The start of all recent years has heralded me promising to myself that this year I would finally and properly play and complete games from my backlog. It has become somewhat of a tradition for me to forget this promise to myself as soon as an "endless" game releases, such as Destiny or Overwatch, when there is no line in the sand of "okay I've finished this game time to move on". Without wanting to prematurely count my eggs I believe that 2018 is finally the year when I can haul some of that backlog out from the shadows and take their rightful place in my PS4 disk tray. So far in 2018 I have completed all three Bioshock games, Horizon Zero Dawn, both games in the Metro Redux, Tomb Raider(2013) and naturally Prey. So today I want to review Prey for you, preferably without creating a wall of text so daunting that no one reaches the bottom... let's see shall we!
I feel the start of the game is the best place to begin this review and I was mighty impressed by those first few hours. The world of Talos 1 as well as the introducing hour and a half blew me away. The gameplay freedom that was given to you from very early in the game left me with an intoxicating feeling that this was going to be a very special game to play. This feeling only grew in intensity during the first 4-5 hours of play, wherein the characters of Talos 1 and the story that led to where you stand was unveiled. This was made even better by an increasing number of weapons and gadgets to help you along your way and either give you fun side activities to focus on, such as scanning enemies for data, or increased the options you had in gameplay, such as a rip-off nerf gun that could distract enemies. It was sadly around the 6 hour mark that the wheels started to fall of the proverbial wagon for me, it boils down to two things, the fatigue set in with the repetition of the game and the annoyances of the game grew ten fold.
Firstly the fatigue, essentially this was caused by a lack of innovation in the game. It had very much levelled out and began to feel stale due to the fact that there were no longer interesting weapons or gadgets being introduced and the side quest system began to be so complex that I stopped doing them all together. This is where the annoyances really started to ware me down and the majority of my enjoyment of the game had dried up, suffice to say the last 2-3 hours of the game I was purely playing to see the story to its conclusion. The way the side quests are implemented into the game felt very confused to me, I genuinely don't know how the developers intended you to play them. In the traditional sense you would receive a side quest then go off and complete it between main missions. However this idea falls apart in Prey, because while there is a linear mission structure they very much run from one into another. This issue with side quests is brutally compounded by the fact that many of the steps in the side quests after the first few hours of the game, require you to advance to a part of Talos 1 that you haven't been too before, and often are unable to go to without advancing the main story. It boils down to the fact that I had about 11 side quests active that I was attempting to juggle, completing bits of them as I passed during the main story, but in many cases the side quests would then want you to abandon the main missions to return to a previous area, which I was unwilling to do as I was very uncommitted to them due to the confusing way they are presented to the player. The icing on the cake for the myriad of issues with how side quests are done in this game comes around half way through the game when you are give a choice that is obvious will radically change the way the game ends. I refuse to spoil anything, but suffice to say the option I was dead set on completing meant that my emotional attachment to any of the characters onboard Talos 1 was non-existent. I apologise if I confused you during that little rant of my, in all honesty it is very hard for me to explain all of the ways in which the side quests are so awfully implemented, and the knock on effect they have on the main missions.
A few final points, this game is quite naturally compared to Bioshock and I can completely agree with those comparisons. I believe the downfall of Prey is that it tries to take all of the elements of Bioshock and crank them up or introduce new versions of them, in some ways they succeed but sadly in all too many they fail. In a heartbeat I would recommend Bioshock over Prey, and completing Prey only made me more fond of the Bioshock series. Another point I would like to make is the enemies, the game's marketing was very much based around the mimics, which disguise themselves as everyday objects and the leap out and attack you. These enemies were absolutely incredible for the first few hours of the game, every room and corridor had an incredible tension to it as you try and spot any out of place objects that may be mimics. As the game progresses a perk can be unlocked that reveals disguised mimics, taking away any and all tension or horror element from the game, the quantity of mimics is also reduced drastically as their place is taken by a cast of increasingly hard to fight enemies. These new larger enemies are usually simply humanoid masses of black goop and are very unsatisfying to fight, any foes that differ from the humanoid have a various range of abilities that make it a challenge and an annoyance to fight them. The result of these changes over the course of the twelve hour game is that for the last several hours I simply ran past every enemy the story didn't require me to kill in order to save the little ammunition that I had.
In an effort to keep this review from stretching out into the horizon I shall end it here. The first half of the game was a fantastic and unravelling adventure, but the second half takes so much of the fun and mystery out of the game that I was incredibly glad for it to be over. If you are looking for a game with large levels and an obscene amount of player options, then I would be far more inclined to recommend either of the Dishonored game in place of Prey. I rate Prey: As always, thank you very much for reading. In the near future I will be reviewing some of the other games I have played recently that I listed at the top, I do hope you have enjoyed my review of Prey.
As always, thank you very much for reading. In the near future I will be reviewing some of the other games I have played recently that I listed at the top, I do hope you have enjoyed my review of Prey.
Friends of The Games Critic:
My name is Ed, I write everything here, covering all kinds of games, but I only play them on the PS4!