Sometimes you need a good video game. You go on the search, hunting for the perfect game. Now and then, you find your prey. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
When I first heard Prey was coming in 2017, I was lukewarm about it. Prey was a game from 2006 which had something to do with aliens and native American Indians, anti-grav boots, and a lot of shooting. Frankly I barely remember it, short of getting some cool metal figures with the game that I painted. But 2017’s Prey was something special and I’ve been dying to talk about it. So why did I wait? Well maybe this helps…
(I’d been waiting for that, but since I played this game, my hard drive crashed and I lost my pics! I had to watch a walk-through on Youtube just to be able to get this image! Talk about lucky!)
But what’s it all about? Why the fuss? Well, I’ll do this in random order. To start, I picked this up at full price, but I don’t regret that one bit. Now, it retails for $30, about half what I paid, but I played it twice pulling in some 73 hours and I’m planning on playing again. Prey is a single player science fiction action game with a heavy dose of OMG! For one, the main monsters that you fight are these gelatinous spider-like creatures that can mimic anything. So you can walk into a room and see a table, chairs, coffee cup, calendar … and then, bam, the coffee cup springs to life to attack you. They skitter and leap and give you nightmares.
There are a range of other creatures and shape altering nightmares, some of which are even more dangerous but few as surprisingly clever as these mimics. The game is vast too. It takes place on a space station but you do get outside from time to time. I had some great images of doing a space walk and finding a ghost like creature floating by a shuttle. Trying to get in without being seen was tough. Getting out was worse, because now you couldn’t see where the creature was hiding… The anti-gravity in this game was wonderful. The station you find yourself on has all sorts of places to explore too. And you can play in any style that you like: completing side missions is totally up to you. I go for everything where I can.
Throughout the game, you will find out what happened to other people through audio logs and emails. Some are still alive; some are controlled by a D&D-style Watcher that floats around making them do things. If you can find ammo, you can take the time to destroy it. And speaking of ammo, there’s a range of magnificent weapons, but this has one weapon that really sets it apart. See that image above, with the Typhon (yeah, that’s what they call the creatures) leaping at the player? That gun fires foam that hardens. So the way some of us might think to use hair spray on a spider – same idea. (I’m not that guy… I’m just saying it’s an idea!) But this tool, because that really is what it is, is used to plug ruptures in the hull, and even put out fires. A burst pipe spewing fiery death? No problem, plug it! It’s like the greatest caulk gun in the universe!
The graphics and sound are fantastic. I mean, just look at some of the images. There’s a crispness to it, but it also feels like a very real place. When you explore, there are rooms for everything. Imagine a city in space; what would it need? This place has it! But the sound helps immensely too. I have surround sound setup in my computer room and nothing is creepier than hearing the scurrying of alien arachnids behind you. I can honestly say Prey was one of my all-time favorite games. It had the atmosphere of another classic, System Shock 2, but this did something that no other game has quite done for me before. It made it count!
See, I have a hard time playing as a bad guy. Given a chance to do good, I always do. It never amounts to anything though. This game gives the player a number of choices just like most games these days; nothing new there. And when the game ended, I was satisfied. It was a great game, sure. But it wasn’t until the after-credit sequence played and it went all sorts of ontological. You find out that all those decisions were being tracked and they matter for a final cut-scene. Even then, you get another choice on how to proceed at the tail end! Whoa… I really hope they make a part two! When I finished this game, I knew it was special. If they can get lightning to strike twice, that will indeed be a noteworthy accomplishment!
Look there are a lot of good games out there, but this one was fantastic. There are plenty of good action games. Many will get the blood pumping and you’re going to have a great time with them. That’s a fact. But few will combine that with a mind trip that will have you dying to replay the game. That was what made Prey special: fantastic game, awesome mind-bend at the end. Absolutely worth playing! And replaying!!
One final note: there is a VR release for this. It’s not the full game, but a smaller game where you hunt more mimics. In VR, that sounds amazing. Although it doesn’t get as high a mark as the full game, I may pick it up and review for another week.
In the meantime, seriously, go get this game. You’ll thank me for it! ML