Prey – An Underrated Gem

When Prey released last year, I kept telling myself I’ll get around to it. Last year was stacked with quality releases and being an adult with different priorities I generally pick and choose what I play. Prey stayed on my radar for months and I honestly forgot about the title at the beginning of this year. At E3, Bethesda announced that Prey was receiving DLC in the form of Mooncrash, which is a rogue-like mode taking place on a moonbase in which everything is randomized with the exception of the levels. Regardless, once I heard the news and saw that Prey was 14.99 on the PSN store, I knew it was finally time to give it a go.

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This is a helluva game.

There’s a lot to Prey that at times it can feel overwhelming. It will remind you of Bioshock, with the various abilities that emulate your enemies. It will remind you a bit of Dishonored, in fact Arkane Studios developed that series, as players are given the freedom to tackle objectives in any way they choose, but be warned, your choices do matter. Like Dishonored, your playstyle will contribute to the chaos aboard the Talos 1 and will ultimately affect the ending. Prey is ultimately what you choose it to be, which is ironic because you’re being chased and harassed by extraterrestrial lifeforms known as the Typhon that can mimic damn near everything.

If you happen to enjoy prop hunt and always wondered what it would be like in a survival horror game then wonder no more. Prey’s enemies can and will shock you if you’re not careful. Attention to detail is required and bashing everything with a wrench feels like it’s a necessary action when entering a new area. Even in areas in which you consider a safe room really aren’t safe with the Mimics abilities. This is a tense and incredibly atmospheric experience as everything and anything can kill you. But don’t fret, Prey has enough weapons and ability variety to help you fight back. Just pick and choose your encounters as resources are incredibly scarce.

Ballistic weapons such as the shotgun or the pistol are handy tools against the mimics but the energy weapons and various throwable items are the most effective. There’s a tool that can turn enemies into resources and when used in conjunctions with your Typhon abilities can create devastating results. Then theres the Gloo cannon, which shoots a foamy, sticky substance, its glue people, and this can be used to traverse the space stations and stop enemies for a short time. It is the best new weapon in recent years because of its various uses. I used to it travel to different areas because Prey implores exploration. Screw stairs and ladders, make your own path. It can also help you get out of sticky situations. Ha!

Typhon abilities that you acquire can vary, you have telekinetic blasts, mind control, machine control, and you can even mimic items in the environment. These abilities can make you incredibly powerful but will carry with them some unintended consequences. You can be targeted by turrets or other machinery because of the changes in physiology which can make certain sections more difficult than they need to be, Prey does an excellent job in ensuring that you’re not an outright god by providing consequences to your actions. You’ll also encounter more powerful mimics because of these powers so be warned when making your choices.

The Neuromods, which act as upgrades, are scarce and well hidden so when you make a choice you need to be sure. While you can create almost anything in the game, including neuromods, it can be costly and depending on the different encounters you will go through resources quickly. Enemies are fairly durable and with no ability to aim down your sights, you can already assume that you’ll miss your fair share of shots. It can be frustrating but it does reinforce the fact that you aren’t some super soldier with a military background.

Exploring the Talos 1 is honestly one of the best parts about Prey. Almost every crew member you find has a story to tell and logging/hacking into the various consoles will detail the intent of the space station. It’s a fascinating and engrossing environment, there are so many nooks and crannies that it’s impossible to uncover its secrets on your first playthrough. Especially because the threat of the mimics is ever present. Even when you clear an area, returning to it might result in new mimics appearing making it difficult to backtrack in certain areas. It’s not the smaller ones that should worry you, hell not even the humanoids with their different attunements, you can outwit those, it’s the telepathic ones and the Nightmare that will make you sweat.

The Nightmare in particular, is a massive Typhon that will randomly appear to ruin your day.  They are fast, strong, durable, and are relentless. Think of the Tyrant and Nemesis from Resident Evil, it’s one of those enemies that make exploration a trying task. My first experience was great, I had a ton of resources, and by the time the battle was through, I was at a low point.  I made a habit in other encounters to hide because it only appear for three minutes, but when it does appear it might be best to avoid confrontation altogether.

I won’t dive into the narrative of Prey because almost anything discussed can be considered a spoiler.  It’s a game that is best played and discovered on your own.  There is a lot to see and do and also run from.  The last few years have seen a dearth of quality titles released and it’s not hard to see Prey being overlooked.  It wasn’t given much in regards to marketing but this is a title that fans of different genres can enjoy. It’s survival-horror with RPG and heavy stealth elements in a Sci-Fi environment.  What’s not to love?

Make sure you pick up Mooncrash because it can provide hours upon hours of gameplay outside of the main campaign.

Terror in deep-space is the best type of deep-space.

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