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What I Played This Week – Prey

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The newest addition to the sci-fi game rosters is Arkane Studio’s newest release Prey, which is equal parts exploring an open sandbox and the battle of terrifying spider aliens.

 

I really enjoyed Dishonoured when it first came out and the sequel, Dishonoured 2, was the first game I played when I got my Playstation 4 this year, so it’s safe to say that when I found out Arkane Studios was going to be bringing out a space adventure, I was well and truly hyped for this game.

And it was worth the wait.

Visually, Prey is beautiful, as most new releases are. But what sets Talos 1 apart from the rest is that it is a space station with so many corners and so much life breathed into it. Arkane Studios is well known for putting copious amounts of lore and history into their games and Prey is no different – you will find history books and scientific journals and fantasy books of this new world strewn about the place, alongside emails and audio logs of those who had lived and worked on the space station.

One of the most human and humorous parts of the game has the first weapons you can make is a something akin to a nerf gun, called Huntress Boltcaster which can’t actually do any damage to the mimics – the game’s main enemy – but can be used for distraction purposes. You’ll find emails about this nerf crossbow battle taking place within offices and the Dungeons and Dragons game that the head of security was going to play before the whole ship went crazy.

And, let’s not forgot, Glooey McGlooface.

These additions make the world that you’re running through even more tangible and the corpses you find littered about even sadder to come across.

But this isn’t a game that is just immersive. No, it can be straight up terrifying at times. Which make senses really, when the main enemy you face across the game is a wobbly black tar spider monster that can morph itself into anything from a coffee cup to that medkit you were just about the pickup. They skitter and hide and jump out at you when you least expect, giving you some real jump scares.

They do however become more an annoyance after a little while. Too low down, too fast and everywhere. After the fourth time of you dying to them, you’ll probably be more than a little enraged.

The phantoms though - they are the enemy that are really menacing. Not only are they huge but they’re quick. They look like Venom from Spiderman, throw balls of electricity at you and whisper to themselves just to let you know they’re there.

Because you see – phantoms used to be humans.

In terms of being set in space, Prey offers an opportunity that very few space games actually allow you to do – a spacewalk. And, even better, a free roaming spacewalk.

Equipped with a propulsion engine, you can twist, turn, circle the ship and put on the breaks before you float out into deep space. It’s a little disorientating – I didn’t even realise I was travelling upside down until I needed to be the right way up again – but it’s a feeling of enormity that few games set in space actually have. The closest I can think of is Alien Isolation and even then, you were relegated to walking across a fixed bridge.

Another thing worth mentioning is our playable character, Morgan Yu. Regardless of whether you play as male Morgan or female Morgan, you were straight up badass. Your story doesn’t change, how people treat you doesn’t change and your romantic history doesn’t change - yes, that means female Morgan can date girls,; all the awards to Arkane Studios for that one!

Whilst Prey has a feel all of its own, it's something that has clearly been inspired by the likes of Bioshock and Dead Space - the desolate and abandoned setting, the husks of bodies, the terrifying enemies. Your first weapon is even a wrench, much like System Shock and Bioshock. Even more Bioshock referencing come from the introduction of Neuromods. Whilst they are a massive part of the story (which I'm not going to give away) and definitely have far more opportunity to gain awesome skills than Bioshock has, it definitely has its overt connections, including the horrified needle that injects these superpowers into your system.

This seems to be the year of sci-fi, with Alien Convent coming out, and Mass Effect: Andromeda released only in March, and Prey is an excellent addition to a brilliant soundtrack, awesome gameplay mechanics and a brilliantly badass main character in Morgan.




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