Prey — 4.5/5 Stars
Prey is a psychological thriller, first-person shooter, sandbox game by developer Arkane Studios. Players take control of Dr. Morgan Yu, who is either a male or female protagonist depending on player preference. Morgan is a scientist who quickly has the rug pulled out from under him or her, as Morgan learns that he/she is not on Earth, but has been living as a human test subject in experiments that repeatedly wipe his/her memory. Morgan discovers that not only is he/she aboard the Talos I space station in orbit around the moon, but that the space station is overrun by a parasitic and deadly alien species known as the Typhon.
Prey features exceptionally slick visuals that lead to a compelling feeling of immersion. As players traverse the space station, they are treated to a variety of environments from offices to maintenance tunnels to even a small artificial forest. Each area is rendered with great attention to detail, making exploration feel rich and exciting. Prey also uses the visuals to impact gameplay, as whenever you are attacked the screen will darken and flicker, simulating the stress and adrenaline rush of combat.
The gameplay in Prey is a mix of combat, exploration, and problem solving, as players find ways around obstacles and complete objectives. The combat is a highlight of the game as Prey features a variety of weapons as well as character upgrades called Neuromods. Neuromods allow players to customize their playstyle with both human and alien abilities. The human abilities focus on physical strength or weapon proficiency, while alien abilities are more along the lines of psychic powers and elemental manipulation. This variety and customization keeps the gameplay fresh and exciting as players continue to build their character throughout the course of the game. Also, enemies are considerably stronger than you— especially at first—so victories and leveling up feels exceptionally satisfying.
The story of Prey unfolds as new revelations about Morgan’s past and the space station come to light. The more Morgan learns, the more he/she must wrestle with questions of morality regarding what has happened, and what he/she should do about it. Are power, knowledge, and scientific progress at any cost worth it? Is it worth having the power to defeat the aliens if you lose your humanity in the process? This struggle immediately brings to mind Matthew 16:26 (NIV), where Jesus asks “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
Prey is a very enjoyable game from beginning to end, with both story and gameplay that kept me on the edge of my seat. Fans of first-person shooters, open world exploration, and good science fiction will find Prey a real treat.
— Chris Clark | Portland | Northern New England