Prey (2017) Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Prey (2017) RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network Prey's Mimic Power is the Most Innovative Mechanic in Gaming Right Now https://www.gameskinny.com/xq9zx/preys-mimic-power-is-the-most-innovative-mechanic-in-gaming-right-now https://www.gameskinny.com/xq9zx/preys-mimic-power-is-the-most-innovative-mechanic-in-gaming-right-now Fri, 12 May 2017 06:00:02 -0400 Sergey_3847

Prey, the latest sci-fi horror adventure from Arkane Studios and Bethesda, has arrested the attention of many gamers with its claustrophobic locations, unusual story, and most of all, one of its awesome powers: the Mimic Power. This ability lets the player transform into any object in the game.

It's no secret that Arkane Studios likes to explore new mechanics in its games, as it has in the past in the Dishonored series and Bioshock 2. And although the Mimic Power isn’t entirely a unique mechanic, it has never been a significant part of any game before.

Implementing this mechanic as well as Arkane has in this game can actually open the doors to vast possibilities for other game designers as well. So let’s speculate a bit and try to see where Prey's transformations could lead us. Is this mechanic able to create its own niche of games in the future? To answer that, we'll first have to look at what makes it so great in the first place. 

A Game Mechanic Must Make Sense

Before designing and integrating any specific mechanic into a game, developers must ask themselves one simple question: Does this mechanic make sense within the given game’s story or world? Mimic Power definitely fits the whole experimental flavor of Prey, but it’s harder to see how it would function well as a main mechanic in any other genre of video games…yet.

But that doesn't mean it can't. Realistically, it could co-exist with other mechanics and that would make it feel more natural. For example, puzzle games could easily utilize Mimic Power alongside more typical solutions. It could be limited by time or place, or it could simply exist as a bonus reward. In this case the sky’s the limit.

But what about bigger games, such as shooters and RPGs?

In order to answer this question, it's important to look back and see what other innovative mechanics became world famous and found their place in other AAA projects. One such example is “stealth”. Today almost all big games utilize stealth in one way or another. Sometimes it feels natural, and at others it’s terribly forced (e.g. Far Cry 4).

The opposite example is Portal’s teleport mechanic. The game is still incredibly popular on its own, but you never see anything similar in other games. So why do some mechanics become widely popular, while others stay unique to one particular game? Can Mimic Power get to the same level of popularity among gamers and developers?

It definitely can, since it’s easy to use and fun to play. But here comes another issue: How do developers make it feel natural?

Genres That Could Exploit Mimic Power Naturally

Let’s take a look at the game that everybody talked about a couple of years ago -- I am Bread. It allowed players to control a slice of bread as if it were a sentient being. There was no explanation to why this was possible, but people still played it for the fun factor.

Can Mimic Power be utilized in games as merely a fun factor? Of course it can. But will it hold the power to become an industry-changing innovation in that regard? Probably not. So it really needs to be infused in the game’s setting and lore as if it were an integral part of that world. Otherwise, people will soon forget about it.

Here are a few suggestions how Mimic Power could be used in the most popular genres in video gaming right now:

First-Person Shooters

Character transformations into objects isn’t an entirely unique phenomenon in the FPS genre. Counter-Strike Online 2 has a Hide’n’Seek mode that allows players to do just that – transform into any object that is available in the current build of the mod. It offers tons of fun, but this ability is quite limited if you compare it to Prey’s Mimic Power.

Nonetheless, Mimic Power fits the shooter genre very well. It just needs to be approached from another angle. For example, random objects could be replaced with something more useful. If you play in co-op, and your teammate needs protection, you could become a massive shield to protect him from bullets. In this case you wouldn’t take damage as usual, but the transformation would include a change of the stats as well.

Another obvious choice is transforming into different kinds of weapons, as is the case with turret transformation in Prey. One could go as far as implement vehicle mimicry, but that runs the risk of feeling a bit too much like Transformers. So there has to be a balance in all this. Hopefully, those developers who are interested in exploring mimcry in their games will find the right recipe.

Space Sims

Recently, the pool of space simulator games significantly increased in size with such titles like Star Citizen, Elite: Dangerous, No Man’s Sky, and others. These games are massive and filled with objects that are for most of the part underused or outright forgotten.

