Have you ever looked at a game when it’s announced and the following subsequent trailers and just aren’t able to know whether you’re going to like a game or not? Even after the first hours demo is release?
That was me with this game, I liked the look of it, but didn’t know whether I was going to get on with it or not. I loved Dishonored 1 and 2, which was by the same studio, and it has that kind of look to it, but it was the whole Sci-Fi set up which I didn’t know if I would get on with.
The first thing that I noticed about the game was the long load times, from starting up the game and moving to different areas, there were very long load times. Dying and coming back into the game was very quick, which had me confused why the other loads times differed so much.
In Prey you play as Morgan Yu, who you can pick at the start to either be a male or female. You’re a scientist aboard Talos-I doing some kind of experiment and in true fashion something goes wrong with the experiment, you’ve lost your memories and can’t remember what it is you were there for.
The memories bit is all down to your brother Alex and the Nueromods. These reset your memories from before they were installed, however extensive work has been done on Morgan to remove a fair bit of his memory. So when he wakes up and realises where he is, he now has to find out what happened and what he now needs to do, luckily for him he left a few failsafes around to help him finish the task.
Unfortunately though, Morgan’s Brother, Alex, is still alive and is trying to stop him at every turn from finding out the truth.
After the first part, the game really comes into it’s own, the game is very flexible in terms of how you get past objects, it’s not just a linear route to the goal, you could have several paths ahead, some easier than others. An example of this would be that there is a locked door ahead you need to get through, now, you could just look for the key card and explore this beautiful space station, or if you didn’t want to do that, you could always just climb through the vent and come back to that later on… It’s up to you. These are the kind of choices that are laid out in front of you throughout the game, and I loved this about the game, it’s what would make the difference between me and someone else playing it, my playthrough would be different to someone else’s as they may have chosen a different option.
Talos-I is a very open design in the fact that you can go wherever you like, depending on blockages and other things, but as I mentioned above, there is always a way around this. The one thing that you have to look out for when wandering the station are the enemies that are on board.
I would like to mention one them, these are called Mimics. Mimics are as you have probably guessed mimic other objects around them and take the guise of whatever they like. This could be anything from loot and ammo you pick up to the chair you’re about the sit on. Which can result in some frantic moments, well, at the start at least. They do create a lot of atmosphere and I found myself at the start of the game tip-toeing around as mimics would just jump out of nowhere and there were times, I will admit, that I nearly had to go and get some clean pants on….
The whole game is very atmospheric and the setting that has been created helps with this, from the music to the setting and how everything has been laid out. However, I will admit that the exploration side of the game is one of it’s strongest points which in turn with a fantastic narrative helps to get you through and around Talos-I
There were times in the game where I forgot where I was, the visuals are stunning and you can tell that Arkane has put a lot of work into them. We all know that Sci-Fi based space stations etc can get a little stale and samey, but the way Arkane has designed this is amazing. Taking into account the Cold War aspect of the game with the wooden rooms and the US/USSR themes to parts of the base, you can tell there has been a lot of detail put into this.
The game isn’t without flaws though, and the first one that I would like to bring up is with the Zero G aspect. Now, when you first come across this, it’s something new and exciting, I give that about 10 seconds before wanting my feet on the ground. These sections when you use Zero G, either at points during the story or to get from one part of the station to another, it really slowed the pace of the game down. Usually you’re running through corridors like Doctor Who trying to get away from Cybermen and Daleks, but this was just like… Meh… Floating… Where’s my Daleks at?
There was one section in the game where you had to do this as part of the story and couldn’t be avoided… I couldn’t wait for it to be over…. It made the game feel very lethargic.
Another point that I would like to bring up is to do with the Psychic Powers you acquire. These allow you to use powers against the enemies and monsters (called Thypon) on board Talo-I.
My main beef with this was that the game doesn’t really encourage or motivate a player to use them. Mainly because when you are using them, the defence systems in the station turn against you thinking that you’re a Typhon.
My question here is, why would I use this and get shot at by my own systems, when there are perfectly good perks to use elsewhere? Doesn’t make sense, it’s as if they were just put in there and Arkane thought, if people use them, they use them, if not hey ho, no biggie.
Overall, Prey is a very good game, it isn’t without it’s flaws, but it is a very good game and maybe something that Arkane and Bethesda can build on for the future.