Prey Review – Everything Bethesda Does Right (And Wrong)
May 2, 2017 - PlayStation, Sci-fi, Video-Game, Xbox,
Welcome, the Transtar Talos I will be your new home...
Right off I’m just going to say if you love Bethesda games, you will love Prey, and I suppose the opposite is true also. Recent Bethesda games like The Elder Scrolls V, Fallout 4, and Dishonored 2, each impressive installments from their respective series, comes from a family of sci-fi video games that share a core “Bethesda game style.” The upcoming Prey slots easily into this family. It features a large open world (in space), beautifully designed and styled in way that encourages you to just stop once in awhile to appreciate the view. Divided into 22 different levels, each section of the ship has themes which demand different skills and tactics. Multiple solutions to puzzles, combat executions, and in general a play as you like mentally lets you pretty much play as you want.
[Our Prey review contains no spoilers]
Always unique, Bethesda publishes stories that are entertaining at first, but more sophisticated and deeper as you progress. Not as character driven as say The Last Of Us or BioShock Infinite, I expect Prey (developed by Arkane) to eventually fall somewhere in the middle in story complexity. In all fairness I don’t know how the story ends, so it’s premature to say much more.
Prey is an adventure puzzle, surprise
Prey immediately drops you into an adventure puzzle world where your previous reality is going to take a back seat. A major twist is revealed early on, and the rest of the time you are left to figure what the hell was going on. Using some very traditional paradigms, many story details are left via emails on computers, notes on desks, books, and other forms of recordings. Prey seems to be on par with Dishonored 2 in this aspect. Personally I’m not a big fan of reading many of these, it can get a bit tiring separating the valuable data from the often fluffy back story.
What is adventure without danger. Prey features a unique adversary in creatures that can mimic other objects – for example a chair. Walk into a room and you might notice something isn’t quite right. Suddenly you are under attack with only a wrench to fight back. Combat has never been a strong point in these games, and Prey follows suit. Certainly no FPS that’s for sure, action is somewhat clumsy and imprecise. It feels close to Fallout 4. But the weapons are interesting as always, and used creatively can be great fun.
Much like the aforementioned titles, the tools, weapons, and objects of Prey can get overwhelming. Solving puzzles and tasks can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but you are never quite sure was this the weapon I should have used? Early on my favorite weapon / tool is the GOO gun. Shooting gobs of goo, the stuff can be as useful as duct tape. Solving almost any problem the goo can be used to immobilize a creature. Stuck to a wall or other surface to aid in climbing, or maybe as an insulator to stop an electric arc.
Points based systems let you build your male or female character with the attributes you like to play. A standard feature for most adventure games but Bethesda does a good job allowing the gamer to level up skills that fit your brand of mayhem. Remember no problem / quest has a single solution, it’s up to the gamer to create a character up for the task.
With vast open worlds ready to be explored (including outside the ship), there are plenty of rooms and spaces to toss for valuable trinkets. The mechanics of Prey can be over the top. Knowing what to keep, trade, toss, recycle gets a bit tedious. Although the recycler is a clever system to help simplify the task – breaking down goods into their elemental parts. Game controls are complex, again almost to the point of frustrating, especially if you play other similar games at the same time (Horizon Zero Dawn for example). Have to say scavenging is not my favorite use of time, but their is a part of me that just has to confirm each room is fully clear before I leave.
Prey arrives for Playstation, Xbox, and PC on May 5th. You can currently play the first hour of the game for free on any platform except the PC. The official game synopsis: You are Morgan Yu, the subject of morally dubious experiments designed to improve the human race. You awaken aboard the Talos 1 in the year 2032 and must uncover the secrets hiding in the depths of the space station while being hunted by the mysterious alien force that has taken over. You’ll have to rely on the tools you find on the station – along with your wits, weapons and mind-bending abilities – to combat the growing threat.