Is This Prey Worthy of the Pursuit? – Review

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Prey was a 2006 game by Human Head Studios that brought in some truly innovating gameplay to the FPS genre. It was like little else before it.  Now fast forward to 2017 and Prey has been revived, mostly in name only as this is more of a spiritual sequel to System Shock, by Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks, but fans of the original should be aware there are elements of the original present here.

Prey plays as a hybrid between survival horror and first-person shooter and does so admirably. Bethesda games are well known for having some glitches and shaky models, it’s expected by now and there is a charm to them. Prey takes these shaky models and glitches and makes them into gameplay elements. Everywhere you go there are enemies of some kind, and the game gets really creative with them. I have to give it to Arkane Studios, the enemies in the game are well thought out and well designed. The enemies can be anything and this creates a great degree of paranoia that is perfect for the game. You will never know where the enemy is, because of the nature of the enemy. This game is billed as the spiritual successor to System Shock, and I truly feel it surpasses its inspiration. It successfully pushes horror to the next level, while mixing in a perfect amount of action.

The game offers unique abilities as part of the story, and these offer so much variety in the gameplay. Prey is a unique type of game, given its story and the way the game lets you go about it. Using the abilities is a big part of the game, but the game makes it personal when you use the powers. It messes with you and forces you to question everything.  It’s a great twist on the usual Survival Horror and FPS gameplay and a welcome innovation.  The game’s abilities, while new and not those of the original game ( again, this is an in name only reboot), still does have a feeling of a connection to the original. This might be surprising but the original Prey’s abilities had a psychological impact that is present in many ways in this game. There are humorous aspects as well, such as becoming different objects which are amusing and great for getting ahead in the game. It is really well done and when used right, creates a rewarding experience, There are also the game mechanics that stand out, such as recycling, and the various weapons and upgrades. Prey is a game you will want to play through more than once ( more on that in just a bit), and it will definitely continue to be fun and exciting,

The story is interesting, if a bit flawed, and has some very neat twists. That said, the way the storytelling is done through the gameplay is good and the visual style of the game adds to its enjoyability a great deal. The big thing for me with the immersion was the music. The soundtrack was absolutely amazing and some of Mick Gordon’s best work, and helps to both set the mood and draw the player in, in the right way and at the right time. It switches from intense action to creepy scares in just the correct amount and keeps things fresh for the player. The story of the game takes a while to appreciate, and there are pacing issues and some things that still don’t work well ( the flaws mentioned), but once it is complete, you will want to play the game again to see how it all fits together. Admittedly, the story isn’t the draw of the game for me, but it plays its part well in the game. That said, the characters are developed well and the setting and scenario and very well thought out and developed. Arkane said they wanted Talos I to be a character itself and they accomplished that.

Prey’s biggest flaw is that the pacing in general, not just in the story, seems off at times, but that can be easily overlooked. All in all, I think Prey is another knockout title from Arkane and Bethesda, and I cannot imagine not recommending it. It just feels great to play and I want more of this experience. It was really well done.

 

Disclaimer: A code was provided by Bethesda for the purposes of this review.

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