Praising Prey (2017)
*Gasp*, what's this? A new post? Some actual content? Activity for the first time in almost a year? Preposterous.
I'm not quite sure where my writing fell off. But it was likely somewhere between the insane mental load of my day job, the immense self pressure of trying to improve my own game dev skills at any given moment, and the abhorrent laziness that courses through my veins like water down the Yangtze. What's worse is that I didn't feel particularly guilty about not posting here. It felt like the lowest possible priority below, in no particular order:
So yeah, that's why I haven't posted in forever.
You can imagine then, that for me to be writing a new post, after so long, that I must really, really, really love Prey (2017). It's insane that I'm this addicted to a game (in a good way) after what feels like a century of having not really felt invested in any of the games I've played.
Full disclosure - I have played some pretty cool games over the past 11 months; Red Dead Redemption 2, SOMA, Hitman (Season 1), God Of War, as well as a metric butt load of Apex Legends. All of them were great for multiple reasons. God Of War in particular was fantastic, and was one of the few games I've (ever) played to actually have a lasting emotional impact on me. But there is a metric I use to determine if a game is great, or truly, deeply, madly incredible. And that metric is, quite simply, "Did I play it until 2AM and still lie to myself about playing for just five more minutes?"
That is something I hadn't done since playing The Last Of Us back in 2017. And it is something I have done now with Prey at least a couple of times. I haven't even finished it yet, and to be honest, even if the ending is super disappointing I don't care. The 15 or so hours I've been fully immersed in so far more than make up for any hypothetical garbage ending.
So, why do I love Prey? In summary:
All of the above are executed so well, that it gives a feeling of wonder and mystery as well as a real sense of adventure. The game encourages exploration, and challenges the player in unexpected ways with truly unique encounters and scenarios.
I think the truly key thing with Prey, and the reason why I have enjoyed it so much, is the way it opens up to the player. When you start (after the initial experiment/simulation fake out), you're in a horror-esque setting, armed with a wrench, having to fight off what is essentially a space headcrab. It feels fairly bog standard in terms of gameplay in that moment. Even inferior in some ways as the combat is one of the weaker areas of the game.
But then you're given the GLOO gun; a weapon that both glues up enemies, and creates makeshift pathways. It immediately opens up the option for you to create your own path to get to areas you normally couldn't get to.
And then you're introduced to recycling any junk you find to create resources that you can then use for crafting. You then get ability upgrades, allowing you to build your character as you want. Upgrade weapons, make choices, go on space walks, become a telekinetic super mutant, kill a rogue experiment subject pretending to be a chef. The possibilities are endless!
I know at this point I'm essentially describing Deus Ex in space, and I think that's why I love it so much. Deus Ex, in space, with better sound design, and a more interesting world and setting.
Just for the sake of balance I'm also going to quickly list the things that suck about this game:
But that's essentially it.
Prey is a game I love, and like most of the things I love, I'm going to over shower it with attention until it's over. Which I really hope is soon because I can't keep doing all these late nights.
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