Back in May Prey was released, Arkane studios newest addition where its a merge between the concepts of the glorious System Shock and well received Bioshock series into a sci-fi horror mesh. I’ve been playing the game on the PC and finished it recently (Yeah on and off slow I know..).
Plot *No Spoilers*
The story starts off introducing you to the role of ‘Morgan-I-can-be-any-sex-I-want’ Yu who recently lost his memory as a side effect of the technology they use in this universe called Neuromods. These fabulous creations allow the user to learn something instantly by altering the neuron pathways in the brain so that they are already learned in that practice (pretty cool, right?) only problem is when a user removes the Neuromods from there system it sets the brains pathways back to how they previously were before insertion, meaning from the point where you inset the mod to when you remove it, you lose your memories of that portion of time (and the skills acquired) which sucks…talk about your double edged sword.
Thus this leads onto the chilling memento per se story, where you have no memory of the last 5~ years and are trying to piece together what exactly happened and is still happening on in the Talos 1 space station.
While I find the documentation around the station somewhat….lacking the detail say System Shock 2 had with items, I am still curious about the goings on in the history of this universe also and listening to the transcribes between the crew is also fascinating. You can even find one of yourself during a psych eval from a side quest.
The powers you obtain are quite impressive also, ranging from being able to Polymorph into one of the close by objects, Pyrokinesis to burn things to please your inner arsonist, hacking and strength allow access to areas you couldn’t access before for extra goodies and to also throwing giant objects at enemies is ever so pleasing, just be careful with some objects as they have a sort of habit of falling back on you and taking massive chunks of heath. This is one area I wish they somewhat improved on, but picking up objects and moving them around was always annoying, especially when trying to stack them on each other it would of been nice to have a button or two that could rotate the item held so you can get them better aligned.
Your suit (not the business kind unfortunately) along with Psychoscope (funky goggles) can also be modified with different chip upgrades which can give you better air control, last chance (very handy when about to die..) among quite a few others, psychoscope chips offer slightly different abilities like scanning Typhon faster and fear shielding they are quite rewarding to find when figuring out the secrets on how to access certain areas.
Overall it feels like shades of dead space with Issac’s R.I.G when using the equipment which I think is a good thing anyway.
you can also upgrade your weapons to improve the usual stats like ammo capacity, range, reload time along with the unique per weapon options like longer freeze time when using the Gloo Gun on enemies (very handy!).
This should help with the waiting for the remake of system shock 1 and the announced official system shock 3, hopefully the producers take note of some of these implementations as I feel they would greatly compliment both games though I hope there version of hacking is better I couldn’t stand it in this game it was just moving a dot around on the screen dodging blocks to press a button in another circle as your hacking difficulty increased so did the number of times you had to navigate your hacking dot through the random maze setup.
Not only are you inside the space station Talos 1 but you can head outside it also, by this I mean you can head outside the space station and head into another section of it (once you unlocked it/been to it before) once in zero G the controls are rather impressive I hear some games do it better, but from my experience in FPS gaming this is the best so far.
Prey has a dark techno horror vibe going on. I must admit there was one time a mimic made me jump as it was diving at me when I turned around (must of mistaken that mug on the floor for an actual transtar mug). The tension can get high especially when you are low on bullets and want to dodge a formidable enemy. The poltergeists just freak me out in general with the noise that comes with them and the fact you can barely see them, on the other side of it you have choices to make which affect how certain characters or situations play out which again gets you starting to second guess yourself and your judgement. its hard for a game to get this right but Prey ticked a few boxes for me in that department which I wont spoil.
There’s also the music which seemed to be few and far between. When I was playing but when it played it was a pleasure to listen to I found myself listening to a few of the tracks on YouTube (Mind Game, Everything is Going to be Ok and Semi Sacred Geometry) to name the most popular ones. Mick Gordon done the score for Prey but I’m sure what specific tracks he worked on.
Prey is a great single player experience. One I enjoyed, but I did feel like the hacking was tedious and could of been approached better or had a different mini-game entirely. It annoyed me how the people you meet in the game don’t seem amazed that you can jump great heights or transform into a TranStar mug. another thing that annoyed me to no end was how the characters speak over each-other. January would waffle on about how you used to think while someone else would try to mention something to you or you would get a call on your transcribe while talking with someone needless to say it’s a sound nightmare trying to break apart two conversations going on.
The combat weapon hotwheel to select powers was very impressive, you can change between powers and weapons easily while it freezes time it also gave you hotkeys so you could access medical kits, psy hypos and food by the press of a button without the need to pause, navigate to inventory, select the item. Seamless combat is much welcomed.
Overall I would give it:
worth a buy if you can find it for 15-20 republic credits.