Prey is the dream come true of those who, like me, grew up with System Shock and the aged BioShock. It is pleasantly shocking how that lovely habit of getting lost among a thousand virtual drawers and real notes can still be embodied in virtue of a deep game as few as deep as the old games.
It means that the memory cassette to draw upon memories is quite large, in my case of ultra-forties gamer always. Yet I can hardly remember a deeper gameplay than that of Prey. And with "deep" I mean incredibly complex and, much to unravel continuing to evolve in terms of number and size of the interactions of its many elements of the game for at least thirty hours, without having the ambition to explore them all.
In addition to having dug into their own historical memory, one that goes from Arx Fatalis to Dishonored 2, Arkane Studios has apparently drawn to Origin (i) of the genus and is reflected in the reflections of a glorious past weblog Looking Glass, however, keeping his gaze on the present gaming and film.
Prey tries to combine many things together as they used to be with dynamic modern shooter games with countless open drawers and items to pick up with an interface that we face in managing everything in an enormous free roaming city but hopelessly isolated like the wonderful underwater madness of Irrational, with claustrophobic physical and psychological fears of Alien and Moon.
In Prey, science fiction stems from political fiction, as you will discover by playing. A sci shout in space which no one can hear scream. To be sure, the star Morgan Yu did not even speak. If not using an effective narrative device, which hides behind a mirror as one of the supporting pillars of the articulated story. A pillar built brick by brick along the adventure, as well as all others.
Without going into details of course, to follow and study before the collapse of the terminal there are the column personal narrative, that of an alien threat as intangible as it is real, and overall the space station and its all, personal. On (multiple final), even and especially the latter narrative pillar challenge others to climb, picking up countless written information, audio and video will give you the greatest satisfaction in terms of identification and interpretation of the chosen role in the game, so do not underestimate.
The design level is complex but never complicated. Already in terms of plot we are going on the whole, the Prey gameplay is literally another planet compared to almost all modern productions. The only choice that does not seem to have any effect in the short and / or long-term is to start on the gender of the main character, male or female. Honestly, for now a second time with a person of the opposite sex at least I credit my numerous hands-on preview but it does not seem to play wearing the spacesuit of a man I have not had time to go over any game or a woman changes something in terms of narrative or statistical.
Even personal relationships I think it remains unchanged, with what this means when the latter are of sentimental character. Certainly, however, in this field we are not at the levels of interpretation of a Mass Effect, and the extra work in terms of (good) localization is the only extra that you will enjoy playing both sexes one after another.
That said, everything else is interpreted and customizable in Prey. It's all about choices. In an integration masterpiece of the genre it is not easy to do a classification and a subsequent description of the various types of decisions that you are taking seamlessly throughout the adventure. Especially considering the multitude of causes and consequences that these choices have interacting and penetrating countless other elements of a wonderful single player, perfectly calibrated and almost never scripted.
A complexity such as to prohibit to sublime while game designers such as those of Arkane the implementation of a multiplayer mode, evidently a nightmare especially on the floor of the mere balancing of many variables and such gameplay. A multi that, among other things, would have been "philosophically" Forced: less than evolve into a kind of Evolve in the role of predators in prey Prey is and must be one, one and indivisible. Sola. Even in his very personal choices, we said.
Shortcuts shooter but also as role playing, as well as survival action adventure. Choices material and moral. If it is daunting and a bit 'useless to proceed to their distinction and classification, then we start from the physical and physiological basis on which they are based, such choices: materials to be assembled together and Neuromod shoot from orbit. It is when the number of available materials and Neuromod grows exponentially that you really shoot Prey in orbit, opening the full potential of its gameplay.
Do it grow or not, needless to say, it is another of the choices you must make. Probably the most important of all. As in any RPG worthy of respect, in fact, "to farm" materials and Neuromod exploring all places, the lakes and the drawers of the immense space station is important to grow your own alter ego, both in terms of personal skills of equipment to arrangement. But do not worry. As we will discover, the exploration is never dull or an end in itself, thanks to a superb level design.
