First impressions: Arkane Studios and Bethesda Softworks did a very solid singleplayer game. Prey is gigantic, impressive and if you are not smart, you will not survive. Because it is not a shooter like you could expect it.
But first of all, let us talk about the story. We wake up in 2032 as Morgan Yu, who is a leading scientist on the more than 800 meter long Talos 1 space-station. In the beginning, we are a test object in an experiment, what could change humanity forever. However, the situation changes and suddenly we have to fight for our life, the life of the crew members and the humans on earth, because the “Typhons” (an Alien race, we bred on the Thalos 1) is going to kill all human beings and we are the only one, who can stop them. So we begin the fight, armed with a pipe wrench, against the first little “Mimics” (small Aliens). Already here you can see some similarities to 2K Games “BioShock”, what does not mean that it’s bad.
Quite the reverse! From the beginning on, it is learning by doing. Okay, that sounds not exciting, but in that way you begin to understand the background of the whole story. If you learn something, Morgan learns aswell and perhaps that could help you for the next quest, the next closed door or against another overpowered alien-monster. That is, because you can not trust on your weapons in every sitiuation.
There are many ways to master the tasks, especially without weapons, to get to the next level. So you should run around to find equipment that could help you to be successfull. Here it’s quite fun to explore every room and collect banana peels or old cigarettes to recycle them to organic material, what you use for the fabricator. In exchange it gives you munition (pretty interesting to make bullets out of bananas, but okay), medi-pacs or Neuromods.
The Neuromods are like in other RPGs necessary to get more different skill-levels. By the way, I think it is very good, that you are not able to unlock all skills for one game to become a overpowered killing machine, but that you have to decide what could be the best skill for your gameplay. The only problem is, that your decision, where you use your Neuromods for, will have pros and cons everytime. Cause if you use it to hack terminals, perhaps you will get trough the next door, but you can not take the medi kit that is behind a lot of boxes, because you do not have the skill of strength to lift them. That’s it. You have to deal with it. Make the best of the situation.
If we set Prey in contrast to other RPGs and Action Adventures like Ubisofts “Assassins Creed” (AC), for sure you see similarities, but what makes Prey better is the: “do it on your own” thing. Games like AC give you a market to buy every weapon you need and Prey needs you to find and build your own stuff by experimenting and exploring. However it is also a Ego-Shooter, but a quite tactical one. You should think, before you use your ammo. Otherwise you will look pretty stupid in front of the next Typhon squad. The gameplay is about sneaking, tactical runaways and your own condition to look for a way to your target for half an hour. You know: Everything to save humanity!
The moment, when I got really impressed by the game in a visual way was, when I had to leave the Thalos 1 for my first space trip. This atmosphere was authentic and gigantic. Especially, because it is the total contrast to the inside of the space station. You are alone in the silence of space, you hear your breath while you slide through the universe. Well, that’s a bit to much, but that will definitly be your first impression. This part showed me how much time the developers invested to the effects of the game. The music gives that authentic feeling and the battle effects, like the explosions of EMP- and Recycler grenades keep you playing the game.
Cause where the producers invested in atmosphere, there they relaxed with the graphical part. Nevertheless, it is not that bad, but you should not expect a very detailed environment. Human faces look like they are on a graphic from 2012 and the rooms inventory is a bit blurred in some parts. Furthermore a possible disadvantage could be for players who need good instructions to succeed. The instructions are really basic and you could find yourself in situations where you do not know if you are on the right way, what can become fairly exhausting. Though, that is critic on a high level. I know, that the producers keep going this style, like in Dishonored because of it’s success, but for me they could do a little bit more in this way. It makes fun to play and I heard aswell that basic computers are able to make a fluent gameplay in good graphic possible. So no worries.
Just let us remember, a game is about what you can do and not only about what you can see. The action and unbreakable tension in Prey will be guaranteed.
For me, it is a very interesting change to the mainstream of Ego-Shooters and RPGs I usually play. Maybe that will be my entrance to the action shooter genre, but for now I would like to thank Bethesda for the chance to play this nice game that early. Keep going!