Now imagine a space sim where there would be no redundant objects -- where a player would be able to interact with everything and take various shapes. Now add combat to this, where two or more players would shapeshift into objects around them and use their characteristics to fight each other.

Playing with the sizes of things would be amazing. Imagine scanning an alien mushroom and turning into one that's ten times as large -- or a butterfly the size of a dragon. This could easily make for some of the most exciting battles in space you’ve ever seen. Obviously, it would require massive computing power investment -- but with the current development of technologies, it doesn’t look like it’s too far away.

Role-Playing Games

The RPG genre would welcome Mimic Power with open hands. We all remember the mimic chests in Dark Souls -- they were one of the most dangerous and annoying enemies to beat. Later the Chameleon ability was added, so players could turn their bodies into vases, pieces of furniture, or statues.

RPGs were actually the first genre of games that utilized mimicry in games like Dragon Warrior 3 and Dungeons & Dragons. Except it was limited to monster chests only and never used as the central or secondary mechanic in the game, which is a shame.

If any genre is going to explore the possibilities of Mimic Power, it should be RPGs -- and not only as a fun gimmick, but as a full-fledged mechanic that meaningfully impacts the gameplay. The transformations should not serve as mere character skins, but each shape should be thought out and serve a particular purpose. Then, it would really be able to grow into a sub-genre of its own.

How About Virtual Reality?

BespokeVR's Perception Neuron shapeshifter playtest

VR games could also do some really great things with Mimic Power -- whether using it as a secondary mechanic or the basis of an entire game.Naturally, the transformations would feel incredibly realistic. Just imagine watching your whole body transform into something else. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

This could even go as far as blur the lines between the genres, as mimicry literally gives you powers to take shape of anything you want. The only boundaries would exist within the given associations of the game, such as mechanical or biological transformations, full or partial, etc.

The right balance of limitations and the range of possibilities -- that’s what makes any game, whether typical or VR, into a true gem. And there's definitely a place for more mimicry somewhere in there.

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What other genres do you think Mimic Power would fit in? Does Mimic Power sound like it could become the next big thing in video games? Let us know in the comments section.

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How to Deactivate Motion Blur and Adjust Field of View in Prey https://www.gameskinny.com/pszfe/how-to-deactivate-motion-blur-and-adjust-field-of-view-in-prey https://www.gameskinny.com/pszfe/how-to-deactivate-motion-blur-and-adjust-field-of-view-in-prey Sat, 06 May 2017 14:30:25 -0400 Ty Arthur

Prey's dark vision of a spacefaring humanity may look pretty with the graphics cranked all the way up to ultra (read our full review of the game here), but some of the preset video options are making players sick -- literally! Specifically, the Motion Blur and wide Field Of View are making it difficult for some players to fully explore Talos 1.

Unfortunately, neither of those graphical settings are actually included among the basic options to change -- at the moment anyway. However, I wouldn't be surprised if it shows up in a future patch, considering how many fans are asking for the ability to change those specific features.

For now, you'll need to perform some game surgery by manually modifying a specific text file containing the graphics settings.

Adjusting Prey's Motion Blur and Field Of View

To make these changes, navigate to C:\Users(YourUserName)\Saved Games\Arkane Studios\Prey and look for a file named game.cfg.

You will want to make a backup copy of this file just in case, since messing around with critical game files can lead to unexpected, game-breaking changes. Open game.cfg with a program like Microsoft Notepad that will let you edit the text without any extra formatting.

 Opening Game.Cfg

Anywhere underneath the line that reads i_useSteamController = 0, add a new line with the phrase r_motionblur = 0 to turn off the Motion Blur feature.

If you want to widen or narrow the Field Of Vision, scroll down to the line that reads cl_hfov = 85.565590. Simply change the number in the line to your preferred option, like cl_hfov = 120 to change to a Field of Vision of 120 degrees.

Save the changes to the file and boot up Prey to activate the graphical modifications.

If the issues you are having involve vertigo or nausea based on the camera movements, there are options you can change directly in the main menu that may also help out. Choose "Options" before loading your game and navigate to the "Gameplay" tab, then turn the Camera Bob and Camera Roll options all the way down to 0.

