Being Preyed Upon

Prey, in its original 2006 Prey incarnation, didn’t ever really appeal to my RPG loving soul. It was too sci-fi for my gaming needs, and too close to a horror game.
I’ve grown up a bit since then, and have fallen in love with Bethesda Studios, Arkane Studios and have generally broadened my horizons in video games. I’ve found great joy in some action-adventure games, (see my Dishonored review from way back when) and am even open to a few scares. On discovering the free Prey 2017 demo in the PS Store, offering an hours worth of introduction to the game, I said to myself “Why not? If you don’t enjoy it, you’ll have at least tried it. And it’s free.”

24 hours later, I had the chance to load it up. I was a bit apprehensive, not least because it was a new universe entirely to me, and I hadn’t really got a clue what it was about – having not been all that interested in it. I waited for it to load, and chose female Morgan Yu. And then was rudely awoken by my alarm telling my it was Monday morning sometime in 2032. My apartment was pretty at least.

Being a stealth/thief/rogue player in most games, I immediately ignored my objective to get dressed and poked around in my apartment. The toilet flushed, the lights could be turned on and off and I could throw junk around as much as I wanted. Once I had loaded up on crafting and health supplies (basically taking everything that wasn’t nailed down), I headed towards the roof and the helicopter that was apparently waiting.

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170506171049

The helicopter ride was astonishingly pretty, and the opening credits were presented as signs and structures in the city I was flying through. At this point, I questioned why I couldn’t just walk to work, since it didn’t seem that far. I was also slightly perturbed by the Science robot that greeted me on the roof. Further in, a fellow Yu greeted me with a Dishonored style face, as it turned out he was my brother. I was told to go to Room A for testing. I fully expected to hear GLaDOS.
Working through the testing chambers it becomes apparent that things aren’t going well. Equipment problems are blamed, and we carry on. Then an empty cup of coffee kills a man and we are gassed by a lovely coloured green fog. I hate Mondays.

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170506171247

I won’t detail any further plot, in case you’re avoiding spoilers. Needless to say, I was increasingly sucked into the game the further into the first hour I got. The mechanics are slowly introduced, twists and turns are thrown at you at a decent rate and there are enough challenges in combat and moving around to feel like you get a good grasp of the game.

My love for Dishonored is recognised here, as I climb and sneak my way the map – big enough to play in and yet not so big I get lost. You are free to explore the open areas, or to power through to the end of the demo. Enemies are challenging at this stage in the game (obviously), and killed me a couple of times when I was unprepared. It gave me enough spooks to feel a little on edge, but not as many as I had prepared for, and not enough to completely put me off the game. The background music added to my discomfort, although I feel it wasn’t always in the right places, and ‘fight’ music seemed to go on a while after combat. I thoroughly enjoyed the various audio effects the game has; glass breaking is glorious, plastics make nice hollow noises and the weapon you’ll be using sounds (and feels) heavy.

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170506171746

There are only a few niggles that bothered me in the hour I played. I mentioned the audio, but my main issue was in the sensitivy of my controls. I felt like the movement was slow. I did appreciate that backwards and side to side movement seemed slower, but forward motion seemed a lot slower than most games. I’m not one for sprinting in games (and not at all in stealth unless I have to), and I found the sprint controls too loose for my liking.

Prey Demo: Opening Hour_20170506173313

I think I was suprised that I enjoyed Prey. It’s gone onto my wishlist, and I look forward to being able to play more of it. I love Bethesda and Arkane for making the demo, and for making it long enough to get a good grasp of the universe. I may have to play it in daylight, but I’ll thoroughly enjoy it regardless.

Khinjarsi has no affiliation with Transtar, has never worked aboard Talos I, and now remains wary of all unattended coffee cups. All images are screenschots taken by Khin on her PS4 copy of the demo.

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