Reviews - Updated on April 14, 2022

Not so long ago, a preview of Prey was published on our website, in which we outlined all the facts known at that time. A few days ago, SoftClub gave us the opportunity to get acquainted with a fantastic action movie not only in theory, but also in practice. We hasten to share our impressions.

At the beginning of the game, it will be possible to choose the gender of the character.

What a twist

I’ll make a reservation right away: the time provided was not enough to evaluate all aspects of the gameplay. In particular, it was not possible to feel the main feature of the game – the ability to turn into mugs and chairs. Also, the allotted hour was not enough to appreciate the potential of the open world. However, this did not prevent me from forming a definite opinion.

Everything begins calmly and peacefully: the main character Morgan Yu wakes up in his apartment, puts on a uniform, gets into a working helicopter and goes to be tested in order to get to the Talos-1 station. However, after ten minutes, Prey manages to shine: it turns out that the main character is already on the Talos, and the city landscapes and a cozy apartment are just scenery. Morgan is a guinea pig, and if it were not for the emergency, as a result of which the expected apocalypse happened at the station, he would spin in front of scientists like a hamster in a wheel.

Fortunately, a mysterious stranger gets in touch with Morgan, who gives him instructions and tells where to go and what to hope for. Gradually, we find out the details and background of what happened: humanity has built a station to study alien creatures that can take the form of any material objects. And now attempts are being made to connect the tissues of people and monsters. However, all such crossbreeding experiments lead to amnesia in test subjects … But I will stop throwing spoilers. It is obvious that the scriptwriters manage to create a strong intrigue and the story will surely be replete with twists and turns of varying degrees of surprise.

Cups of coffee are not what they seem

The intro smacks of stylish minimalism in the spirit of Mirror’s Edge: a helicopter overlooks a futuristic metropolis, and the ambient soundtrack perfectly harmonizing with it sets the atmosphere and mood.

When the main gameplay begins, you immediately understand that this is not an action movie with unrestrained action. The gameplay is a cross between BioShock and Deus Ex. Prey looks like a smart shooter that encourages slow play and has an interesting narrative.

Someone just wanted to drink coffee…

The game captivates with its interiors and non-standard sci-fi setting. The station does not look like a boring research laboratory with the same type of furnishings. Somehow, Talos 1 evokes emotions similar to those evoked by Rapture: the world is diverse, it sparkles with colors, and, most importantly, it feels alive.

The ubiquitous audio and video recordings tell the station’s rich history, and one can spend a fair amount of time studying them. Not in a hurry with the passage of the player is also forced by the atypical habits of local opponents – mimics. You enter a new room, and absolutely every object can be a monster that looks like a headcrab from Half-Life.

During an hour of gameplay, the unexpected appearance of enemies on the screen was twice accompanied by a “boo” effect and ten times by complete indifference. The fact is that mimics often carry out their insidious transformations outside our field of vision, outside the screen or on the periphery, and you simply do not have time to realize that that chair turned out to be a monster. You learn about the presence of the enemy by the characteristic sound accompaniment of the battle.

I haven’t noticed much gameplay value in transformations yet. They act more like unscripted “screamers”. The reincarnations of monsters during battles look more interesting – often the creatures hide from our fire behind something, and then take on an objective form. You run after the wounded mimic to another room, you see a table, a chair, a hanger, you go forward and you get an unexpected blow from behind from an urn you didn’t notice.

In general, sometimes Prey does throw out unusual tricks, but in general, her advertised mechanics do not yet look like something revolutionary.

Turrets are very effective.

Through thorns to thorns

The hero’s arsenal promises to be non-standard: in addition to a wrench and a shotgun, we were given a cannon that shoots foam, which hardens and can immobilize enemies. She, as stated in the description of the weapon, helps in the vertical exploration of the station due to the ability to create artificial platforms.

There are very few cartridges in the area, so you have to shoot with feeling and really. Theoretically, it is possible to sneak past opponents: an anxiety indicator flaunts above the monsters that do not see the hero. In practice, there was no need or desire to play hide and seek with mimics breathing down the back.

But for sure in the future, the “stealth” potential will find its use. I felt it a little in the battle with anthropomorphic phantoms, which are much stronger than their four-legged “colleagues”: in a one-on-one battle, I had to heal three times and use up all the ammunition. The indicator of fatigue does not allow you to feel like a death machine, which is quickly depleted from any body movements and greatly interferes with butchering reptiles.

The territory of the Talos-1 station is completely open, and we are free to walk around it as we please, without following the sign of the main goal. However, it will not be possible to get into all corners of the game world at once. It seems that the approach to exploration will be similar to Deus Ex: different paths correspond to different skills of the character.

As we progress, we will look for implants that act as “pumping” points. The development branches are not too original: we can learn how to lift heavy objects, fix broken equipment or master the art of hacking. So, often, in order to get behind a closed door, you can find a key or resort to a lockpicking skill (the process is accompanied by a mini-game).

Knocking out the phantom with a wrench did not work.

***

So far, Prey is reminiscent of BioShock and other similar games. And this can hardly be regarded as a compliment. If Arkane Studios manages to maintain the slow pace set at the beginning, the open world does not turn out to be empty, and the “mimic” mechanics will surprise, then the shooter definitely has a bright future.

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