Among the materials to be collected there really is everything from foods more or less futuristic medical briefcases to restore physical health and mental resources; by more or less improbable weapons with ammunition; by ballistic kit to strengthen the arsenal equivalent to additional modules suit and helmet to do the same with the equipment; by said Neuromod (which deserve a separate discussion) a lot of seemingly useless junk.
The appearance is often deceptive in Prey, though. Because any object collected, including the fundamental garbage, on a cutting-edge space station as Talos I can judiciously be reworked through appropriate recyclers, that deplete it in sympathetic cubes of four types of material. These practical cubes, which have the advantage of taking up very little space in your inventory, thanks to the assemblers and specific projects can be assembled in different proportions to create almost all of the above objects.
A virtuous circle, very eco and player-friendly, which lets you choose the player what to recycle and assemble according to their style of play, to what uses or does not use, the explored areas, his favorite weapons, his favorite gadget, his skills unlocked.
Choices, in fact. Worship the GLOO cannon and endless physical interactions, morphological and environmental factors that can create or activate firing its solidifying foam blob, was not even the Gravity Gun from Half-Life 2? Put in the recycler the gunplay not exactly predestined à la Destiny of this Prey in the form of a little 'anonymous fire-eaters who embody it, and assembled an avalanche of foam ammunition with which cursed Mimic before finishing them with the wrench in style Gordon Freeman.
Clear: also the aforementioned gunplay not extremely refined can be generated by a precise choice, this time by the developers. Perhaps a choice a little 'comfortable, I grant you. But Prey would be much more than a shooter. For the best taste Prey you should not shoot at all, but to do everything. Some basic cumbersome in terms of game interface is therefore difficult to avoid the approach of its complexity. So much so that, properly strengthening the weapons, the lightweight feedback and poor precision initially granted (especially playing on via joypad) console improves a lot. And then the fate of Prey is sure to be a New Destiny, then we fly over.
The phases in space are as beautiful as they are useful. Fly Over The Talos is a spatial experience, it seems to live Gravity firsthand. In Prey you can choose to move in and out of the station, needless to say. Of course, before you wander through space - without venturing too far, worth deadly radiation better put on overalls and the basic helmet that lets you scan Typhon enemies and absorb their alien abilities.
And here we are at Neuromod, the other cornerstone of Prey gameplay. On the lines of plasmids BioShock , it's injectable modification to help you learn and use instantly as Matrix human abilities and alien. The number of Neuromod necessary to activate each individual previously unlocked capacity depends on the skill tree of belonging. There are three trees of human skills (Science, Engineering and Safety) and three aliens (Energy, Change, Telepathy), for a total of nearly a hundred skills.
I have already spoken on numerous previews previous game, so I will not repeat. Suffice to say that, in this case, the choice of how, when and why to use the Neuromod is totally free, as crucial in assisting a style of play than another. No limit: if it is true that there is a potion "reset acquired skills" like in The Witcher 3, it is equally true that the Neuromod can be assembled (though later in the board game ever tenersene someone reserves).
The opening system is certified by specific ex ante trophies/objectives, which guarantee how the game is terminable in a more or less honorable is killing everyone that not killing anyone. Just like Dishonored, also in terms of consequences of endgame, only here there being more complex humans and aliens.
Any branch of specialization you choose to grow, preferably more than one, it is impossible to get stuck. The superb game and level design allows you to move forward in ever different ways and more and more as the hours of play they accumulate. Exploration, combat, stealth, hacking, repairs, lifting, stealth; but also telepathy, imitation, telekinesis and various elemental powers and possible: Prey puts in the hands and brains of Morgan Yu an arsenal that is the dream of anyone who has fantasized about fantasy and science fiction at least once in life.
And what dream is that if there is a nightmare to be his counterpart? A Nightmare Alien (o) and Predator (s) such as chasing prey Yu up and down the station, while the poor chases vaguely what it is, was or will be. The nemesis of existential doubts of the protagonist is a huge Typhon, who perfectly embodies its anxieties and fears in the black shapes, changing and indistinct of a Heart of Darkness-dimensional. But it was only one, the nightmare would be too easy.
