So I am a rather big fan of sci-fi horror, dating as far back to the 70’s when Alien was released, and through my life I am always on the hunt for a good space horror.
This hit a pinnacle for me with 3 games in the last decade, Dead Space 1 and 2 and Alien: Isolation, three of the best sci-horror games ever made. And since Alien: Isolation was released, there has honestly been nothing to fill the void.
That is, until now.
Prey take a lot from its brothers and sisters in the genre, and adds in its own flair.
While not edge of your seat nail biting like Dead Space was, it still manages to keep you on edge from start to finish.
You have a choice when starting to play either a male or female character, which is an odd choice for a game in this genre and the first of its kind I believe. Whichever you choose will dictate some of your email communications, as they are written from the other sibling.
The set up is simple, and been done many times before, you are on a space station, things have gone south, the place is breaking down and seemingly abandoned, and you need to put the pieces together and find out what happened to everyone.
Where the game really shines though is through the skill tree advancement and combat.
Once you progress far enough, you can start to acquire alien abilities through neuro mods. Thinks like telekinesis, mind control and shape shifting to name a few.
This really adds to the first person shooter combat. It is not a mere run and gun, you need to play strategically, you have to plan each encounter (on hard at least) or you will be splattered all over the walls in no time.
The enemies themselves are what really adds to the tension here, as they are a race of shape-shifting chameleons. The can become any item in the environment. The coffee cup on a desk could be a mimic in waiting, ready to pounce if you get close enough.
This keeps you constantly on edge when entering new locations, as you never really know where they are hiding.
In addition to the usual FPS combat, there area few zero G segments of the game as well, this brings a whole new level of complexity into the fights.
Prey was also surprisingly large, for a shooter this game clocked in at about 28 hours for me on Hard mode, the space station itself is incredibly huge, and while you will be back tracking from time to time, it is typically in different segments of a previous area, add in the free space outside the base and it is simply massive.
The only real complaint I have about the games as a whole is, compared to modern day shooters, Prey feels rather dated.
This could be due to the troubled development of it, it was originally meant to be a true sequel to the original Prey game from the Xbox 360, that saw marginal success.
It came as a bit of a shock that a game that did not do too well was actually getting a sequel.
They debuted it at E3 many years ago, and it was suppose to have a completely fresh take on FPS, as you were going to be a bounty hunter of sorts.
After that initial reveal the game seemingly disappeared off the radar, only to emerge a couple years ;later at E3 again as a space horror.
And I think this is where the game kinda stumbled, much like Duke Nuken Forever, this started development years and years ago, and I think they must have carried forward some of the core engine, because things like animation, lighting, etc, feels like something from around 2010-2012. The way NPCs move, and such, just feels older for no good reason.
Not that it is bad, but just not what you make expect from a game from 2017.
All in all Prey was a fun game to play, and on Hard mode it did add a real challenge, with many many deaths ensuing. This is really in my mind the only way horror games should be played, on as hard as possible, as it really adds to the survival type feeling, and every encounter becomes a struggle to survive.
While not ground breaking, Prey gets a solid 8/10, and a recommendation to all the sci-horror fans out there.