 Changing Prey Gameplay And Video Settings

Need more help with Prey now that you've got the graphics set the way you want them? Be sure to check out our other guides:

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Prey: Complete Guide to Safe Codes and Door Keycodes https://www.gameskinny.com/cnh2g/prey-complete-guide-to-safe-codes-and-door-keycodes https://www.gameskinny.com/cnh2g/prey-complete-guide-to-safe-codes-and-door-keycodes Sat, 06 May 2017 14:24:24 -0400 Ty Arthur

Shooter-stealth -RPG mashup Prey is here to test your prowess in solving puzzles and taking down horrifying alien enemies in space (read our full review here). You are pretty much guaranteed to miss significant portions of the game world going through blind the first time, but don't worry: we've got you covered with guides on every aspect of exploring Talos 1!

We already covered how to find the secret Stun Gun in the Neurmod Division, and now its time for a full breakdown of the safe codes and door lock keycodes for all those players who can't be bothered to do the sleuthing necessary to discover these passwords themselves!

Some safe and door keycodes are always the same, while others are randomized between each playthrough of the main story. Obviously, we can't list the specific answers for these passwords, since there are too many of them to guess through.

However, for these changing codes, rather than including a number that might not work in your playthrough, instead, we've listed specifically where you can locate the code on your own by reading notes, checking emails on computer terminals, or listening to audio logs left on TranScribes throughout Talos 1.

Prey Code Master List

Main Area Specific Lock / Keycode Code or Location
 Neuromod Division Simulation Debriefing Safe  5150
(discovered by watching the video in Morgan Yu's office and turning to the whiteboard)
Neuromod Division  Security Booth   Read the note near Divya Naaz's body
Talos 1 Lobby  Volunteer Quarters Door  Read the "Volunteer Attitude" email on Bianca Goodwin’s computer
 Talos 1 Lobby  Pilot's Lounge (in Staff Lounge)  Listen to Octavia Figgs’ TranScribe device 
 Talos 1 Lobby  Morgan Yu's Office  0451
(January specifically tells you this one audibly during the main story)
 Talos 1 Lobby  Devries Safe (Trauma Center)  7324
Talos 1 Lobby   Security Safe (Security Room)  0526
(a reference to the Bible verse found near the safe)
 Talos 1 Lobby IT Department   0913
Talos 1 Lobby  Holding Room  1129
Talos 1 Lobby  Psychotronics Armory   8714 
 Hardware Lab Thorstein's Office  Read the "You’re in Charge" email on a computer
 Hardware Lab Machine Shop Supply Closet  Read the "If you need Supplies" email at the Small Scale Testing computer
 Hardware Lab Ballistic Safe   Look for a note underneath the grate in the corner (requires Leverage 1 skill)
 Talos Exterior Supply Closet (Machine Shop)  Listen to Dr. Calvino’s TranScribe device
 Talos Exterior Dr. Igwe Cargo Container  2312
G.U.T.S.  Maintenance Tunnel  Read a note on the body of Kimberly Bomo
 G.U.T.S. Safe (Magnetosphere Control Room)   Move the roll of toilet paper in the nearby bathroom to reveal a note
Crew Quarters  Fitness Center  Read the "New Gym Code" email at the Security Station computer
Crew Quarters  Calvino's Safe  Listen to Audio Log 3 on Calvino's computer
 Crew Quarters Mail Room  Look for a note at the Anders Kline habitation pod
Crew Quarters  Kitchen Freezer  Watch the cook unlock the freezer
 Crew Quarters Executive Suite   Read the "Food Request for Alex" email on Will Mitchell's computer and the "Personal Training Session" email on Emma Beatty's computer
 Deep Storage Stairwell  Read the note next to Zachary West's computer 
Deep Storage  Safe (Command Center)   Read the note behind Danielle Sho's computer
 Cargo Bay Security Safe (Quartermaster's Office)  Talk to Sarah Elezar in Cargo Bay A
 Power Plant Monitoring Parts Storage  Listen to Duncan Krassikoff's TranScribe device
Power Plant  Reactor Room   3845 
 Life Support Storage Room   Read the note in the Oxygen Flow Control Room
 Life Support Security Safe   Read a note near the body of Erica Teague
 Bridge Captain's Loft Bridge Safe   Move a book on the desk in the Captain's Loft to find a note

 

That's all the Prey keycodes and safe codes we've discovered so far, but there may be more we missed. If you need a specific code note listed here, please leave a comment and we'll track it down for you!

