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Prey is a first person action game developed by Arkane Studios and Published by Bethesda Softworks on May 5th 2017. The game follows Morgan Yu aboard a space station beset by an alien outbreak. You are being hunted.
Prey Off the Reservation
If you go into Prey expecting a sequel to to the 2006 game of the same name you may be disappointed. The only aspect the two games share is the title. This new Prey sets its own path built upon tried and true methods pioneered by many titles that came before.
Prey begins with the player character, Morgan Yu, waking up in his/her San Francisco apartment ready for the first day at TranStar Research. A scenic helicopter ride ferries Morgan to TranStar tower where elder brother Alex greets him. A short testing series begins, filling the function of a tutorial. The events so far feel mundane and luls me into a complacent state…until a mimic attacks. The scene faded to black amid the hiss of anesthetic gas. Morgan awakens in the same bed, on the same day, to the same scene almost like groundhog day. But its not the same. The apartment building, the helicopter, the office tower, all of it is a simulation for a yet unknown purpose. So the stage is set for Prey.
Is that My Coffee Mug?
The first enemy you encounter in Prey are Mimics, small four legged spider like creatures made of shadow and malice. Mimics are able to shape shift into the form of nearby items, coffee cups, chairs, health packs, and so on. This ability makes them quite the terror early on. I often found myself striking every object in a room in search of mimics to keep from being ambushed. Despite my attempted vigilance I was continuously startled by mimics hiding in plain sight. They travel, and strike, in groups that can quickly overwhelm the player as I discovered on several occasions. I quickly found myself in constant state of paranoia.
The Mimics are only the basic form of the Typhon organism, the primary enemy in the game. The Typhon are utterly alien. Everything about them feels wrong, impossible, and threatening. Their forms shift and flicker like a distorted image. Their forms stretch and contort in fluid motions impossible for anything with a skeleton. Mimics multiply by consuming the living, the dead are reformed into vaguely humanoid Phantasms. At first you may thing these creatures are unintelligent, driven by instinct and primal need. But an intelligence drives them, a cunning that hounds you, that hunts you.
A Living World
The Typhon wiped out nearly all life on the station in an instant. The black stained desiccated bodies left behind litter the station. As you explore you will find computer consoles, emails, and audio logs that detail the lives of the researchers who populated Talos 1. The people are fully developed characters who truly feel alive. As you explore you may discover evidence of a nerf war between station sections. Emails detail the events of a tabletop RPG game being held in the station rec room. There is even a tumultuous relationship drama between two crew members. All this detail brings Talos 1 to life and makes the Typhon infestation all the more terrible.
Smarter, Stronger, Faster
The Typhon and Talos 1 are tied together by the Neuromod. Neuromods use typhon physiology to imprint new memories and skills into the user. These can enable all manner of skills including many typhon abilities like Mimic! How this is accomplished is for you to explore and discover. Neuromods are obtained in two different ways, they are found through the station or crafter at a fabricator. It is possible to remove these mods but doing so “resets” the brain to its state prior to the mods being installed.
My time in the Prey is limited for the moment but what I’ve seen so far is spectacular. Arkane Studios delivered a chilling adventure that asks some very thought provoking questions. I can’t wait to see and experience more in this exciting and terrifying world.
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