If being stuck on a space station overrun by alien lifeforms sounds appealing, you might want to check out Arkane Studios’ Prey.
From the studio that brought us the critically lauded Dishonored series comes new IP Prey – a first-person action adventure game that puts players in the body of Morgan Yu (your choice of gender) on board space station Talos I.
Your initial impression aboard Talos I might be an environment of solitude, but you aren’t the only living soul on the space station; aside from other (both dead and alive) human inhabitants, Talos I is also playing host to the Typhons. Taking many forms, you’ll encounter a number of different alien incarnations while fighting your way through the game. We found that out the hard way when we went hands-on, and we aren’t kidding when we say it’s high-intensity, fear-driven action all the way through. The atmosphere is extremely tense and you’ll find yourself frequently (and cautiously) leaning around corners.
While you may come across some friendly humans in your time on the station, most of your encounters will be with enemy Typhons. Mimics are the smallest of this alien race and the simplest to dispense, but also some of the most tricky; they get their name from their ability to imitate any loose item in the room – you could walk past one and not even know. Best to have your wits about you – and your fists up. Phantoms are larger and more menacing, and consequently more difficult to kill. Don’t be surprised if you fall victim to a few (or the same one repeatedly) as you’re starting out – we certainly did.
As anyone who has played Dishonored will know, Arkane games are all about saying ‘yes’ to the player. In most cases, if you can see somewhere, you can get there. Prey’s manouevrability is made that much more interesting with the addition of the GLOO Gun. For all intents and purposes, this is a weapon that you can use to immobilise your enemies and render environmental threats harmless, i.e. plugging flaming holes in gas pipes. However, you can also use it as a means of traversal. If you fire your GLOO at the wall, you end up with an impromptu platform sturdy enough to climb upon, opening up a plethora of ways to get around – and once again, the fear you’ve overlooked something or gone the wrong way.
Of course, this handy new weapon isn’t your only one. Quite early on in the game you get access to a wrench, and that’s just the beginning. Traditional firearms like pistols and shotguns are at your disposal, as well as weapons like lures and stuns. What is essentially a NERF bow can deliver distractions that allow you to play stealthily or shoot on sight – as we’ve mentioned, the choice is yours. Although for some, it may be more fun to play in the shadows – taking a more full frontal approach is not discouraged.
Aside from instilling the fear that any object in a room could attack you at any given moment, these Typhons do serve a greater purpose aboard the station. Humanity has been conducting tests on the aliens in an experiment that aims to change the future of mankind forever. But of course, something has gone awry, and it’s up to you to find out what’s gone wrong and destroy the Typhon infestation before it can make its way to Earth.
These ‘experiments’ involve manipulating the Typhons and using them to create Neuromods; modifications that allow you to possess certain abilities, alien or otherwise. Your human Neuromods will give you things like better stealth or increased HP, but your Typhon Neuromods are more interesting. Depending on which Typhon you siphon your ability from, the Neuromods you gain access to can be anything from telekinetic forcefields to the mimics’ ability to transform into a nearby loose object for a short period of time. The mimic ability is useful not only for stealth, but can be used to gain access to otherwise inaccessible areas – small openings is just one example. Once again, it’s all about how you choose to play the game.
Combat aside, Prey‘s crafting system will give you a means of keeping yourself alive, through the use of the glorified 3D printers known as Fabricators that allow you to craft from materials found around the station.
Most of your time, though, will be spent tentatively leaning around corridor corners, shooting at harmless trashcans, for Arkane will prey on your fear that anything – and everything – is a mimic. Use your wits and your weaponry to dispose of the Typhons as you see fit. After all – in space, no one can hear you scheme.