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It's Launch Day for Prey, and the Reviews Are Glowing https://www.gameskinny.com/rjjpm/its-launch-day-for-prey-and-the-reviews-are-glowing https://www.gameskinny.com/rjjpm/its-launch-day-for-prey-and-the-reviews-are-glowing Fri, 05 May 2017 15:05:25 -0400 Paige McGovern

Only two days ago, the launch trailer and release date for Prey was announced. Today, the heavily-anticipated space shooter thriller is available on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. It has also been released on Steam for PC players. 

Prey has been in development by Arkane Studios for the last four years. Set in the year 2032, you awaken on a space station named Talos I and discover that aliens are hunting you. With no way to escape, you must fight back against the threat and save Talos I. 

So far, almost 1,000 players have left reviews on Steam alone, with the majority very positive. In addition, the game is currently rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on the Xbox One store. Both players and video game critics alike have been blown away by this reboot of the 2006 original. Our own reviewer here at GS gave Prey a 9/10. 

Interested players can get Prey now on their preferred platform for $59.99. 

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Prey Review: Sci-Fi, Horror, and Action Collide https://www.gameskinny.com/296u0/prey-review-sci-fi-horror-and-action-collide https://www.gameskinny.com/296u0/prey-review-sci-fi-horror-and-action-collide Fri, 05 May 2017 15:00:29 -0400 Ty Arthur

Despite being one of our most anticipated games of the year, somehow this AAA title has gone a little more under the radar in comparison to other big-name games like Mass Effect: Andromeda or Resident Evil 7.

Other than a few Hulu commercials and online ads, there hasn't been a ton of promotion for Prey, a reboot of a previous innovative sci-fi shooter that used some truly unexpected elements.

That's a shame, because what Arkane Studios and Bethesda have on their hands here is a real winner that melds together shooter mechanics with psychic powers, heavy stealth elements, and a light RPG slant which utilizes a skill tree and crafting stations.

Alternate Futures

Similar to how Bioshock: Infinite presented an alternate past world where people in a cloud city worshiped John Wilkes Booth, Prey envisions an alternative future world where Kennedy was never assassinated. He subsequently steered the U.S. and Russia forward into an advanced age of space exploration together as allies.

 Thankfully, there's no space Songbird chasing you

This led to some huge leaps in science and technology -- from viable space stations where large groups of people can comfortably live, to the beginnings of terraforming Mars, and even "neuro mods" that give people instant access to new skills and knowledge.

Of course, since this is a horror shooter, everything goes terribly wrong. Talos I turns into a nightmare station. And not just because of the shadowy alien things that can take the form of any everyday object before sucking your life force out. There's also clearly something nefarious going on with the Transtar corporation itself, with experiments being done that are very much not on the up and up.

 Death by Mimic isn't a pretty way to go

Gameplay

After getting through the psychologically-challenging opening, the base of the game revolves around searching Talos I while avoiding (or killing) the Typhon and various other dangers. The station feels a bit like a sci-fi version of the Dishonored areas, and that's no coincidence since the same developer is involved.

Morgan (who can be a man or a woman -- with Arkane thankfully ditching the pointless face customization that never means anything in a first person game) will spend time exploring and finding materials to craft anything needed -- whether its Medkits, 9MM ammo, Gloo canisters, or other, more exotic equipment.

Recycling and Fabricating are crucial to remaining well equipped

Although a space station seems like it would be restricted, each area consistently surprised me with how much stuff I could explore or interact with -- from finding roundabout ways to reach restricted areas to tracking down bracelets for missing crew members and even locating secret weapons.

Speaking of, there are loads of different weapon types to play with here, and some of them are quite outside the norm. At the moment my personal favorites are a grenade that breaks objects down into usable materials, along with a non-damaging Nerf style gun that seemed pointless at first but can be used later to hit objects you can't reach.

