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Prey (PS4) Review

May 15, 2017 | Posted by Mark Salmela
8.5
The 411 Rating
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Prey (PS4) Review  

Prey box art

Title: Prey
Publisher: Bethesda
Developer: Arkane Studios
Genre: Action Adventue
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature

Prey is an open world action adventure shooter with RPG elements, similar to games like BioShock and System Shock before it. 2017’s Prey has undergone a long, complicated development history. The original Prey back was released as a first person shooter on the Xbox 360 in 2006. It was inspired by Half-Life, and interestingly enough had a heavy emphasis on Portals a full year before Portal was released as part of the Orange Box collection, which took the video game industry by storm. Work began on a Prey 2, which this reviewer even saw a behind closed doors demo of at E3. It was a wildly different game with a bounty hunter feel that never saw the light of day. Prey 2 was eventually cancelled, and the Prey franchise was rebooted. 2017’s Prey has nothing to do with the original Prey or the canceled Prey 2, and is a completely standalone game.

The main character of 2017’s Prey is Morgan Yu, but the star of the show is a not so little space station called Talos 1. Prey wastes no time in starting off with a huge twist that sets up the rest of the game. It’s a clever, unique way to set-up the story and create a sense of mystery about what exactly was going on at Talos 1. In the first few hours of the game you’ll learn all about Morgan Yu and how he or she ended up stranded on a nearly deserted space station. You’ll get to determine Morgan’s gender and personality, with choices throughout the game influencing the story. There aren’t a ton of human characters to interact with, but the few who are there are meaningful, with important story details and side quests.

space

One of the easiest comparisons to Prey is BioShock for just how well-realized the world is. Both Rapture and Talos 1 are chalked full of personality, with lots of unique areas to explore. Both Rapture and Talos 1 look like they were created in the 1950s. And most importantly, it becomes obvious very early that something is amiss in both Rapture and Talos 1. They don’t need to be dim-lighted and dark to be scary. It’s clear from the moment you enter the open world that something has gone terribly wrong, and now it’s up to you to figure out how you’re going to escape.

There are a lot of RPG elements integrated into Prey, even more so then the BioShocks and System Shocks of the world. Almost every weapon you find can be customized and upgraded using upgrade skits scattered about Talos 1. Your suit can be upgraded to deal with the different character status effects such as radiation poisoning. Even Morgan has his/her own skill tree, where you can upgrade everything from your hacking abilities, to your strength, to your inventory. For a game with so many RPG elements and resource collecting, your inventory is surprisingly limited. It’s extremely important to know where the recycle stations are in Talos 1, since you’re going to need the recycled resources to craft ammo and med kits.

Prey combat

Prey gives you the freedom to tackle situations in different ways, whether you want to hide in the shadows and stealth your way around enemies, or run in guns blazing. No matter what playstyle you choose however, Prey is a very difficult game. Even on the easier difficulty settings any enemy can kill you in rapid fashion, and trying to take on multiple enemies at the same time is a terrible idea. There is a unique weapon called the Gloo gun which allows you to create temporary platforms and encapsule the enemies in gunk, but it only slows them down and won’t stop them completely from attacking you.  One of the few downsides of Prey is that you never feel quite fast enough to dodge enemy attacks, so getting the jump on enemies and freezing them with the Gloo gun is critical.

Regardless of whether or not you choose to be stealthy or use brute force, you’re going to want to take advantage of your hacking and repairing abilities. Talos 1 is full of various safes and locked doors that will need to be hacked open unless you take enough time exploring to find the proper passcode. And on the other end, there are various robots and turrets across Talos 1 which can be repaired and turned into allies. At least that is until they no longer think you’re human, which happens the further you progress in the upgrade trees, especially once you start to get more experimental upgrade powers.

Prey Morgan

Pros

– Talos 1 is one of the best locations for a video game in a long while. You’ll want to explore every nook and cranny.
– For a longer than average game, Prey jumps right into the story with interesting twists and turns.
– The Gloo gun is an awesome weapon that’ll stop enemies in their tracks and allow you to create temporary platforms for exploring the environment.
– There are a wide variety of things to see, hack, repair, collect, and shoot.
– The music adds a lot to the eerie tension.

Cons

– The combat feels a little clunky.
– It’s almost impossible to dodge enemy attacks on a controller. Your character should be a little more nimble to deal with the agile enemies.
– Very little variety in the enemies.
– Long load times.
– For such a large game nothing feels completely original or unique to Prey.

8.5
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Prey is a surprisingly long game, complimented by an incredibly well-designed environment in Talos 1. There’s a real tension that never quite lets up, especially knowing that any enemy can kill you quickly if you’re not careful. There’s a lot to see and do, with plenty of upgrades to keep you hooked. Prey won’t win any awards for its combat, but everything else more than makes up for it.
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Prey, Mark Salmela

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