Developer: Arkane Studios, Human Head Studios
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Release Date: May 5, 2017
Bethesda’s next action-adventure comes in the form of Prey, the story of Morgan Yu as they awake to find something strange has been going on aboard starship Talos 1 home to R&D firm Transtar. The demo dropped April 27, 2017 and includes the first hour of gameplay. If you’ve played any other Bethesda titles (Skyrim, Fallout, Oblivion) you’ll have no problem getting a hang of the controls almost instantly. The premise also seems to follow the Bethesda formula: identify the baddie, pick up every single item, horde all the items until you figure out that they’re worthless. Anyone else squirrel away those plates and bowls in Skyrim like they were made of gold?
After selecting if you’ll play Morgan as male or female, you awake in their apartment with a set of instructions to proceed to the testing area. As Portal is one of my favorite franchises, I couldn’t help but pick up on an Aperture Science vibe, especially when you learn that you level your character through something called neuromods – which are injected through your eye! During the portion of the demo meant to familiarize the player with the controls, you start to realize that maybe something is not quite right. Fears are confirmed when an amorphous creature devours the bastard behind the glass criticizing your performance (good riddance).
When you awake again after hearing the mysterious voice of January in your communicator, the fabricated world of Talos 1 shatters to reveal bits and pieces of what’s really going on. Aliens known as mimics have infested the ship and apparently killed everyone aboard. From there, the demo lets you explore a little bit until the gameplay ends.
Compared to the graphics in the trailer, the gameplay is a little less detailed, but incredibly smooth thanks to CryEngine. The ambient lighting is incredible as is the attention to small detail, which is one of the CryEngine strong points. Unfortunately, Prey seems to also have those infamous Bethesda load times, so be sure to have your snacks ready when you sit down to play this for the first time.
Some initial concerns I had were recycled plot and failure to deliver something new and exciting. Arguably, every story fathomable has already been told in some capacity, so putting a new spin on things is key. In the demo every other human you come across has had their face eaten off by the mimics. I hope this changes in the full version or the gameplay will be very lonely indeed.
Rogues Portal’s own Ryan Holt adds: “BioShock in spaaaaaaace. I got to play it a couple weeks ago at Alamo. It is pretty solid, and probably the least glitchfilled [B]ethesda game I have ever played.”
While it’s too early to form a true verdict, I think the demo was promising enough that I will pick up the full game, if for no other reason than sheer curiosity and faith in Bethesda. Prey comes to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows on May 5, 2017.