As I write this article, I am slowly starting to come down from my intense adrenaline rush brought on by the brief sequences of sheer panic and uncertainty while playing Prey. I have just finished the hour-long demo of the game and I am impressed with what I saw during my playthrough. As you go through the game, creeping from room to room, you feel afraid to interact with anything simply because you don’t know what’s out to harm you and what isn’t. Like a gazelle grazing for food, you have to keep scanning the environment around you, because at any moment, you may come face to face with a vicious predator that is eyeing you as it’s Prey.
Prey is set in the year 2032. You play through the game as Doctor Morgan Yu, who wakes up his/her apartment to begin running tests with the scientists. After you make your way to the testing facilities, you must participate in a series of weird tests that, I’m sure, no average human will be able to perform properly. After completing your tests, you will have your first experiences with the main threat of the game, a breed of aliens called Mimics. Mimics have the ability to transform themselves into almost anything and hide in plain site within any room in the game. Mimics are terrifying! One moment you’re walking down a hallway, the next moment you’re swinging a wrench at something that used to be a briefcase. I began to feel paranoid while playing and decided to just start swinging at everything in site, which is the way the game developers want you to feel while playing this sci-fi horror game (it may not be categorized as a horror, but that’s what I’m calling it!)
When you finally come to grips with the fact that it’s not logical to swing aimlessly at random objects throughout the game, you start to notice a pattern of what is a mimic and what isn’t. Any, seemingly innocuous, detail can be a clue to whether you looking at a normal coffee cup or if you’re creeping up to another mimic. I can say with honesty that I will almost always feel that same bout of fear when entering a new, unexplored room. With some games, enemies can become unthreatening after a while, and they can begin to lose their luster. I doubt that will be the case with Prey. Whenever you do approach a mimic you will be blown away with heart-pounding music that makes the experience even more terrifying!
One thing you’ll notice when playing Prey is that it is completely immersive. Every room is sprinkled with notes and stories that can be both essential to the objective at hand and insightful on what is going on in the world around you. This, of course, is a theme set in many of Bethesda games. The creators want to create an immersive game world that players can feel a part of and that will provide them with a lasting experience that exceeds a simple playthrough.
Prey offers players the ability to upgrade and utilize a variety of abilities. There are three categories, engineer, scientist, and security. When you’re able to access these upgrades by using something called Neuromods. When you find these Neuromods, Dr. Yu will stick a set of needles into his/her eye to apply the upgrade you have chosen. Makes you want to cringe, doesn’t it? Among the other tools Dr. Yu is able to use, you’ll have a special weapon called a GLOO cannon, and different variety of ordinary firearms. The GLOO cannon is interesting because it gives players the ability to create alternate paths throughout the game. If you come across a room of mimics and you don’t want to deal with the intense fear and bad guessing, you can just use the GLOO cannon to create a path above or around them and go about your business. The GLOO cannon is a perfect catalyst for what the guys at Bethesda want the players to experience, which is freedom of choice. You have different options for how you want to approach the game and the enemies within it. The decisions you make will alter how people within the universe react to you. After completing the demo, it’s clear that there will be a lot of twists and turns within this story and I’m interested in seeing how the mimics were released on the ship in the first place, I’m almost certain its all some convoluted plan developed from the inside.
So far, Prey looks great! The brief bit of gameplay featured an interesting and some pretty unique styles of play that I haven’t experienced with many other games. It will offer players with a refreshing change to the typical games that are out there today. Prey will release on May 5 but if you want to get your hands on it early make sure you download the demo that’s out now. If you want to see me play, check out my gameplay video, I’ll leave the link below. You’ll get to see me experience that fear and uncertainty I was talking about first hand! See you next time!