In this Prey PS4 Review I am going to be staying away from any major spoilers and helping you to decide whether this game is worth the price. Prey is a first person shooter/RPG developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda. If you’ve played any of the Dishonored or Bioshock games then the mechanics of Prey should be a little familiar to you.
First off, let’s start with my experience.
I never played the first Prey game in 2006, however I did watch my older brother play it. It seemed very interesting but first person shooters have never been my go to genre for single player experiences. After later playing games like Bioshock and Dishonored, I realised that there was a place for single player FPS experiences - especially FPS games with RPG elements and effective world building.
Prey and Arkane’s previous FPS/RPG mashup Dishonored have a lot in common. In both games, you’re able to wield both physical weapons and otherworldly abilities (you’re able to choose to completely ignore your otherworldly abilities and play it straight in both games). You’re also encouraged to play the game how you want but it’s obvious that stealth is often the best or intended way to play. There are multiple ways to complete objectives and access areas and there are choices to make along the way that will grant you different endings or consequences.
After hearing that, I wouldn’t fault you for assuming that Prey is simply a sci-fi version of Dishonored, but you would be wrong.
Prey seems to be designed to make you feel extremely paranoid... and it succeeds. For example, the grunt enemies - mimics - who disguise themselves as everyday objects and - worst of all - useful items will make you slowly enter a new room, scanning your surroundings for anything that looks suspicious and slinging your trusty wrench at everything that looks a little off. The music in the game also sets the tone very well, many times throughout the game I found myself on edge simply because of the background music which sounded like it’d fit right in in a Ridley Scott sci-fi horror movie.
You're also so underpowered at the beginning of the game that you’ll be quaking in your boots at the sight of a new enemy. This adds to the scare factor, which is great but this leads me to my next point.
The enemy types in Prey lack variety. I mean, the first time you see a new type of enemy it is both an interesting and heart pumping experience but once you’ve seen the 4 basic enemies and a mini boss you’ve pretty much seen them all. The different variations of the enemies require different tactics to overcome but apart from the mimics, the enemy designs aren’t all that interesting.
Nevertheless, the game is fun. Exploring the space station of Talos 1 as a fragile noob searching for answers, to becoming an unstoppable sneaky psychic death machine searching for more needles to stab into your eye is an enjoyable journey. Learning which weapons and elements work best against certain enemies, finding out the stories of the dead people around you and choosing the high road and sneaking around enemies hoping to not be spotted and viciously murdered because you’re low on ammo is all a blast. The combat feels okay although the absence of an aim down sights feature felt a little weird but it wasn’t a deal breaker.
The gameplay isn’t all great though. The loading screens take ages to get through. At the beginning of the game this isn’t too much of a hassle because you’ll be moving from area to area at a pretty steady pace while following your main objectives. When you’ve pretty much explored the new areas of the station and you have a variety of side missions and main missions to complete, backtracking and moving between areas you’ve previously visited in order to finish objectives gets really annoying.
Having to sit through a minute and more of loading in order to complete an objective and be sent to some other section of the station to complete the next part of the objective and sitting through another loading screen to get there to continue this cycle gets super tedious. I think the last quarter of the game suffers immensely because of all this loading and a story choice that I’m not going to spoil. I think that the game should have ended about 4 hours sooner and that would’ve greatly solved this pacing issue.
There were also a few bugs that occurred through my first play through of Prey.
- At one point all my auto saves and quick saves were corrupted, these were later fixed in a patch the next week.
- I also got stuck in an elevator with no option to move or select anything in my inventory
- Objective markers showed up in the wrong locations at least twice for me
The story of Prey centres around Morgan Yu. You play as either a male or female version of Morgan as you attempt to piece together what happened on Talos 1, who you can trust, who you can't trust and who you are.
I think the story was pretty good, I really wanted to learn more about the world and the circumstances surrounding the alien presence on the ship. This spurred me to continue playing until about 3 quarters in but I did, however enjoy the ending of the game.
Graphics & Sound
The graphics in prey are pretty good, nothing outstanding but nothing looked terribly bad either. The sound was phenomenal, as I mentioned earlier, the soundtrack really added to the sense of paranoia and dread that you feel while venturing through Talos 1. The sound of mimics trying to hide around the corner and the sound of phantoms talking nonsense while they patrol were all executed well and very nerve-wracking.
Is It Worth The Price?
Prey is currently £29.49 on Amazon, which is surprising considering that it was released this month and most AAA games release at £40 no matter the length or depth. For most of my 26 hours spent completing prey I had a great time, the last 4 hours were a bit of a drag but I definitely enjoyed the majority of my time with it. I can confidently say that at almost £30, this game is worth the price. You’re getting bang for your buck here and the different upgrade and story options offer some replayablity.
Let me list some pros and cons so you can make up your own mind though
- An interesting story
- Multiple ways to complete objectives
- A fun array of Alien powers
- A paranoia inducing atmosphere and tone
- The mimic is a great enemy
- Long loading screens
- A tedious fourth quarter
- Limited enemy types