Each of those weapons can be upgraded, with some upgrades off limits unless you pick specific skills. Facing enemies head-on is viable if you go down the Soldier skill path, but it's not very elegant. I prefer to always carry a turret along with me (with points in Repair to fix 'em up as they get damaged) and enjoy lobbing explosive pressurized canisters whenever possible. For those who prefer the cloak and dagger route, there's plenty of opportunity for stealth play too.

 Never travel without one of these in tow

Multiple Routes

There aren't just different ways to approach combat and stealth, but also different ways to approach how you access areas. Increasing one skill repeatedly, for instance, lets you easily move aside large objects in your way (in addition to using those objects as weapons).

If you don't get that skill, you might need to do some real thinking about how to find passwords instead -- and they aren't always just lying around. A few early ones in particular are brain teasers that show the level of detail put into the game's design.

Here's a great example. Near the start of the game, Morgan comes across a white board with "safe code" prominently written on it, but the code's been wiped away. Later you read an email reminding people not to put safe codes where anyone can see them. So how do you learn the code? Later on, a video plays where the whiteboard is visible before its been cleaned -- but you have to be quick and pay attention, as it ends quickly and can't be re-watched.

In some cases the game even out-thinks you, like in one case where you find a code scratched on a wall by a psychiatric patient. The code doesn't work, because security changed it after seeing he'd scratched it on the wall, so you have to find it another way.

I guess the lesson here is "don't listen to psych ward patients"

Some of the later skills get truly crazy, like assuming the form of objects as the Mimic enemies do. Its clear Arkane wants you to think outside the box when approaching each area. The developer encourages you to do things like using the Gloo Cannon to create makeshift ladders for accessing out-of-reach locations, or shifting into an object that can fit where you wouldn't normally be able to go.

Mood And Tone

There's a lot going on in this story that revolves around memory and how you can't trust it, since your mind is reset to the moment before a neuro mod was implanted if it is ever removed.

Without question, there's a clear SOMA feel going on in how you aren't sure if any of this is really happening -- and there's this sinking suspicious in the back of your mind that all is not as it seems. 

The mixing of sci-fi with horror and action is satisfying, and you can learn a lot more about the background of what's going on by reading various books, notes, emails, and so on. Or you can skip all that and just enjoy the challenge of figuring out each area's design.

In particular, I enjoyed learning about the lives and quirks of people on Talos I by going through old documents or finding unexpected items -- like discovering the security officer's D&D character sheet locked in a filing cabinet.

Captain Stabfellow seems like a nice enough chap.

The Bottom Line

On the technical and gameplay fronts, Prey is mostly top-notch and on par with anything else AAA coming out this year. The only exception is that the shooting aspect can occasionally be a little wonky with some of the guns, and the controls take a little getting used to as they are different from your standard FPS.

For the most part though, there aren't any major bugs or design flaws that detract from the experience. There's also more than meets the eye in terms of game length. Gaining new abilities (or finding new key cards and codes in later sections) gives you incentive to go back to the earlier parts of the game and further explore locations that were previously off limits.

In terms of style and feel, clear influences from Bioshock, Deus Ex, and Dishonored create a very familiar atmosphere in Prey. But it's taken to the next level as elements from those games are refined in this sci-fi setting. Whether on console or PC, this is a title well worth playing, and it will almost certainly be in my "best of 2017" list.

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Prey Secret Weapons Guide: Finding the Stun Gun https://www.gameskinny.com/yef7f/prey-secret-weapons-guide-finding-the-stun-gun https://www.gameskinny.com/yef7f/prey-secret-weapons-guide-finding-the-stun-gun Fri, 05 May 2017 04:38:36 -0400 Ty Arthur

After the free demo weekend gave us a taste of what to expect and got all the sci-fi horror fans properly salivating, the 2017 Prey reboot is now here to test your stealth, puzzle, and combat skills.

If you dominated at the multiple level routes available in Dishonored and its sequel, you'll be right at home here, with plenty of secret areas to discover in Prey if you use your head and think strategically.

