Producer: Bethesda Softworks
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4
Rating: Mature
Genre: First-Person Shooter



Most Dangerous Game
Written by Joshua David Anderson

Some games take a very strange journey to get to your TV. They can travel a real rollercoaster ride of loops and dives during the development process and it can be a coin flip on how they are going to come out. Prey is one of those games. What started as a sequel to an older game, the Prey we got became a very different beast, with no ties to the existing property, and a different developer completely reimagining the game. So how did this coin flip turn out?

With no ties to the original or the cancelled sequel, Prey’s story is all contained in this game. You play as Morgan Yu, a scientist working on the space station Talos 1, orbiting Earth’s moon. Prey takes place in an alternate timeline of Earth, one where John F. Kennedy survives his assassination attempt and the space race in the 60s is accelerated & thrives. The US eventually works with the Russians to get humans exploring space quicker, causing an alien species to take notice. Morgan Yu is one of the people studying the aliens, called the Typhon, and is interested in their unique properties.

The setting of Talos 1 is unique in Prey and adds a lot of depth to the exploration in the game. Talos 1 is essentially a corporate office building with labs, filled with people who work both in a science capacity and in a functional one. There are tons of NPCs aboard Talos 1, and every single one has a name and personality. There are no generic characters and the station is laid out so that everyone has a place that they work and a place that they relax. You can find the stories of all these characters, by reading emails, searching their rooms, or finding stashes of their contraband in hidden places. This makes Talos 1 feel like a real place, a lived-in workspace filled with largely regular people.

Prey is also somewhat unique in the role it places you in. Combat is not necessarily clunky, but feels a little stiff simply because you are a scientist, not a soldier or a trained fighter. There aren’t a multitude of guns and weapons on the station, simply because it is not a military building. However, you will still find pistols and shotguns, stun guns and wrenches, and even some experimental science tools that can be used as weapons. Additionally, you will have the chance to use alien-provided powers to augment your combat tools. Stealth also plays a huge part of the game as well, as enemies are tough and can kill you quickly. The game allows you to choose between engaging enemies or trying to avoid them completely.

The enemies in Prey are really part of the special charm of the game. The lowest form of the Typhon alien is the Mimic, a small spider-like creature that can disguise itself like anything it sees. This happens in the game as a Mimic can look like any of the objects in Prey, everything from a coffee cup to a table. Sometimes when you enter a room, you may notice a roll of toilet paper rolling across the floor. Is it a Mimic? You may enter a room you were just in and ask yourself “were there two books on that table before?” You may even see a health kit or a ammo box ahead and rush towards it, only to be attacked by a Mimic tricking you. This sense of uncertainty in the environment really makes Prey feel special, and can ratchet the tension in the game up in a way most games simply can’t.

Prey surprisingly works despite the tumultuous development that it had. The story has a surprising number of turns and twists, and the setting is fantastic and unique while still feeling believable. There is a fair amount of character depth you can find if you want to learn about the NPCs, or you can ignore all of that and just play the story, and the open nature of Talos 1 allows exploration to be rewarding. If you can ignore the weird story of how this game came about, you will find a great sci-fi story and a great action experience.

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