Prey is a series that originally appeared in 2006, but after its sequel (Prey 2) suffered a long-string of issues, it was eventually scrapped in favour of a complete reboot with a new studio. That studio is called Arkane and if you liked their work on the Dishonored series, you’ll likely fall in love with this.
I’ve found Prey to be a brilliant first-person shooter that blends together elements from Bioshock and Dead Space (and Dishonored, no less) to create a mysterious, tension-filled experience that focuses on giving its players freedom to explore. The game is set on Talos I, a space station which is being used to research an alien race known as the Typhon. This alien force bears a strong resemblance to the Spider-Man villain, Venom, and their black goo-like construction allows them to shape shift and mimic any environmental objects; chairs, health kits or even toilet roll – nothing is safe. Unsurprisingly, the Typhon escape containment and as Morgan Yu (a passenger on Talos I) it’s your job to figure out what is happening.
Inline with Arkane’s previous work (AKA Dishonored), Prey focuses heavily on exploration and allows you to play on your own terms. You’re never forced down a particular path and the extensive character upgrade options cater well to its open-ended level design. As well as upgrading your standard skills (lock picking or character strength, for instance) you can also use alien powers with dramatic effect. It’s not long until you too can inhabit the life of a toilet roll.
If you’d rather forgo the ability to use super powers (kinds) there’s also a wide array of weapons on-hand, a couple of which include a standard pistol and wrench, but the one that caught my attention was the GLOO Cannon (a weapon that fires projectiles that stick to walls and can freeze enemies for short periods of time). Funnily enough, you can also fire its gluey balls onto scenery to provide a walk way, which is pretty neat and allows you to get creative.
There’s a lot I want to say about Prey’s story, but I don’t want to delve into too much detail as I want you to discover it for yourself. It’s full of twists and Arkane’s use of environmental storytelling really plays into its own. The space station is full of email terminals to jump onto and discover extra titbits of information.
Prey is without a doubt one of my favourite first-person shooters. It introduces a fun crafting system, a ton of character customisation and the freedom necessary to play however you wish. Much like their Dishonored series everything revolves around choices and experimentation, not a strictly linear campaign with relentless action. More of this please, Bethesda.