Prey has high ambitions that waver halfway through its story. The early hours store up a lot of dread and tension as you wander through the massive halls of Talos I station, only to have your endgame character be a walking apocalypse. 

No doubt the game provides hours of fun and excitement. However, it breaks no real grounds from a mechanical standpoint. It's just BioShock all over again, where the final hours have your character feeling overpowered.

Of course, that depends on how you played the game.

In some ways the title carries the DNA of movies I've grown up with, particularly Alien, Blade Runner, and a certain movie starring Bill Murray and directed by the late Harold Ramis. Maybe it's the recent theatrical release and trailer, but exploring Talos I feels awfully reminiscent of the Nostromo in Alien. There are real threats on the ship which give you cause to navigate and neutralize them; all while dwelling on your personal identity like in Blade Runner. 

 is a story of identity. Your character, Morgan Yu, is defined by the choices you make.

There are two sides here: the first being how you play the game. Do you want to burn down anything and everything that stands in your way? Or would you rather find alternative options than kill enemies outright?

The second side is when encountering NPCs, you will be asked to do side missions. Missions that are mundane, petty, and a spit to the face in an otherwise engaging narrative. You can get some cool stuff by completing them but otherwise, these side missions are illusions which extend the game's length and (among other things) contribute to the whole theme of identity that Prey plays upon. 

You can build your character's set of skills through installing neuromods. These skills are everything you've come to expect from upgrades: hacking skills, increased combat efficiency, and so on. The neuromods themselves are sparse at first, though later you are given way too many that you don't know what to do with them.

And yet the arcane technologies in Prey put you in a position to make huge decisions. You see, scattered throughout Talos I are turrets that you can run into screaming while they take care of the enemy Typhon aliens behind you. The flipside is that the more neuromods you install into your system, the less human you become. This means that the turrets that aim for those pesky aliens will turn on you as well. 

If BioShock had plasmids and Dishonored had supernatural powers, what makes combat interesting in Prey are the varied weapons.

You start off with the trusty wrench, which is a huge nod to Half-Life's crowbar and BioShock's own plumbing apparatus. The wrench is your best friend here as it can be used in conjunction with other weapons, like the Disruptor Stun Gun and the really awesome GLOO Gun, when you're running low on ammo.

Speaking of the GLOO Gun, this may be the single most interesting weapon in the game. It allows you to turn enemies into platforms which you can stand on, allowing you to get to those hard-to-reach areas located around Talos I.  

Another feature that keeps you on your toes is the fact that any object in the game can suddenly burst into a mimic - a basic type of Typhon that can shapeshift. There are no scripted scenarios here and it helps keep replays fresh. I noticed that this random encounter mechanic, when combined with the GLOO Gun, can help you cut corners every now and then. 

What I didn't like about the game was going back and forth into your hub where you recycle all the scrap that you pick up for survival items. It gets tedious and honestly isn't interesting at all. 

Is Prey a great game? Nah. It's okay at best. If it weren't for the random encounters and the weapons, I'd have given this game a much lower rating. 

One more thing: Even though it's the de facto rule when finishing games, do make sure to stick through until the end of the credits. Prey pulled off a Marvel thing.

About the author: Karen Benitez

Skater, musician, carpenter, gamer. Karen is interested in culture, science fiction, and Cthulhu. She participated in MMA bouts, got her ass kicked many times, and ended up with broken bones. Life is good.

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