The various types of aliens that Morgan is facing are not many, fewer than a dozen, but they are extremely marked. Not so much from the visual point of view, consisting essentially impalpable as disturbing pitch-black forms, but especially at a tactical level. Again, I will not spoil the surprise going into the details.
One advice. Study the different types of enemies repeatedly with Psicoscopio, used weapons and suitable powers, and exploited the generous interactivity scenarios for causing environmental damage. Their AI is good, given the complexity of the maps to interpret for the CPU also vertically, as in recent Deus Ex. Wait until you get to the Power Plant and you will realize.
Only the same nightmare I found it a bit dumb, paradoxically, perhaps because of his abnormal size to slow it down - but not just physically in the tightest spaces. Escape, or even delete it (temporarily) is not impossible, especially playing at two levels of difficulty on the four most affordable available.
That said, Prey is certainly not an easy game, especially for fans of speedrun, who will meet with an alter ego few facilities for advanced parts of the adventure. The inherent scarcity of ammunition does not help, though, as we have seen, you can be assembled. For those who, despite everything, he wanted to play the game fundamentally as a shooter, the advice is to integrate the already thorough checkpoint system using throttle bailouts and faster uploads, really fast and also available on consoles.
Prey offers many trophies easily, but some really difficult. Much less fast, always on PS4 and Xbox, are alas loadings between 14 areas that make up the space station, internal and external. At first there is a big problem, because you tend to explore along the various new areas crossed for the first time. But when later in the game you are forced by the main mission (or incentivized by the beautiful side quests) to go back and forth from various areas with a backtracking never boring thanks to an increasingly massive and diverse alien presence in the same the length of boots interrupts certainly more than necessary action (it exceeds the minute).
This is the only real technical flaw that personally weighed on a gaming experience otherwise nothing short of stellar. Sound effects superlatives, in which music often and willingly leaves the scene to emphasize a state of constant prey in constant drain voltage soul. Bug technical or graphics not received within thirty hours of play, but only a sporadic and accidental telekinesis at the beginning of the game, impossible to not yet having the appropriate skills.
Then, all right, unlike in the gameplay, the graphics are not particularly complex or spectacular, at least on consoles. No coincidence that gives the best of itself at the level of visual suggestions in marvelously free and evocative phases outside Talos I, in which the vastness of space literally steals the scene at a density of polygons and textures.
But it is utterly integral to gameplay so complex, full of sensitive areas to spot visually and with which quickly interact, with an eye also about players without mouse console and half a meter from the nose monitor. It is clean, colorful and fluid, and that is enough for those in a game like Prey tries gameplay first.
For the imagination of a space station, with all the icy, minimalist cinematic influences that door, I Talos is too rich in color and detail in differentiating the various areas, albeit in the context of a common futuristic style. Too bad miss the equivalent of brilliant creative spark that lit the art design of BioShock. That said, in terms of "Liberty" in a broad sense, Prey is however put fine. Liberate the dream. Open the drawer.
I downloaded the 40 GB of Prey thanks to a PS4 code given me by the Italian distributor. I completed the Country singles only available mode in about 30 hours at normal level, completing most of the missions, including secondary, and seeing the various available final (main three, with some variations).
Note that the game does not feel the tipping point beyond which some side quests literally disappear and no longer be completed although it's pretty obvious what this point managed to best the 10 available save slots. There is no "New Game Plus" mode, for the record. So far I have collected 28 of the 49 trophies available, for a total of 45% advance. Platinum is made daunting by the usual Trophy made by Arkane do not kill anything or anyone, which in Prey I think the sooner the equivalent in the two Dishonored.
Prey is many things of a modern System Shock and a BioShock in space; a Dead Space firsthand; Mass Effect a loner. At the same time, it is also a sci-fi shooter light years away from Infinite Warfare or Destiny. It is intended for those craving dive for at least thirty hours in deep space that surrounds and permeates the perfect reconstruction of a space station in which to live exciting close encounters of the third Typhon.
A claustrophobic gilded cage, a complex orbiting sandbox in which to explore environments, actions, people and interactions of all kinds. It is not the right experience for those who love to shoot one and only, because for the many merits (and some guilt) of the game should not be too far away.