independent

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Prey - a tense, well executed thriller well worth your time

By Chris Hayes - Game Review

Prey contains elements from many different genres and packages them together in a concise and clever manner.
Prey contains elements from many different genres and packages them together in a concise and clever manner.

Prey is an undoubtably fresh title, sporting classic RPG elements in a dense and wonderfully explorable science-fiction envionment.

The first few hours of this game do a terrific job of seducing you into a state of semi-coma, where the hours spent playing the game seem to blur together until, suddenly you are 10 hours in and a full quarter through the respectable 40 hours of gameplay.

In Prey, the most interesting stories were the smaller ones I came across, those of the people who lived on Talos before, during, and after it was attacked by aliens. Between terminals containing all sorts of emails, well-acted audio logs, and thoughtful environmental storytelling, developer Arkane has done a fantastic job of making this bizarre place feel lived-in long before I ever met another living human.

There's so much storytelling treasure to uncover here, ranging from squabbles among co-workers to more personal notes like a scrapped proposal speech, Dungeons & Dragons character sheets, and even hilariously terrible in-universe science-fiction novel snippets.

While the developers did implement a reasonably interesting story and a lot of content towards said story, a lot of it feels like gratuitous exposition. Much of the actual story is delivered in such a fashion as to say 'we were here' more than anything, making it somewhat dull and certainly not on the level of similar titles such as Bioshock and Dishonored.

You're free to define your combat and play style, based on the available tools and weapons, and on abilities bought with Neuromods.

There are six broad ability categories, three human and three alien-the latter unlocked by scanning Typhons after you've retrieved a 'Psychoscope' device. Human powers are your standard immersive sim classics, such as lifting heavy objects, repairing turrets, hacking, stealthing, sprinting, and becoming really good at eating-a trait that results in an increased health boost for consuming food stuffs.

The alien powers are often more interesting, although many are simply a burst damage attack. One of the cheapest to unlock, Kinetic Blast, is an area of effect blast that does a decent chunk of damage and can propel physics objects away.

Prey is absolutely worth picking up. It is a tense, well executed thriller that contains elements from many different genres and packages them together in a concise and clever manner.

8/10

Prey

PC / Xbox One / PS4

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