Tech News on G4
Prey, a mash-up that falls short of greatness
May 11, 2017
By John Powell - G4 Canada
Stop me if you heard this one before…A space station/space ship becomes the target of an alien invasion. Almost the entire crew/populace is wiped out and a crew/hero either stumbles across said space station/space ship or is ordered to investigate.
No, we aren’t talking about Alien Covenant or in fact many of the other Alien movies or the knock-offs. We are talking about Prey, the first-person action-adventure game. Besides the alien-invasion plot, Prey borrows or is inspired, depending how you look at things, from other sources. It is like an odd mash-up of Half-Life, Bioshock and Dishonored.
As Morgan Yu, it is your first day on the job for TranStar and their scientific research labs located on the space station, Talos I. Morgan quickly discovers that his entire life is a simulation. Unbeknownst to him, he has been living on the station for three years. This is just the start of the glut of twists and turns in the storyline which serve to only shock and surprise but don’t really make a whole lot of sense.
Once Morgan gets past his sham of a life, he begins exploring Talos I which has been overrun by a shape-shifting alien species: the Typhon. The Typhon come in various shapes and sizes but mostly they look like oil slicks or Venom from Spider-Man. The Mimics look like facehuggers from Alien but can take the form of chairs and garbage cans. There are the Phantoms, which are humanoid Typhon who can teleport. There are Weavers who can reanimate corpses and turn them into Phantoms.
You get the idea.
To combat the Typhon, Morgan locates some more efficient weaponry rather than the trusty wrench he carries around. There is the typical FPS fare: a shotgun, a boltcaster and a pistol. There are also some specialized weapons like the GLOO Cannon which fires hardening paste or glue to incapacitate enemies. There is a disruptor stun gun which stuns foes for brief periods of time. There is the Q-Beam, a laser tool and a bunch of different grenades.
Morgan can also gain super powers or increase his existing skills using Neuromods. Neuromods alter a subject’s brain so that they can acquire new abilities or enhance the ones they already have.
There is also a crafting mechanic but that just slows down the already plodding gameplay.
As Morgan explores the ravaged Talos I with the help of a disembodied guide, he encounters survivors and uncovers the space station’s secrets. The problem with Prey is Morgan isn’t given much to do. Besides the occasional dust-up with the aliens, Prey is bogged down with fetch quests. Find a key card. Find an entrance. Find a password. Find this or that person. It goes on and on and on.
Instead of battling aliens, you spend the overwhelming majority of your time navigating the station and trying to get from one section to another and searching the station. To top it all off most of the closets, cupboards, hatches, desks and work stations are completely and utterly empty.
As a re-imaging of the 2006 game of the same name, Prey has great atmosphere and a lot of great concepts but they never really come together to create something unique and exceptional. It could have been the next System Shock or Bioshock but instead Prey is just a recycling bin filled to the brim with second-hand ideas.
Rating: 7 / 10
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