Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Arkane Studios
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro (Code Provided by Bethesda)
Release Date: May 10thth, 2017
MSRP: £49.99 / $59.99
The story is Prey, for the most part, is uninteresting and not memorable at all. It sticks to the standard “Aliens in space station” scenario that you have seen in games and movies before. However, the ending is unexpected and brings up a lot of questions, which somewhat saves the storyline from being a clique. The characters in Prey can be saved or killed based on choices you make in the game. Most of the characters are your standard survivor’s and they don’t have much personality to them, but the side missions they give you, for the most part, are different and fun to complete.
The story of Prey does drag on though and I can’t remember a single main mission that peaked my interest. However, the side missions are where the game shines. You’ll have complete missions such as hunting down medical supplies in a time limit to save somebody who relies on them to live, complete tasks for a Psychopath who you later find out murdered crew members, finding out what happened to a crew member for somebody, only to find out you were involved and didn’t remember as your mind had been wiped.
Gameplay and Mechanics
The gameplay in Prey, is very fun and unique. There aren’t a wide variety of weapons, but the weapons themselves are what makes them great. There are your standard pistol and shotgun, but you also have something called a “Gloo Cannon”. This gun shoots glue pretty much, and you can use it to stick enemies in place to slow them down. This brings up a variety of different combos to perform on enemies, instead of just the standard “shoot it until it dies” that we tend to see nowadays.
The Gloo cannon can also be used to traverse the environment. Firing the gun at a wall will create a ball of glue that you can step on. This allows you to create so many unique pathways to reach destinations and is one of my favorites gameplay elements of Prey. You aren’t forced to follow a set path, you make your mind up as to how you are going to get from point A to B.
One thing I will say about the gameplay is it starts off very slow. You have the wrench and the Gloo Gun at first and it is a while before you get anything else. You are forced into sticking enemies in place, then hitting them a good few times in order to kill them. With many enemies around you, who are small and fast, this does get a little frustrating.
The “Neuromods” in the game are few and far between at the start as well. These are what you use to buy skills and powers, which are also used during combat. Early on you will not be able to buy anything and the combat feels slow and sluggish. It feels like a grind early on given the combat relies a lot on these “Neuromods”, but it does pay off in the long run.
Audio, Visuals, and Bugs
Prey is pretty standard when it comes to the graphics. The only thing that stood out to me was the Talos I exterior in space. It’s rare you can freely explore out in space in a video game, and the shadow effects are superbly done out here. Inside, however, it’s just a dull looking space station and nothing really caught my attention. There are also no PS4 Pro enhancements for Prey, so it’ll look the same regardless if you have a regular or Pro version of the PS4.
The audio in Prey is very well done, but it seems to come on at odd times. Just before enemy encounters, it will play, and this sort of ruins the feeling of enemies surprising you. When the music plays, you know something is up and to be on guard. I recommend giving the game a playthrough with music disabled as it really adds to the horror aspect of the game. The music is a trance, dubstep kind of thing, and while this wouldn’t work in a lot of other FPS, it does in Prey.
There are quite a few visual bugs in Prey that I came across. On PS4 the game seems to have rendering issues in places, I’m not sure what causes it, but you can very clearly notice it when talking to NPCs sometimes. The suits are the main thing that seems to have trouble rendering and sometimes the odd piece of the environment.
The main thing I dislike, while not a bug, are the load times. They are very bad on the PS4 as it needs to load every single area. One mission near the end you really notice it when you need to quickly get from one end of the space station to the other. I think in about 30 mins of gameplay, at least 10-15 mins of that mission is load screens. I’m not sure why it’s so bad, but the game doesn’t seem very well optimized for consoles.
Trophies and Achievements
The trophies and the achievements in Prey, are for the most part, well done. There are a few that are very questionable though such as “No Needles” which requires you to complete the game without using any neuromods! I’m not sure what the devs were thinking here, as this goes against the entire aspect of the game and it makes everything feel very, very restrictive. Other than this though, the list is good.
There’s lots of variety and the collectible trophies don’t even require all the collectibles. This was nice of Arkane to do, as you could get locked out of some of them and not be able to get the platinum on that run. There’s a lot of misc trophies and you can tell some thought and effort went into the list which I wish more developers did.
Prey is a unique first-person sci-fi shooter which incorporates a lot of gameplay elements that we haven’t seen in video games before. For example, enemies will mimic objects and jump out at you when you least expect it and you can use a glue gun to climb walls which opens up a ton of exploration options. Prey is a mixture of many types of genres and it doesn’t seem to focus on one, but many different ones (it’s pretty much a stealth, shooter and horror game mixed into one). This makes the game feel unique in a way and works well in the long run. However, Prey does come with its flaws.
The main story isn’t very memorable, but this is made up by the side mission story telling. The game has a few performance issues on the PS4, such as long load times between areas (you really notice this when moving to each area quickly) and a couple of rendering issues I came across. Overall, if you like first-person shooters and want a change of pace from the regulars, then prey is worth picking up.
+ Original FPS elements
+ Cool and unique enemies
+ A huge sense of exploration from objective to objective
– Long load times on PS4
– Bland storyline
– Takes a while for the combat to work well