Prey Is A Good Video Game
(This is a copy and paste of my steam review thus the weird format)
Prey takes the best strengths of its contemporaries and executes on most of them in an intelligent and satisfying way.
+Strong Intro that is immediately interesting
+Well written dialog
+The world around you is well realized and feels lived in
+Gameplay evolves in satisfying and surprising ways
+Tons of places and space to explore often leading to something worth exploring for
+Interesting though limited enemy design
+Great soundtrack and ambient sound design
The not so good:
-Combat in the early game is unsatisfying
-Voice acting is very hit and miss
-Some minor and not so minor bugs and glitches
-Some obtuse side objectives can become frustrating
-One of the more gimmicky enemies loses its luster around the half way point
-A couple story beats feel unsatisfactory
You have your BioShock, your System Shock, Dishonored, and Deus Ex. All (or most) of which are held up as some of the best examples of immersive FPS money can buy. Prey takes the best of what makes these games and executes on most of them. I won't go too far into the history of Prey. The original was a bad game, this is a reboot that has nothing to do with it and it's a lot better.
Prey's sense of place is largely what makes it. Navigating it's dark corridors, jumping at every shadow that peaks into your periphery, poking and prodding at seemingly normal looking objects in hopes one doesn't suddenly spring to life. This is when Prey is at it's most affecting. Though it's its smaller moments that make your experience memorable. Rummaging through desks, reading notes, listening to diaries, peaking through emails, pictures and assorted belongings of a crew that is nowhere to be found. Prey slowly introduces you to its citizens. How they live, what they do when they are bored, the relationships they have and the mistakes they make. Prey's cast of characters both large and small leaves you constantly searching for more answers. How could things have gone so wrong? Through this, the game's environments feel lovingly crafted. Down to the smallest details, your environment does a great job at assisting storytelling, complementing what is being spelled out to you through dialog with the games limited supporting cast of characters.
Where Prey falls it's shortest, unfortunately, is in its combat. Although the options open considerably throughout the game your initial introduction to the games wrench bashing mechanics can feel underwhelming. Ammo is super limited in the early game and you're often left wildly swinging for the fences while your enemy jukes and jabs through your attempts easily. This can be a double-edged sword though. The way the game limits your abilities in the early game lends to its tension. The feeling that anything can easily turn the corner and destroy you makes you weary of every potential encounter. These moments do not last throughout, however, as you unlock more abilities and add weapons to your arsenal all of the game's tension goes away along with its ability to surprise you. This is again a double-edged sword as the things you get to deal with what's around you are widely satisfying and worthwhile to seek out.
Despite disappointing combat, Prey is a great game well worth its asking price. Sporting a large world that's a ton of fun to explore, a plethora of abilities offering a large sense of control over your play style, an interesting cast of characters both large and small and its ability to effectively scare the bejesus out of you makes Prey a flawed but satisfying journey, boasting a sort of substance over style approach to the immersive FPS genre. I highly recommend it.