Thursday, August 25, 2016
It was five years ago that I first saw Prey 2, shortly after seeing Dishonored for the first time. Fast forward and Prey 2 is no more after a protracted period stuck in development hell, and Dishonored developer Arkane Studios has stepped in to start Prey entirely from scratch. Almost everything about the original Prey you knew has been thrown out, bar the sci-fi setting, leaving Arkane free to capitalise on its proficiency in crafting narrative-driven action first demonstrated in Dishonored, transposing it to a fresh first-person adventure with a psychological twist. Our first proper look at Prey wasn't exactly what we were expecting.
First, a bit of story background. You play as Morgan Yu, the product of a human experiment who wakes up aboard the Talos I space station, which has been overrun by hostile alien lifeforms of varying shapes and sizes. These dark, shadowy aliens also possess the ability to mimic and transform into practically any object as a sophisticated form of camouflage, meaning they could be hiding absolutely anywhere. Thankfully, Morgan has more than a few of his own tricks up his sleeve to level the playing field.
Tasked with locating Dr. Calvino aboard the Talos station, Morgan approaches a seemingly harmless inanimate wrench, which springs to life as an alien Mimic. Anything can be a threat; you'll be tiptoeing around Talos keeping a suspicious eye on everything. And weapons are rare in Prey, so you can't leg it through Talos' corridors like Rambo, gunning down aliens. You'll have to make use of the abilities you acquire via Neuromod upgrades, gained by stabbing a needle into your eye to feed the data to learn new skills directly into Morgan's brain. Eww.
This is Prey's RPG layer, wherein you can upgrade your skill trees and acquire both human and alien abilities, which means (yes!) you too can mimic matter to turn into inanimate objects like a cup and a variety of other things. At one point, we're shown how Morgan can transform into a wormhole grenade, rolling around like a little katamari, combining the kinetic blast ability to boost his way up to higher, otherwise out of reach areas. It's pure Arkane invention and completely brilliant.
The ingenuity doesn't stop there. Once Morgan picks up the GLOO Cannon in the Hardware Labs later into the demo, we're shown how he can not only drench aliens in the glue it spews to freeze them in place, but how you can also spray the sticky gunk onto walls to create ledges you can then use to walk your way up to platforms or bridges. You can also block broken steam pipes using the GLOO Cannon's glue, and there'll no doubt be myriad other uses for the weapon.
Once you've encased enemies in glue and fixed them to the floor, you can then bust out a super thermal blast to wipe them out in one fell swoop. Combining your arsenal of varying abilities will be how you'll survive aboard the confines of the Talos station, and as you encounter increasingly fearsome enemies like the stealthy Phantom or the hulking Nightmare, adapting and improvising will be the only way to stay alive. Beyond being able to mimic matter and utilise smart weaponry, Morgan can also create practically any object using a fabrication machine. The possibilities seem almost endless.
Using the fabrication system to craft a Zero-G flight unit, Morgan is then able to explore the exterior of the space station, which is available to roam freely, just like the rest of the facility. You can go anywhere you like. Outside in the cold expanse of space, you're able to float through debris that's come loose from Talos' exterior, and it's here that you'll discover the fate of Dr. Lorenzo Calvino. You can probably surmise that things haven't turned out so well for the Doc, being on the outside of the space station and all.
An immensely encouraging and exciting first full-fledged look at Prey's gameplay has us in no doubt that Arkane Studios is poised to deliver where Prey 2 regrettably failed to, with smart, novel ideas that should make the reboot something refreshingly different. It may not resemble the 2006 Prey, but Prey in this particular guise ten years on, is something we're desperate to get our hands on. I mean, you can turn into a cup for crying out loud! A cup! If that's not enough to convince you that Prey is a game to keep an eye on, we don't know what is.
Prey is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2017.
Thursday, August 25, 2016 @ 08:56 PM
Friday, August 26, 2016 @ 02:07 AM
Friday, August 26, 2016 @ 05:37 AM
Friday, August 26, 2016 @ 09:54 AM