Prey Review

Prey is a spiritual successor to the legendary System Shock, not a sequel or successor to its namesake, Prey, from 2006. That confused me too.

You take the role of Morgan Yu, a researcher on a massive space station near the Moon.

It’s stunningly beautiful game, with a blending of traditional sci-fi art deco (“neo deco”), and mid-century modern design. Elaborate skill trees and creative weapons let you fine-tune the gameplay to your style. The story is… fine. For now, here’s the trailer.

Prey is undoubtedly fun. If that trailer looks like something you’d dig, or if you enjoyed Arkane Studio’s previous games, you’ll probably like this one too. The next part is a bit spoilery, and in some cases, somewhat nit-picky. Read on… IF YOU DARE. Kidding, it’s just a normal game critique. I say spoilers, but I’m going to try to keep them to a minimum.

Spoilers (a bit)

For the first few hours I spent with Prey I was completely enamored. It’s a gorgeous, and unique-looking, sci-fi world. The intro is creative, and definitely something I haven’t seen before.

Then the game itself gets going and… I’ve played this before. The nouns change, the wallpaper changes, but this is Bioshock. This is Dishonored. This is so many other games I’ve played in the last few years. I appreciate this is an odd complaint, but Prey feels like a sequel even though it isn’t (or it is, but it isn’t, that part is weird).

I guess my complaint is there’s nothing new here. I guess the Gloo gun (basically a weaponized glue gun) is different, and the 0g stuff is cool, but the skill trees, weapon customization, even the way the enemies are revealed, all just feels so familiar. Like they took the other games and just changed the names and the textures.

This isn’t to say it isn’t fun. It is. It’s just fun in a been-there-done-that way that only becomes apparent a few hours in. I mean, 95% of the game is essentially finding a key to open a door to progress to the next section (sorry “keycard”, so different). It’s not strictly linear, you can move around the station at will once you have the right cards, so there’s that, I guess.

It’s strange that a game that has no number in its title, and is technically its own game, feels so much like a sequel. I suppose it’s the same mentality that brings us Transformers 6 and Pirates 5 and the 3rd reboot of Batman/Spiderman/Hulk in less than a decade from its forebears.

So should you get Prey? Yes. It is, as I said, fun. There are a few bugs, to be fair, like how easy it is to get stuck and have to reload a save game, or random sound miscues. Overall though, it’s enjoyable. If you start getting a feeling of déjà vu, it’s not you. You have played this before.

Prey is out now on PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

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