Pros:Gravity changes and portals add an interesting twist to FPS genre; great graphics engine
Cons:Scatological images; actual gameplay isn't that unique; no fear of dying
The Bottom Line: Literally walking through bowels isn't my idea of a good time and the unique features aren't enough to keep me playing.
I have to be honest. I didn't complete this game. I played the demo in anticipation of buying it but I ended up not being terribly impressed with it.
Recommend this product?
Since this game has been out for a while I won't bore you with the details of it. Suffice to say that you play a young adult AmerIndian of Cherokee descent who is bored with his life on the reservation. He wants to leave the reservation but his girlfriend doesn't want to. Plus, his grandfather keeps telling him to remember his heritage but, being a child of modern times, he doesn't believe any of the mysticism.
You, your girlfriend, and grandfather are abducted by aliens who harvest people for food. Your job is to save yourself and your girlfriend (your grandfather is "eaten") while also figuring out what is going on with the space ship.
The graphics are stellar, using the same engine as Doom 3. Dynamic lighting, shadows, and details all look great, except for the character models. They don't have fluid movement at times and sometimes don't seem like they belong in the game; the details just aren't the same as the rest of the environment.
The big thing about this game is the use of gravity and portals. Portals let you move from one location to another within the ship, essentially acting like teleporters. You can look through a portal like looking through a window and see the new environment before you walk through but rarely does that give you a tactical advantage. Using the portals can be kind of cool, such as when you are looking at a small sphere inside a glass case; when you walk through a nearby portal you end up inside the case, walking around on the sphere.
The gravity affects are another thing that everyone loves to talk about. Certain areas of the ship allow you to walk up walls or on the ceiling, sometimes even changing gravity's direction when a switch is triggered. This means you can be fighting an alien who is on the ceiling or another wall, which means it can be difficult at times to figure out where you're being attacked from. A flashing indicator on the screen helps show you where an attack is coming from.
Because the ship is an organic entity, it is comprised of both mechanical and living parts. Unfortunately, this is one of the things that turned me off from the game. Rather than being external tissue, the organic parts are designed to look like internal structures. What that means is that most of the time you feel like your part of the digestive tract of a huge creature. The doorways look like huge sphincters or female body parts; sometimes there are sphincters on the walls and ceiling that "spit" digestive acid on you as you walk past.
There are also areas where "boulders" plop out of an orifice and roll along the floor; the "boulders" look pretty much what you would expect them to look like. The first aliens you encounter looked like fly pupae to me, again reinforcing the fact that your literally in the bowels of the ship.
To be honest, the whole idea of walking around the guts of something just didn't do it for me. Normally I'm not squeamish or anything but I think the organic nature of the ship could have been portrayed in a cleaner fashion. I just have an issue with following "boulders" through a sphincter.
Admittedly, there are cool parts in the game and the idea of changing gravity and using portals is intriguing. However, because the game uses the Doom 3 engine it doesn't have a lot of open areas and there is a heavy reliance on darkness to make it artificially scary.
Personally Prey seemed like it was struggling to differentiate itself among the FPS game genre by using some unique features (that will soon be copied by other games) and by using teenage "poop jokes". I don't care for gratuitous potty humor in movies so putting it in a game isn't going to endear me to it.
Overall, this game just wasn't compelling enough to buy, much less finish the demo; I didn't even get to the part where you spirit walk when you die. I simply got tired of the intestinal motif and turned it off. Based on other people's reviews, it doesn't sound like I'm missing much; you can never die (because of the spirit walk) and the organic display is more of the same, if not worse.
If you're really interested in this game, I highly recommend playing the demo first, or at least renting it. Some people may be intrigued by the game play and graphics while others will be turned off. Parents should be leery of purchasing this game for their children. The images used in it may not be what they expect from a normal FPS.
Just be aware of what your getting into (no pun intended).