On May 5, 2017 the team behind the award-winning Dishonored series, Arkane Studios, introduced us to Morgan Yu in the game Prey. You’re the Lead Scientist on the space station Talos I. On your first day on the job and you find yourself fighting an alien invasion using your wits and whatever weapons you can find or create. The fate of mankind depends on Yu, Morgan Yu, to prevent the alien horde from reaching Earth.
…and Beyond. One would think that being Prey is set on a space station, Talos I, you would spend a good amount of your time in zero gravity or outer space. Prey doesn’t disappoint but before we get there lets start at the beginning. If you’re like me you downloaded the Demo for Prey and jumped right in. Sure, the Demo might have only given you the first hour of game play but it left the Talos I open for exploration, if you were patient and creative.
Luckily for me, I had invested my time wisely into the Demo, meaning I spent only a few hours with my initial exploration of Talos I. On my return to Talos I, with the official release of Prey, I’ve settled into my skin as Morgan Yu. Not much has changed from the Demo, huge credit to Arkane Studios for releasing a game that felt complete during the Demo stage.
Waking up as Morgan Yu you’ll want to inspect your room for materials and any reading material. The reading material sheds additional light on the story of Prey as well as helps in discovering access to new areas, via codes/passwords, on Talos I. The controls for Morgan feel fluid and responsive. It’s fairly easy to gather supplies found around Talos I, inventory space is limited so choose but choose wisely. As you gather materials and supplies while wandering through Talos I you’ll eventually unlock/repair a Recycler and Fabricator which will allow you to craft Medkits, supplies and weapons.
Combat in Prey feels pretty solid. I can tell you that the slow clunky movements from the Demo have been addressed. Starting out Morgan’s main source of defense will be a wrench. As you progress you’ll find and eventually make new weapons, such as the Goo Cannon or a 9mm Handgun. I found the most success when I used a combination of weapons: i.e.; freeze with the Goo Canon and then wallop with the wrench or put a few bullets in enemy, depending on the enemy type.
…no one can hear you scream. But they can hear you in the middle of the night while they’re peacefully sleeping and you wake them you scream for your life. I won’t confirm that I was the one screaming but the enemies in Prey are everything nightmares are made of. The Typhon are an alien species that’s a cross between arachnid and the Blob.
In the beginning you’ll mostly run into little arachnid type enemies known as Mimics. Mimics are four-legged freaks that can shape shift into familiar objects (coffee cup, toilet paper roll) and then surprise you buy “popping” into their true form and attacking you. They’re fast but they are a relatively easy kill. Unless there are a multiple of them, at which point it’s best to use the old baseball adage and “Swing away.”
I witnessed early on in Prey that some of the mimics spawned from a much larger humanoid type Typhon known as a Phantom. Phantoms are much more difficult to kill and typically require some basic strategy of attack, especially if the Phantom is casting fire or lightening.
The enemies in Prey have a very good chance of turning my into a paranoid schizophrenic. In they game you can see them skitter around on and off the edges of the screen. You start questioning your own vision as soon as you turn the game off. And if the mimics don’t get to you the mood in Prey will.
…the final frontier. The atmosphere, no pun intended, in Prey is ridiculous. The mood this game sets pulls you and gets you all sorts of amped. Arkane Studios are geniuses for this aspect of the game alone. I’m taking my sweet time as I play through Prey, sure I enjoy it, the gameplay is solid, the story is compelling enough but it’s the atmosphere that brings me back. It’s also the atmosphere that keeps me away.
Like I’ve stated, the atmosphere pulls you in. The lighten in Talos I is eery. The music/soundtrack is both haunting and futuristic. It’s the complete package. While playing Prey I become so engrossed that I lose track of time. It feels like hours have lapsed but in reality I’ve only been playing for an hour. I can’t recall another game that made me feel this way.
The atmosphere in Prey is all-encompassing. I slowly pick away at the story and game one hour at a time. I do this because the soundtrack combined with the skittering of the mimics and the all-around tension and paranoia of Prey takes its toll on me. It’s taxing.
All of this might sound like a negative but I’m sincerely praising Arkane Studios for creating such a complex yet simplified soundtrack that tugs at both mental and emotional strings.
GAME OVER MAN,…
…game over! Prey is a breath of fresh air, for me at least, in the way it creates so much with so little. Prey is a Sci-Fi Thriller that builds on the tension it creates, both in-game and in your mind. The combat is smooth and precise. The exploration and crafting is simple but necessary for survival. And the lighting and soundtrack create a mood that is both exciting and unsettling. If Science Fiction, Horror, Thrillers, Aliens and Space are your thing than you should definitely pick up PREY. I spent $60 on this game but you can pick it up for $40 at the provided link.