One such secret occurs very close to the beginning of the game when Morgan Yu breaks out his (or her) fake Earth-bound life and starts exploring the space station while battling shadowy Mimics.

Finding The Prey Stun Gun

Right after you witness the big Mimic hiding behind the glass that you can't fight yet, Morgan will go through a hallway where the Gloo Cannon is lying near a dead scientist. Make sure to pick this handy tool up, because you'll need to use it -- but not for combat!

 Picking up the Gloo Cannon

The next room is a large circular chamber with various side rooms to explore and a glass case on one end containing your first neuro mod. You can either pick up the mod first or get the Stun Gun first, either way works, but you'll have less distractions if you take out the Mimics in this room and then grab the mod.

If you are having trouble with the half-dozen Mimics running around this room, you can climb up the top of the security kiosk using the knocked over server and snipe them with the Gloo Cannon, then run down and pound them to dust with the wrench.

Once the room is cleared, you need to reach the second floor that can be seen above. The only problem is that all routes are blocked, so you'll have to make your own -- and that's where the Gloo Cannon comes in.

Not only useful for freezing enemies, the Gloo Cannon creates permanent blocks of inorganic matter. A clever player might just use those blocks to craft a makeshift ladder...

You can easily create a path up in several different locations in this area, but I've found the easiest spot that uses the least Gloo ammo is on the right side of the room (across from the water monument in the middle) and just to the left of the door marked "Skill Recording Room."

Just fire off a series of Gloo shots to create a path that lets you jump up, turn to the left and run upwards, and then jump over the railing. There are several different ways to do this, with the image below showing how I pulled it off without using very much ammo. 

 Making Your Own Gloo Ladder

If you have trouble staying on your ladder, make sure to fire an extra shot or two beneath the existing blocks for structural integrity.

Now that you're on the previously inaccessible second floor, there's several items to pick up here, but the Stun Gun we're after is to your left near the corner.

Look for a dead security guard lying on the ground near the wall. The gun is actually in front of him and has to be picked up separately from searching his body.

Finding The Disruptor Stun Gun

Congratulations -- you've found the first major secret of the game and have a nifty new weapon in your arsenal. For the most part, the Stun Gun isn't very useful against Mimics, and you should instead use the Gloo Cannon and wrench combo instead.

Human enemies are incredibly susceptible however, and robotic devices can be completely deactivated with the Stun Gun, giving you another tactical option for exploring the depths of the space station.

What have you been using the Stun Gun against so far? Let us know in the comments section, and stay tuned for more coverage on every aspect of the secrets to be found across Prey!

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Prey's New Launch Trailer Reveals Its Release Date https://www.gameskinny.com/ghygr/preys-new-launch-trailer-reveals-its-release-date https://www.gameskinny.com/ghygr/preys-new-launch-trailer-reveals-its-release-date Wed, 03 May 2017 15:47:04 -0400 Jerline Justo

Bethesda Softworks has posted a launch trailer for Prey on YouTube, revealing its release date -- May 5, on PC , PS4, and Xbox One.  

This sci-fi first-person shooter game introduces players to a space station called Talos I, where failed experiment have left Earth in danger. Players must walk in the shoes of Morgan Yu in order to exterminate an alien threat called Typhon. As the game progresses, players will learn more about the Talos I station’s past and the Typhon threats.

This trailer begins with a pan shot of the Talos I station in space and fades into station's courtyard with a yellow aura frozen in the area. It then cuts into short shots of the alien creatures as well as the gameplay, revealing futuristic weaponry.

Players can pre-order the game to receive an exclusive Cosmonaut Shotgun Pack, which holds Neuromods for new abilities, a Margrave shotgun and tools, a fabrication plan to craft Shotgun Ammo, a starting builder kit for weapons and tools, and a new upgrade.

If you're still undecided as to whether or not you want to pick up the game, a free demo of the first gameplay hour is available now for PS4 and Xbox One.

For more information about the game, you can visit the official Prey website. And for more news and reviews on Prey once the game launches, stay tuned to GameSkinny!

