Prey Hands-On Preview
We were invited to a sneak peak at the new upcoming game, Prey a first-person sci-fi thriller game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. The main premises of the game revolves around an exploration mission that is set on a space station called Talos I. A demo of the first hour of the game was available for us to play on the PC but the game is to be released on Windows, Playstation 4 and Xbox One as well
This version is a re-imagining of the original 2006 Prey developed by Human Head Studios and it bears a lot of resemblance to Dishonored with unique twists and tweaks of its own. Having seen many of the trailers for Prey, I was expecting something more akin to BioShock or even Deus Ex. However after the first hour of gameplay, I noticed that it has a unique style of storying telling and does a great job at maintaining suspense. The setting itself is also a very exciting world to explore. There were many e-mails, audio logs and notes to interact with on this abandoned space station. Many sections were blocked off, requiring you to look for tools and such to make these areas accessible. This is great for players looking to dive deeper into the story. The story and the setting seems to be its strongest feature.
One of the most compelling features about this game is the RPG elements it integrates. There are tools called Neuromods that focus on three different skill trees: Engineer, Scientist and Security. Each skill tree allows the player to unlock different areas of the space station and interact with it in different ways. Engineer focuses on repairing machines on the ship, modifying weapons and increasing stamina and resource yield. A scientist can increase the duration of food and increase the effectiveness of Medkits. They also focus on hacking computer terminals or doors using a marble pin-ball style mini game that seems quite unique from other games of that genre. Security deals with increasing weapon damage, max health and the ability to slow down time and stealth. I spent most of my hands-on session using Neuromods on the Engineer skill tree. As I moved through the space station I was able to repair turrets that would help me fight against enemies.
There are guns and ammo to be discovered, but players beware, ammo is very scarce. Throughout my playthrough, I picked up a shotgun, a wrench and the star of the demo, a GLOO Cannon that would shoot an instant freeze foam to entomb targets. The GLOO Cannon is also useful for building staircases to traverse a wider area as there are a lot of broken staircases, sunken in floors and openings in ceilings. Another weapon I found later on in my playthrough was a Huntress Boltcaster. This toy gun fired foam darts that were mainly used to distract enemies, and to remotely trigger buttons.
I eventually came across these black spider-like alien creatures called Mimics. They can morph themselves into objects in the environment, such as trash cans or coffee mugs. I found that using the only wrench was not the best way to finish them off, but rather the combined use of the GLOO Cannon to trap and finish them off with the wrench. There are also bigger aliens called Phantoms that were once crew members corrupted by Typhon DNA. They can fire projectiles and are very fast and can teleport from one location to another, making them very difficult to hit. Lead game designer Ricardo Bare explained to us about a large alien monster that moves throughout the space station that players will randomly encounter. I definitely hope we get some unique weapons or abilities to fight this mystery encounter with.
Another great feature is how the game handles resource management. There is a recycler machine that will break down useless items into resources cubes that can be put into a fabricator to make items or weapons. I am excited to see the different types of weapons that will be discovered. Prey is one of the games that I am intrigued by and am looking forward to playing. Compared to series such as BioShock and Dishonored, Prey incorporates features from both games but adds their own features on top of them. It’s very refreshing to see a well known developer put all their energy into making a very compelling single player experience. Gamers who enjoy open world sci-fi thrillers should definitely check out this game when it is released on May 5th.