When Bethesda announced the reboot of Prey, two things crossed my mind. One, I was truly saddened that the original, which despite being all kinds of quirky and dated now, was being replaced. Two, Bethesda are, no offense meant, a little hit or miss with their properties, sure there are fans of many of them, but some older series fans are alienated by an idea or lose interest in the franchise (including myself with elder scrolls online). So my Prey review could have gone either way.
Considering the market right now, it strikes me that horror and sci-fi are things that have a long, chequered gaming history. Again some of these genres generate hits, others generate games like… Stormrise *shudders*. Not a game to remember!
So where does Prey fall? Caution, due to the nature of the game, there are some minor spoilers in this review but nothing to ruin the story. Don’t forget to Share This on social media and drop me a comment with your thoughts on Prey.
Out of this world presentation
Prey is utterly, unrelentingly, GORGEOUS. I had to start with that note because the opening sequence was stunning. And truth told the game has looked equally stunning in just about every aspect of its design throughout my play time with it.
Which really allows me to get straight to the nitty gritty, Prey is a first-person sci-fi shooter/horror game which is based on a space station. You may think you are on Earth but this is one big play to fool you.
Soon you are free and finding your way around Talos 1 and discovering you are not alone. Whether you are a male or female lead you are still Morgan Yu and have some investigating to do. All of which comes naturally early on as you are very motivated to figure out what is going on.
From there you meet people and the game is then a web of intrigue and small step-by-step missions to ultimately reach a final goal. But less of that, let’s talk things that go bump in the night.
Sci Fi Horror Done Right
I recently reviewed Outlast 2 and Resident evil 7, I spoke in both about the enemies, but for different reasons. Whilst RE7 deployed a boss character occasionally and some cannon fodder, Outlast 2 deploys enemies you simply had to avoid to progress.
Where does Prey fall? Somewhere in the middle, some of the humanoid enemies are tough to deal with, the smaller, skittish enemies are easy to deal with – if you prepare.
See Prey will have you dead, a lot of dead, BUT strategy and thinking will keep you alive just that little bit longer. And it is here where I personally think Prey is one of the better horror games I have played in a while in terms of being engaging with it’s horror and challenge.
The small enemies “mimics” provide jump scares, good ones at that, and using firearms on them is sometimes not required. Whereas bigger enemies require you to use firearms, or your surroundings to bring them down. Even that, standard shooting isn’t really always enough for some of them.
It provides you with a challenge that is both strategic and thoughtful enough to feel you stand a chance and it’s fair. While also seeing you dead enough to realise you can’t be mindless about the game either. The experience, combined with the sandbox style gameplay really works as a Sci-Fi horror game for me.
Your best tool/weapon is your gloo-gun, it shoots out an expanding foam/glue blob that can be used to create pathways, block doors, and incapacitate enemies.
This tied in with explosive cylinders and firearms and you can set traps for your enemies – who would otherwise over power you, and if you trap goes wrong, the horror truly kicks in. I tell you, a lot of horror games could learn from the examples set out in Prey.
Some weapons are also more effective against certain enemies, less effective against others. Sometimes you can completely avoid enemies. This allows you a sense of freedom when dealing with the issues in front of you.
And whilst you will miss judge something and die, it doesn’t ever climb to the trolling levels of death of some of the other compatriots in the genre.
The game controls well, the menus are sleek and intuitive. Crafting is fun, easy to comprehend, yet in no way game breaking.
Weapons feel effective at times, yet leave you pleading with digital monsters to have your puny life spared.
In fact there isn’t that much I can say that is super negative about the game overall, the pacing is a little long winded in places, although reports of a 20 minute speedrun are already circulating, so read into that what you will.
Overall I highly recommend Prey, it executes its promises in a fun, exhilarating and scary way – whilst also giving gameplay a depth so many horror games negate in exchange for cheap deaths. Check out my scores below and drop me a comment if you are having a good scare in space too!