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Prey

Product: Prey
Company: 2K Games
Website: Official Game Site
Estimated Street Price: $59.99/39.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Prey was first announced years and years ago, it then got scrapped and went into hibernation before it got re-announced late last year. Ever since it has become one of the main games that many people have been waiting for. The idea that the game makes use of portal technology where you can move from one place to another and see the area you are going to get to right through the portal was an excellent idea, if it works properly.

Prey tells the story of Tommy, a Cherokee garage mechanic stuck on a reservation going nowhere. His life changes when an otherworldly crisis forces him to awaken spiritual powers from his long-forgotten birthright. Abducted along with his people to a menacing mothership orbiting Earth, he sets out to save himself and his girlfriend and eventually his planet. Prey is serious, dark story, based on authentic Cherokee mythology. Themes of sacrifice, love and responsibility are explored and the story dives into emotional territory not yet explored by similar games.

  • Built on an enhanced Doom 3 engine, the most impressive 3D engine used in a released game.
  • Portal technology adds a new dimension to gameplay, allowing enemies to appear out of thin air and create new and completely original puzzles and gameplay styles.
  • Several never-before-seen gameplay elements such as Spirit Walking, Wall Walking, and Deathwalk.
  • Highly organic, living environment that itself can attack Tommy.
  • A deep, emotional story of love and sacrifice.
  • Tommy has a sidekick, a spiritual hawk that can help him fight enemies and decipher the alien language of the living ship.
  • Multiplayer game support that takes advantage of the unique gameplay styles in Prey.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"Graphically I thought the game was excellent, the art design and some of the scenes are fantastic, while some people have complained that the 360's graphics with Prey are about the same as a mid-range PC, I have both versions and I can say that on the 360 it looks like High Quality on the PC, so ignore the naysayers. Sound is pretty good throughout too, thanks to Jeremy Soule's excellent music, some licensed music and some very good voice over work for nearly all of the characters."

With games companies trying to top each other when it comes to making innovative gaming experiences that seem few and far between in first person shooters, it is of major note that this game does try to do something a little different thanks to the portal technology and also due to the innovative way in which you can walk on ceilings and face attacks from above and below. The portal technology works well although it is a pretty linear experience overall, as is the whole game. But in saying that, it doesn't mean that the game doesn't play well, as its one of the biggest breaths of fresh air we have had in the first person shooter genre since Half Life 2.

The game begins quite slowly and it takes a good 10/15 minutes before anything really happens action wise, this is a good thing as it does help to bring in some story elements and gets you used to what is happening around you. So what makes this different from other FPS shooters that the Doom 3 engine has run? Well firstly there are a lot of different things you do, firstly the portals, then the ceilings which can be rotated in places by shooting at certain switches. There are also a few puzzles thrown into the game, although they are pretty basic ones such as finding codes and entering them into doors to get them to open.

The game also introduces something called Spirit Walking, this is where you can use your spirit to leave your main body and then walk through force fields and turn them off so that you can then go back to your body and then move though the previously blocked areas. The game introduces spirit walking quite early on and once you have learnt it there is no gradual increases in what you can do with Spirit walking, this is a shame because differences in what you could do would have made the game last longer and add to the feature set.

The scale of the game is massive though, while the levels may look small early on they get massive later in the game. You also don't spend the entire game walking, there are times when you will fly around in a shuttle too, this has a tractor beam built into it so you can throw enemies about when you feel like it. While these parts are not exactly that exciting, they do help to break up the constant action. Another plus point is the weapons, nearly all of them feel and look very cool and all do difference things, I really like the acid gun which acts like a shotgun, its my favourite weapon to use both online and off.

There are a few downsides though, firstly the game is quite short, 10 hours for most gamers to complete, the enemies are not that intelligent either with most of them just moving side to side and hiding now and again. The only other bad point is that sometimes I felt a little sick playing the game, not sure why but its the first time I have felt that way about a game in years! Must be all the spinning around that was going on.

The multiplayer game is fun and the excellent level designs also crop up here, I have played quite a few games over Live! and although I had some lag problems early on, I haven't since and everyone seems to have a good time playing it. The only bad part is that some levels that have shuttles in tend to get one person always going to them and killing everyone on the map.

Graphics & Sound

Graphically I thought the game was excellent, the art design and some of the scenes are fantastic, while some people have complained that the 360's graphics with Prey are about the same as a mid-range PC, I have both versions and I can say that on the 360 it looks like High Quality on the PC, so ignore the naysayers. Sound is pretty good throughout too, thanks to Jeremy Soule's excellent music, some licensed music and some very good voice over work for nearly all of the characters. Another good point is that although the game uses the Doom 3 engine, it isn't shrouded in darkness, Prey has a massive amount of good colours and well lit areas on show.

Final Comments


Byron's Gamertag

So is the portal technology innovative? Yeah it certainly is, but it does look as if companies will take the basic portals shown here (which can't be moved) and improve them tenfold. Valve look like they are doing that already. But don't get me wrong, Prey is a lot of fun and it does do a lot of things right and has a lot of features that haven't been seen in other games, the main disappointment though is that a game this long in development should last longer than 10 hours, in saying that though the game is excellent throughout those hours. Overall its a very good game, just shorter than hoped.

 

How It Grades
Controls: 91%
Gameplay: 90%
Presentation: 75%
Graphics: 91%
Multiplayer: 90%
Sound: 91%
Interface: 85%
Lastability: 78%
Price/Value: 91%
Overall: 89%
Specs & Package
Overall Score 89%
Version Reviewed Prey (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Prey DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Excellent Graphics
Great Online
Fun
The Bad Points Short
Xbox Live! Online Play Enabled? Yes
Widescreen Support Yes
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes
HD Resolutions 480p
720p
1080i


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