Prey is pretty good. A little rough on the early game difficulty though. It’s the latest game from Arkane Studios, well-known for the Dishonored series. They also developed Bioshock 2.
Comparisons to Dishonored and Bioshock are not unfair at all. A lot of the mechanics will be familiar if you’ve played those titles. But more on that later.
Set in the not to distant future (of an alternate timeline), you play as Morgan Yu. You are set to meet your brother as you start work on the space station Talos I for TranStar, who are producers of neuromod technology. Neuromods being a revolution in human learning, skills of professionals are recorded and redistributed through neuromods. You could learn to play the piano, or even fly with a quick. simple procedure! Of course, there are some minor drawbacks, but you don’t need to concern yourself with those, it’s all fine.
Of course, it’s not just neuromods being developed aboard Talos I, there’s also the study of certain organisms. Oh, and wouldn’t you just waken to find them loose on the station with most of the faculty dead.You have no clue what’s happened but the important thing is to not let the organisms get to earth!
From there you’ll be making your way around the station, helping any survivors you may come across, planning to stop the aliens from getting to earth and of course… surviving.
You become familiar with the station as you make your way from sector to sector to sector and back again. Going back and forth as objectives demand. You’ll also be looking for keycards and passcodes to get into the side rooms for some sweet supplies or to find a corpse with more keycards.
Though I like this aspect in theory, and largely in practice, it has an annoying problem. You”ll get to a point with either small or transitionary areas meaning you could just be going from loading screen to loading screen at times.
It’s a first person shooter with an emphasis on resource management. Especially early in the game where ammo will be scarce. Well, you’ll need more shots to deal enough damage than when you late upgrade your weapons. You’ll be able to craft ammo as soon as you find the recipes and assuming you have the resources available.
The crafting mechanic is interesting, you can make what you want assuming you have the recipe and the materials, and the station to craft at of course. There are four different crafting materials: organic, mineral, synthetic and exotic. Your main source of material is recycling, either through a recycling station or recycler charges. you can use these to break down items into parts. So you’ll be gathering banana peels and the like for their sweet materials. The charges work as grenades which is handy, as they can also convert items that you can’t actually pick up, such as furniture or even corpses.
At a certain point in you’ll find a device that allows you to scan enemies, and shortly thereafter you will be able to learn to use some of their abilities. These will be available of separate skill trees. These function in a manner similar to Bioshock’s plasmids or Dishonored’s Outsider powers.
If you invest in alien skills however, you will be seen as an alien threat to the automated turrets. So it’s something worth considering. I personally opted to rely on those turrets where ever possible. Though even if you do encounter hostile turrets, you can hack them to turn their allegiances, assuming you have the skill of course.
You don’t simply level up and choose a new skill, instead skills have a neuromod cost and you will need to save up for the higher level skills. You’ll also have the opportunity to craft neuromods too. The temptation will be there to spend all of your resources on neuromods. It left me low on ammo a few times. Until late game where I was comfortable with the skills I had accrued.
Though there were definitely points where I just found the game frustrating, I may be giving it another play-through soon enough. There were a few points where I had to stop playing out of frustration but I persevered and I’m glad I did. The narrative was compelling enough for me. Even if the creature design wasn’t terribly interesting. The combat mechanics also felt a bit clunky.
Sidebnote; in the crew quarters you will find what remains of a role-playing group, playing Fatal Fortress. Sound familiar at all? It did to me, I didn’t make the realization until if found the excerpt from the main game book, describing drawing runes to cast spells. It was in reference to Arkane’s first game Arx Fatalis, which translates to Fatal Fortress. Though I didn’t finish it, it was definitely enjoyable and I want to get back to it. I didn’t know it was by Arkane until finding it in Prey.