Prey is jam packed with interesting mechanics and FPS quirks, reminiscent of Bioshock, Portal, Half-Life and Arkane Studios’ other big title, Dishonored.
Getting to know them all takes a long time so here’s a basic guide to get you on your feet in the opening hours on Talos 1.
1. The introduction is brilliant, take it all in
It plays to a few tried and tested tropes found in other similar games, but the execution is well polished.
I won’t give away any spoilers, just know that nothing is as it seems and mysteries provide a metric tonne of motivation to explore Talos 1.
2. Check every computer
I hate audio logs and diary logs. Prey is absolutely stuffed with them, so I did roll my eyes the first few times I had to sift through someone’s emails.
Yet, computers provide far more than just context and narrative motivation.
Many control elements of the environment, provide helpful passwords or let you track every single inhabitant of the space station.
That’s actually quite neat.
3. Turn the music volume down from 100 to 10
To inject some tension in to fights, Prey plays some fast tempo sci-fi music whenever an enemy is near. The problem with it is the volume. Compared to the relatively quiet ambient sounds of Talos 1, the combat music is deafening to the point you can’t hear much else. My advice, as soon as you’re past the mind-bending intro, turn the music volume down a few notches.
4. Turrets are your friends, except when they are not
In the first couple of hours you will be low on fire power. The trusty wrench from such titles as Bioshock and Half-Life makes a return as your main damage dealer for the introductory sections.
Thankfully, friendly turrets are dotted around the station. These guys deal a lot of damage and can be re-positioned, so it’s always handy knowing where the nearest is when you’re in a pinch.
Yet, be aware. Blue light not red light.
5. Change the sensitivity
On console, it takes a long time to turn around.
This is okay when you’re poking through drawers for bits of wire, but it’s frustrating when you’re facing a horde of alien goo monsters.
I recommend racking it up to 40 or 50 from the base 20 so you can track the blighters.
6. Constantly be scavenging
Prey doesn’t hand things to you, it expects you to go looking for them. Where as many games will put weapons on pedestals, with a fanfare and flattering lighting around them; Prey has just dropped them like there was a hole in bottom of its rucksack.
I found the (surprisingly handy) foam dart crossbow stuffed in the corner of a shady corridor on the way to nowhere.
You should constantly be picking things up because although valuable items and resources are scarce, nothing is useless.
The main way of collecting useful items is by throwing junk you’ve found into the recycling machines dotted around.
This turns them into rare elements and crafting components. You can also use recycling grenades to do it on the fly.
These bits and bobs can then be crafted in to anything, just as long as you’ve found the schematic.
7. Enemies are hard to hit and hit hard
I’m not that far in to the game so my mind may change on this one, but right now I think the enemy design is weak.
I can tell I’m supposed to be afraid of them by the loud music and how they quickly eat away at your health.
But they look like they have been designed by a five-year-old with a sharpie.
They are literally walking black squiggles; that is not scary.
Getting killed by something you find on the family fridge is more embarrassing than it is heart-pounding.
The first enemy you encounter can shape shift in to anything. Mechanically, this is great and makes you distrust everyday items sitting around.
But when they attack they turn into tiny spider-like things that rush around your ankles.
You struggle to tell which direction the damage is coming from and they often swarm around you.
They can be slowed down with the Gloo gun, but hitting them is rarely easy so combat is usually reduced to pounding the ground around your toes with a wrench until you hit one.
I have also encountered a human-like squiggle. These guys hit like a bus at close and far range. Luckily they move slower than a bus, so you can just Gloo them up then shoot/wrench them.
8. You can stealth
I’m a guns blazing kind of player so I’ve only hidden a couple of times. Though you can sneak around the baddies if you like.
Just remember to watch out for the mimics. If you walk into a room and see a chair sliding to a halt in front of you, it’s probably not a chair.
9. It gets better
You don’t start out with much in Prey. Nothing, in fact.
You may feel vulnerable but do not lose hope, keep scavenging and pushing forward.
There are a lot of game changing weapons and abilities to find, so it won’t be long before the aliens become the… oh, I get it.