it isn’t broke… however, can a game solely survive on the story and suspense alone?

So I didn’t read any reviews and no articles about U4 at all, I wanted to surprise myself and was really shocked to learn that Co-Op won’t be available until around August timeframe. Kind of a bummer.

Gameplay
Let’s start it off with something that hasn’t changed. The game play mechanics is still the same with no improvements, well to be fair, it doesn’t suck either but by now I would expect something things to be just a bit different or better.

Gun fights have that similar feel as well but still packs that suspense and chaos of previous titles. Finishers are smoother and there are more improvements making it more swift and flowing. I find headshot to be a little bit more of a challenge but changing some settings fixed most of that.

Cover system improved slightly by using the environment more, however, getting away from alerted enemies is slightly more difficult that it should be.

Obstacle interactions between Nathan and Sam are seamless and looks like you’re watching a cut scene. Driving is typical but still an improvement over U3.

Story
What can a say it’s a Amy Hennig sorry, Naughty Dog story. Any who, topnotch amazing and gripping like a large budget movie. It doesn’t get any better that and they have proven once again that a story, when told correctly with great direction can carry a series on its own.

Graphics
Wonderful. Even though it would probably never be on PC, U4 should be just to experience it at 60fps with even more tessellation and lighting effects. If you seek game solely based on graphics Uncharted 4 will be impressive. A true testament to game design. Somethings, I could tell right off, were added profusely to show “look what we can do” and while that is cool it’s also kind of forces certain dialog or “look here” spots that, later on, get slightly annoying.

Overall the graphics are very good and actually more than what I expected and if you thought that the e3 graphics was going to make it into the final game, please don’t expect things like that.

Sound
Why don’t people talk about sound in games? Music and sound effects matter… lol. Seriously if you do not have a surround sound system then you lose a lot of value from this game. The sound and music is very good. The DTS and Dynamic Range is really good. I also enjoy the extra setting added in to tweak the delay, spatial profile and channeling. To those who system is above 500w will be greatly rewarded with theater quality brilliance.

Multiplayer
While upsetting that co-op isn’t ready, still the multiplayer is there with only a few modes for now and, I guess, because of the delay in making the game, most if not all of the content in the future DLC’s will be earn-able but free. So… this is where the 60fps ended up. I knew the game was held back to 30 but they did promise that it would develop some aspects to 60 and they did it in multiplayer. Clean and very smooth, I love it. Maps are ok to start with and the powerups kind of even the playing field a bit. I would need more time to say if it’s just as good as U3 and probably need to wait on more content too.

Charted
The Uncharted series is a good series and each one has its best moments. Each one became a hit and each one kind of stands on its own and can be played without knowing who is who.

With that said Uncharted 4 is the best one in the series and not because of gameplay, graphics or mechanics but because of the story, the way it’s portrayed, driven and conversed. It one of the few series/games that define “Adventure”; however, no solid “A” grade, even though I would love to give it that.

I must give it an A-.

Nearly perfect.