The first Prey´s release dates back to 2006, and that's probably already known to you. To be less known is that in one way or the other the first tracks of the series (if we can call it that way) date back over twenty years ago. The Prey news started in fact since 1995, when 3D Realms conceived the very first version, and then in the early 2000s passed the testimony to Human Head Studios, the team to which the game was played as we have known it. A gesture of eleven years, exactly how many are the ones that separate the first Prey from the second, which in reality is not. For a while, in fact, Prey 2 was actually developing at Human Head Studios, but this before the change of route wanted by Bethesda. We jump to E3 last year when the Maryland publisher announced the official reboot of the franchise by calling Arkane Studios' boys on the wave crest thanks to the excellent Dishonored. Between a test here and there and the published demo ago we had several occasions to learn about the Prey in 2017, finally coming to make tabula rasa of all the work done before, including the Prey released in 2006: it was worth it well worth it? Let's find out together!
BioShock, System Shock, Dishonored and more: Prey draws from so many but shines with its own light!
The setting of the new Prey is now known to the most, but for the benefit of those who have so far lived on the Moon we still do a rerun. In 1963, John F. Kennedy succeeded in escaping the Dallas attack that in real history cost him his life, thus creating an alternative version of the Space Race that could have repercussions until 2032, when the story told takes place. Talos I is a research station located near the Moon, where human activity has attracted the attention of the Typhon, an alien race with extraordinary powers, for decades before.
Acquired by TranStar Corporation, the former Talos I space station is now the site where so-called Neuromods are being developed, implants that can modify the structure of the human brain to allow people to absorb the powers of the Typhon, or in any case to gain capacity which go beyond those of a living standardized living being. In this situation begins the adventure of Morgan Yu, a researcher recruited by his brother Alex to go to work on Talos I: during a series of initial tests something goes wrong and one of the people involved is attacked by a Typhon out of control. Thus begins a real invasion, which will leave Morgan alive with the alien threat inside the station, but above all with so many questions to find an answer. As a matter of fact, Morgan knows much more than he can imagine at first but at the same time is struck by an amnesia that does not remind him of anything: to guide him to the truth will be January's robotic operator, scheduled by Morgan himself, while Alex will still try to provide its own version of the facts. Depending on the choice made at the beginning of the game, Morgan can be a man or a woman, but this does not change anything except in the ability of the controller to feel more comfortable in the role of the protagonist. A feeling of identification that is at the basis of the success of Prey, a title in which nothing is literally as it seems - both in the room where you are, for the reasons we will see, in the plot set up by Arkane Studios. Chris Avellone's participation in the screenplay is just the icing on the cake of a Talos I to savor to the last drop, following with great interest the main story but also being carried by so many secondary missions, destined to reveal us so much on the station of research but also on Morgan himself. The different finals available will reflect our actions, inviting us to rediscover Prey even after completing the first game. Considering the gaming dynamics that we are seeing, it becomes difficult to quantify a duration, even though you will hardly stumble for twenty hours. On Talos There are so many things to do and so many ways to do it, and all - even the duration - fits in to the player's style.
Prey draws in full hands from so many other works, video games and not, carefully selecting the aspects to produce something that enjoys all his charm. It does nothing to hide it, because it is not written anywhere that being a derivative is necessarily a defect. From a start that reminds a bit of the Edge of Tomorrow movie (or the manga All you need is kill), as well as the first example of Typhon, which is by no means called Mimic: an arachnid monster, able to transform into any object in its vicinity.
If in a room you see a cup, a jar, or even a medikit, at times it may be wise to shoot him to make sure he is not a Mimic who has decided to bid us an ambush, especially attacking the player's coronary. It is mainly thanks to these little friends that the early hours of Prey instill in the mind of the player a very high sense of paranoia, also increased by the fact that for much of the beginning Morgan has a single English key to deal with the Typhon. For their part, the aliens obviously do everything to increase our fears, from a point that closely remembers the subject of nightmares: black and menacing shadows, in some cases humanoid like the Spectrum, up to Incubus, a kind of Nemesis by Resident Evil 3 that will continue to hunt for us most of the adventure. The main weapon to which Morgan, Cannon GLOO, is given, tells us a lot about the real chances that he can have in one-on-one fight with an alien: this is a cannon that shoots an extremely sticky glue, thanks to which You can lock or slow the Typhon, depending on their size. Its nature allows it to be useful even when we do not face enemies, to build a ladder to otherwise unattainable positions or fend off, embracing the variety that permeates all of Prey´s gaming situations. One of the main advantages of Arkane Studios' fatigue is in search of design levels, which opens up a number of alternatives to achieve a predetermined goal. For example, to open a safe, you can take advantage of your hacking skills (obtained through Neuromod), or go for the search for the combination of the many notes and documents you can find around. With Typhon, as you may have guessed, the approaches can be different: taking them to the face is almost never a good idea, which is instead the study of the surrounding environment, to find Talos I room points that can help us do out the alien threat. Returning to Prey´s early hours, the game unexpectedly approaches the horizons of a survival horror, including the absence of excessive amounts of ammunition and the presence of an enormous inventory, in which to find space to enter hard drives broken and banana skins.
Although, as we have already said, the sense of paranoia that Prey is giving us does not go away so easily, after a few hours of gaming things change in favor of a greater threat by Morgan itself, destined to shift from the role of Prey to that of predator.
The various Neuromods, especially the alien, provide the protagonist with a growing array of weapons with which to approach the Typhon, among which we point out the ability to trigger psychic waves and to camouflage them like the Mimic. All this will have a price, because by losing their human identity, Morgan will end up becoming more and more like the creatures with which he fights, even confusing even the protection turrets that might turn him back. The same Neuromods can be built through the craftsmanship system, based on a perfect waste cycle from their collection to reuse, passing through their reduction to a variety of materials. By collecting the above banana skins, for example, one of the many recyclers present on Talos I can be used to generate organic material, to be introduced into another machine called fabricator to create a brand new medikit. As you have understood, so many of the aspects that make up Prey go hand in hand, but there are some who suffer more than others. When you start shooting, you realize that the dynamics of the shooter are rather related, to the point that they are even frustrating in some breaches. For example, especially when faced with enemies, the GLOO cannon almost never fires where we really want, creating even in the case of Mimic a precious cover for the enemy. We do not exclude that this may be the result of a specific choice from Arkane Studios, which as we have already said wants to make us use the environment to overcome the difficulties rather than addressing them as we would in a Call of Duty. However, it improves when you begin to strengthen your weapons, for example, giving you a better shot. Some problems also in backtracking, linked to free exploration of Talos I by the player: going from side to side of the station they face load times that are long enough to break the tension created in the player up to that moment . Apart from this, you can still forget to get bored while you're going from one point to another because suddenly you might find a Typhon in front of you in an area that you just cleaned up.
We waited for Prey with anxiety, and the wait was repayed. After the two Dishonored, Arkane Studios confirms itself as one of the most well-formed teams among those currently in circulation, using the experience accumulated over the years to get a title that goes right into the 2017 nominees list of the year The journey through the various areas of Talos I is intended to enter the mind of the player to remain well anchored, thanks to the dynamics of play that fit perfectly between them. There is, however, a defect, which, especially in the case of fire-fighting dynamics, could discourage those who seek a shot-shoot experience rather than study and exploration.
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