Prey: Mooncrash Review -- Countless Deaths Await In This Roguelite Re-Imagining
E3 has just been the gift that keeps on giving this year. The stealth RPG smash hit Prey just received some big updates to the story mode, including a New Game+ addition, along with a large DLC surprise announced at the Bethesda conference and then released the same day!
Mooncrash is very much in the vein of the many big announcements so far at the world's biggest gaming expo, as developers try out different versions of the same IP.
A Whole New Way To Play
Prey was easily among the best games of 2017, with its many different methods for tackling any given situation and the mind-bending story that brought to mind the best of the various 'Shocks.
Now we've got a whole new way to play Prey, with Mooncrash offering what is basically a randomized endless mode. This time around you take on the role of an operator playing through simulations of a disaster at the moon base.
In each run you get to unlock different character types, with the goal being to discover five different ways to escape the map and then (eventually) escape with all the characters in a single run.
The base game gave you a multitude of options on how to play -- choosing between stealth, combat, psionics, using powers and goo guns to explore hard to reach places, etc. -- and Mooncrash is basically that same idea but in a sandbox instead of a major story mode.
There is a story with Mooncrash, both for the operator going through the simulations and the people he's learning about while the simulations occur, but the focus is undeniably more on the gameplay and interacting with the environment in different ways.
In essence, this is sort of a single player survival experience with roguelike features, and some new lore scattered across the way.
Of course there are new weapons, grenades, and enemy types to spice up the experience, and you can do some nifty things with the environment since you know you are in a simulation this time around.
The longer you stay alive, the higher the difficulty becomes. Eventually you will succumb to the challenges and have to reset the simulation. Players are expected to die fairly often, use up the Sim Points you earned on that playthrough to start with better gear and skills, and try again.
Sim Points are earned through normal gameplay by killing enemies in different ways, finding bodies, and so on, but there are bounties for extra points if you play the simulation in a specific way, so there's a ton of replayability here.
The Bottom Line
Mooncrash provides a cool new mode that gives you a reason to return to Prey if you don't want to go through the main storyline again, and features an innovative way to tweak the base gameplay in a new direction.
The DLC is sort of at an odd price point, however. It's $19.99 if you already had the game, but effectively only $10 if you didn't previously buy the base game because it comes with the digital deluxe edition for $10 over the normal price. I get that game prices change as they age, but it sort of seems like they are punishing people who bought the game when it launched by charging extra.
That price point might be the only real downside here, as you'll probably get a max of 10 hours or so out of this before moving on, but if you love Prey its worth the investment.
Mooncrash is just the start of the Prey renaissance, as later this year we'll get Typon Hunter, an asymmetrical 1 vs 5 version of the game that will also support VR! Hopefully we'll have plenty of more Prey ahead, as Mooncrash shows there's still life in this game, and a full sequel would be well received by the fan base.