While official Prey reviews will have to wait for its release date of May 5, two journalists got the chance to play the first hour. Their play styles were very different, but the game appeared to have the same narrative no matter what they did.
This could be due to many video games these days having “tutorial” periods at the beginning, teaching the player how to do the most basic things like moving, running, jumping, and such. Prototype and Assassin’s Creed started like that, stopping the action just long enough to tell you how to play. This tends to mar the flow for players who decide to go back for a replay, but it helps beginners understand what they’re doing. Other titles often take about an hour to walk you through the start of the story, not really opening up the world until after you finish a very linear set of tasks.
Games Radar says that Prey plays like Dishonored in space, with a hint of BioShock thrown in. This means it’s very liberal in what it lets you do and throws in a lot of technical jargon to help you understand that the protagonist, Morgan Yu, is allegedly a well-off scientist.
Lucas Sullivan and Andy Hartup were both given the same game with the intention of each writing a Prey review covering the first hour. Lucas appeared to be more interested in exploring and testing the nuances, while Andy went for the heavy damage style, throwing things around and seeing how much mischief he could get away with. Andy used the alibi that he hates Mondays as he threw a coffee pot in the toilet, downed a bottle of wine completely, and smashed a mug in his servant’s face. Lucas looked around and appreciated the fine décor, scavenging through the work desk and grabbing various items he might need for crafting later.
Much like Dishonored, this title gives you the freedom to play any way you want while maintaining a linear element to the narrative. You move forward regardless of your actions. The NPC characters are like most you’ll find in American RPGs, never reacting to anything you do until you walk up and talk to them.
After a chopper brings you to the lab, a hovering drone informs you of some maintenance issues it has to report suddenly, but that’s only if you choose to talk to it. You can either willingly take the tests or take the paranoid militant route, testing it yourself to see if there is a trap involved. Andy’s actions proved a bit prophetic, as while he’s in the testing chamber, a black tentacled creature attacks one of the scientists and the chamber fills with gas.
Both wake up the next day and discover the apartment and its amazing view were all an elaborate illusion. The front door had been locked the whole time, and Lucas resorted to smashing the glass to find a cold metal corridor beyond it, with signs about not interacting with the subject off-script. He refers to the experience as a kind of a Truman Show moment.
That was a film where Jim Carrey plays a man whose entire life was a 24-hour reality show and doesn’t know it until a camera falls on the street in front of him.
After grabbing a wrench off of the now dead “servant,” much like you do in the opening moments of BioShock, you get a call from a mysterious source named January. It tells you that you need to escape, a message verified if you check your emails and read what’s there.
Between the two who played the first hour of Prey, it appears obvious that Morgan is not only the protagonist but also the subject of the title itself. Much like the other games mentioned, it appears to give you a choice of how you want to play, but in the end, it’s actually linear in what you end up doing next.
[Featured Image by Bethesda Softworks]