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Prey Free Weekend Impressions: Get Stoked For This Game https://www.gameskinny.com/f6dtd/prey-free-weekend-impressions-get-stoked-for-this-game https://www.gameskinny.com/f6dtd/prey-free-weekend-impressions-get-stoked-for-this-game Fri, 28 Apr 2017 06:58:27 -0400 Ty Arthur

Offering a taste of what to expect when the full game lands just a week from now, Arkane Studios let out a demo of the opening ~1 hour of upcoming title Prey, which is quite a bit different from the space horror game it takes its name from.

Although fans clamoring for a true remake or sequel might be disappointed, anyone who digs FPS games with stealth and skill additions (think Bioshock Infinite or Dishonored) will be right at home here.

What sets Prey apart from the pack is the story and atmosphere: there's clearly a lot going on here that's just being teased in this weekend free demo, and it seems like there will be some major twists coming. Fair Warning: There are spoilers below, so if you want to experience the shocking opening yourself, stop reading right... about.... here!

Psychological Horror Meets Sci Fi Shooter

The intro segment will keep you on your toes and completely guessing, utilizing many tried and true gameplay tropes but subverting them and turning them completely on their heads.

Prey seems to be going one direction at the start, taking a helicopter ride around a sunny ocean-side city on the way to your first day at a new job that seems vaguely sciency. It all starts with an aptitude test -- we've seen this before right? -- where you learn how to utilize the game controls in a series of training rooms just like Deus Ex made famous and has been done dozens of times since then.

Only something's not going right. The scientists can't understand why you aren't exhibiting any extraordinary powers, and one even laughs when you try to hide behind a chair to complete an objective. Suddenly it's clear we're not going the direction we thought we were. There's a moment of morbid levity in the state of a mind questionnaire... and then things get weird, quickly.

 Yeah, I Pushed The Fat Man

Soon we're on a rollercoaster ride discovering everything is a lie, the apartment you thought you lived in is a sound stage, and people have been experimenting on you for a long, long time.

Gone is that perfect sunny city, replaced with a space station where all hell is breaking loose. The action picks up quickly as you utilize anything at your disposal -- a wrench, loose objects -- to struggle against amorphous, shifting black monsters that take the form of everyday objects.

Those Mimics are fabulous enemies, because they could be literally anything in the environment. They create a sense of dread and a constant tension without having to actually show anything scary. You will always be worried that chair in the corner or soda can on the ground or light bulb or door handle or whatever is about to shift forms and kill you.

 My Whole Existence Is A Lie!

Familiar Gameplay In New Setting

Before long the nuts and bolts of the game become more apparent, with a crafting system, skills for repairing or hacking, and options for multiple ways to approach a level.

Don't have the strength required to move those giant crates out of the way? That's OK, you can find a password for a computer system if you search hard enough. Having trouble with the Mimics crawling all around that room? There's a stealth approach that will let you bypass them, if you take the time to look for it.

Although you don't get to explore it much in the demo, the three-pronged skill tree looks like it will offer a lot of different ways to play the game, split between Scientist, Engineer, and Security branches.

 Security Skill Tree

Although an FPS, what's seen here in the demo makes it clear Prey isn't just a run-n-gun style game. The first gun you pick up for instance gunks things up with goo to slow them down or locks them in place. If you take certain skills, environmental objects will be your ranged weapon of choice.

There's a very similar feel to Dishonored in exploring large areas in various ways, with plenty of places you don't technically need to discover in order to complete the objective. Entering one room covered with old timey wood paneling and hearing a voice over an intercom, I half expected someone to call me "Corvo" at any moment.

The space setting, mind-bending story, and sci-fi skills offer a different experience from that fantasy / industrial revolution mashup, however.

Welcome To The Real World

I've mentioned a lot of different games here in explaining the Prey experience, and that's intentional. This demo feels like a refinement of many different must-play titles from the past.

Essentially what Arkane has done is to take the basic stealth/combat approach from Dishonored or Deus Ex, injected a bit of the flavor and style from games like Bioshock, sprinkled on a dash of FPS horror ala F.E.A.R., and then mixed together lightly with the psychological focus of something like SOMA.

It's an incredibly intriguing mix, and I can say without hesitation that the demo has ensured I'll be playing this one on release day.

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