Prey from Bethesda Softworks is a perfect mix of chills and exploration.
I was able to play the new game Prey from Bethesda Softworks on the Xbox One. Just a warning, this might have spoilers of the game but it’s rather hard to describe a game without spoiling it. So I apologize in advance for anything I spoil.
This was an interesting game. For a comparison, think Half Life. You start the game by waking up in a room and someone wants you to put on a suit. You can pick up a lot of different objects around the room and drop or throw them. For some reason you can’t put it back where you found it, it just drops to the floor. (Or whatever you are standing on.) Very Half Life-ish. These aren’t bad things, I like them. It helps me figure out the game quicker. Eventually, after you put on the suit and head out to the world, bad things will happen (Duh, otherwise there wouldn’t be a game.) and a voice will tell you how to get somewhere safe. But that is where the similarities end. Now it’s more Skyrim but in a smaller play area and a bit scarier. And it’s in space.
I spent about 30 mins walking around my apartment climbing on the furniture and chairs. At one point, I was standing on top of the kitchen table holding a chair. Why? Because it’s what you do, I guess. Who hasn’t stood on top of the kitchen table holding a chair? Ok, maybe no one. But I was interested to see how the controls work and what I could and couldn’t do. One thing I could do was get in the shower from above. Because that is how they do things in Duke County. (Dukes of Hazzard reference.) One thing I could NOT do is open the door to my patio, it was jammed. Looking around I could tell I was supposed to be some electrical engineer with tools and parts. Yet a glass door seems to have me stymied. (You find out why later.)
After some monkeying around, sometimes quite literally, I decided to put on my suit. Then a voice tells me to head to the roof where a helicopter is waiting. So I leave my apartment, walk down the hallway to the elevator and go up. None of these places have anything I can “play with.” Trust me, I checked. Another odd thing. I live in a high rise apartment building yet the elevator only goes to the roof and the floor where my apartment is, the buttons are labeled “Roof” and “My Apartment.” Once again, later you find out why.
Once you get to the roof there’s a helicopter waiting on a pad ready to take you to the office building were you will be working, or so they say. There’s nothing here to play with either. Just a pad and a helicopter, so get in. The helicopter takes off and the pilot says the high will be 70 degrees so expect a beautiful day. Things to look for: looking around is cool but if you keep looking to the right, you will see the game being officially introduced with the credits being hidden in the background. Pay attention because the words blend in very well. I won’t spoil much else except to say that when you get to work, things go haywire and it’s up to you to fix things. (Isn’t that how games work?)
I was playing on the “Easy” setting and it was still rather difficult. The first time I got killed was on the space station. Yes, there IS a space station but I’m not saying how you got there. That is one of the mysteries you have to solve. I guess the harder settings you get killed earlier. I did discover that you can time you attacks to either block the alien’s attacks or get in a good shot yourself. Like most games, you do have a limit on ammo, even on the easy setting. Also the aliens you are fighting can take the shape of anything in the area, which is why they are called “mimics”. I have gotten to the point of not picking up anything unless I need to. And is ok to take a swing at papers, coffee mugs, or boxes.
To help you out, the game has neuromods. These seem to be part of the storyline. The idea is that neuromods can give you any ability you want. Storyline-wise, if you feel a need to speak French, insert a neuromod and you become fluent in French. But it looks a bit painful. Two needles will get inserted into the bone area around the eye while the device is inserted. You must keep your eye open the whole time. Once you insert it, you must keep it there for five minutes. (That is all based on the lore in the game.) Another side effect is if you ever remove it, you lose your memory for the entire time you had the neuromod inserted. So if you take it out after six months, you lose six months’ worth of memories.
Speaking of game lore, this one has some interesting alternate history. The game takes place in 2032. In that history they have already built the Space Elevator and have an orbiting space station. I am still at the beginning of the game so I am not sure what happened on Earth but it seems like something catastrophic. But the most interesting thing is that Kennedy lived. Yes, THAT Kennedy. US President John F Kennedy was not assassinated. The story says he survived the attempt. And because of that he kept pushing NASA for bigger and better things. So did the Soviets. It was a space race that didn’t end until the Soviet Union fell and then it went into the private sector which is how we have a giant space station in orbit.
In game the way they work is that you get special powers; more healing per pack, hacking abilities, or being able to move heavy objects are just a few of the powers. But each one has a cost. The first ones cost one neuromod. The others will cost 2 – 8 neuromods. At the beginning of the game the nuromods are rare, so make sure you choose wisely. Neuromods can’t be removed in game. From what I have seen. Later on you can find the blueprints to make your own with materials you find around the station.
One of the greatest things of the game might not be something you notice immediately. The sounds and music. The game has doors that automatically open, so when you walk by they will open. In a game where you have to watch you back with your ears while you watch you front with your eyes, this can play tricks on you. A door opening could sound like something moving. So you turn around to look. Nothing there, or is there? How many boxes were there before, three or four? Then the music kicks in so you know something ain’t right. So you go to check, making sure to keep that trigger ready. That’s when it happens. It wasn’t the box after all, it was the trash can next to it that was the alien. And that is one glitch that keeps tripping me up. The floating trash cans. Yes, a floating trash can is NOT normal. Kill it! Kill it a lot! Yet, they always get me because I just think the game has glitched.
Enough of all the good stuff. What’s wrong with it? Well, not a lot. But then I am a rather forgiving person when it comes to games. (I mean I would still play World of Warcraft if I could afford it. And I enjoyed my time I spent playing Destiny.) I will say getting used to having the X button be the action button was a thing. Most games have it mapped to the A button. In this game the A button makes you jump. So there are times I go to push a button but instead I jump. Maybe the character has a phobia of pushing buttons? Another “problem,” if you want to call it that, is the load times between areas is considerable. When you first start the game (after you have turned the system off) it feels like five minutes before the game loads up. Now I am playing on a disc so that could be the deal.
Finally would I recommend this? Have you not been paying attention? This game is awesome! I got this game on a loan but now I don’t want to give it back. Prey might be one game that seemed to have lived up to the hype. Yes, I heard about the release and I was a bit excited but not much. So all the news and trailers just passed over me. Now I might go back and watch those trailers.