Fantastic, in It's Time
Taking place in an alien Dyson sphere of sorts, Prey brought some truly novel ideas after extensive development that, while groundbreaking in their time, have tempered as time has passed.
Already has it been forgotten that it was Prey and not Portal that perfected the portal technology in gaming. Coupled with Ratchet and Clank-esque magnetic walks up walls and ceilings and gravity shifting devices, this game attacks your sense of perspective rather successfully. Perhaps the environment does not put the gamer is as much disbelief as it should, but most seasoned gamers have seen perspective shifting areas before.
In this romp, you play a constantly cursing Cherokee named Tommy who chases his love interest in every direction using some spirit powers that his grandfather reveals to him as well as the organic and rather visceral looking weapons left around by the aliens. Another thing that made this game somewhat controversial at the time of its release was the fact that you cannot truly die. A mini-game of archery is played with some Lovecraftian creatures and you're right back at the moment you died. The game occasionally counters this such as a boss fight where it heals if not attacked thoroughly enough, but by and large this mechanic can be easily abused so that even if you wish to melee with the wrench for the entire game you could. It's really up to the player how hard they want to be on themselves.
The story is somewhat weak, but the gameplay is solid. Your stardard repetoire of FPS puzzles, sorties, and vehicle sections are all present. Ammo is plentiful (for the right guns anyways), and the enemies are decently mixed up. Graphically, it could have perhaps been improved upon with an environment that feels almost intentionally darkened not for scares but to obscure the models better. It is a brief game to be sure, but it getting out the door at all is a feat if one knows of the history behind the game.
Looking back on this three year old game, it remains a good, but short shooter. It certainly does not give that sense of awe that it did when it was released due to the now almost standard game mechanics, but it would be remiss to say that this is not one of the more well put together FPSes of the generation.