With all the multiplayer-centric games that currently exist (or are soon to be released), sometimes, one might crave a solitary experience where exploratory abilities and resource management are more beneficial skills than being able to shoot someone in the face from across the map with your eyes closed. As one of the few purely single player games to be released this year, Prey might be just the thing that you’re looking for to satisfy that craving, offering more than just a respite from annoying and or terrible random teammates.
Developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks, Prey is a first person story based game that gives you a chance to explore an alternate history where President John F. Kennedy survived the assassination attempt on his life. As a result, the United States becomes a world leader in space-based technologies, which, in typical video game fashion, attracts the attention of a group of hostile aliens who are collectively known as the Typhon. Unlike most other video game aliens, though, the Typhon can best be described as shadows that have been given a solid form, with no small number of them being capable of disguising themselves as everyday objects and ambushing unsuspecting humans. By the year 2032, humanity has captured some of these aliens and are holding them on Talos I, a space station orbiting the Moon.
Spearheaded by the TranStar Corporation, research into the Typhon leads to the development of Neuromods, a powerful but imperfect product that alters the human brain in such a manner that the user would be granted abilities that would otherwise be deemed unnatural. As one might expect, the Typhon escape from their confinement on Talos I and are now wreaking havoc upon the station. Unfortunately for you, your memory has been wiped, and most of the crew of Talos I is either dead or scattered. On the bright side, this does mean that you get to explore the entire space station and strip it for resources so that you can craft things to help fight off the Typhon, hence why Arkane describes Prey as more of an “open space station game” rather than an open world game. Much like in their previous game, Dishonored 2, Prey will feature multiple endings based on how you interact with certain events and survivors, letting you mold the main character as you see fit (this includes their gender).
In essence, you can think of Prey as the love child of BioShock and Dead Space, combining some of the signature traits of both games. After all, what better way to describe a game that revolves around you utilizing a mixture of superpowers and makeshift weapons to survive on a space station that has been overwhelmed by a group of aliens that are more likely to pop out at you from behind rather than outright shoot you? That being said, Prey is neither a horror game, nor is it a game where you have to shoot everything in sight to win. You can try to sneak around as much as possible, you can try to be creative and hack things to do your dirty work, or you can just use your powers to kill everything with your mind, but either way, there are multiple solutions and pathways to solve any problem.
Indeed, due to the nature of the Typhon, one can describe combat in Prey as being the ultimate game of hide and seek, where seeing or hearing something dart across a room is just the beginning of your tense hunt to make sure that that group of coffee mugs in the corner isn’t going to turn into an alien any time soon. Running and gunning is thus highly discouraged, as your limited resources and the Typhon’s ability to hide in plain sight means that it would just result in you getting surrounded all the time.
Of course, the $60 question is whether or not Prey will be good. Given Bethesda and Arkane Studio’s track record with similar games, there is no reason to believe that the game, or perhaps more specifically, the core gameplay, will not be fundamentally sound. The environment and backstory is interesting enough, the Typhon are rather unique among video game enemies, and the crafting system is easy to use and seamless (at the very least, the crafting station is visually satisfying); if any fault can be found (short of game breaking bugs or whatnot), it would likely be relatively minor compared to the size of the rest of the game.
Prey is set to release worldwide on May 5, 2017 for the Xbox One, PS4, and PCs.