No, you aren’t going mad. Prey did indeed come out in 2017, and it is not to be confused with the original that landed many years ago in 2006. The game that we are looking back upon here is a reimagining of the IP, as opposed to a direct sequel or remake.
This time around the action took place in the near future on board the Talos I space station. Not only this, but Prey was set in an alternative reality (hence the reimagining I guess) where the attempt on John F. Kennedy’s life failed. You played as Morgan Yu, who found himself fending off the alien nasties known as the Typhon. Scavenging your environment and savvy decision making was key to surviving the horrors onboard the terrifying facility.
The Arkane Studios stamp was well and truly present here. Despite Prey being a first-person shooter, the open nature of the levels, having a certain level of control over your character’s attributes and your decisions having an effect on the storyline in the game were evidence of this. Not just a straightforward aim and shoot affair then.
The events were tied together with a rich and detailed narrative that unearthed buried secrets both around what was happening onboard Talos I as well as in Morgan’s own past. Research carried out is always a morally grey area in games such as Prey, with debate around whether to risk saving it and at what cost. The bloodthirsty alien menace hunting you made this something of a no-brainer in my eyes, but hey ho.
It’s a good job then, that there were a variety of weapons to make use of. Starting armed only with your trusty wrench, you were forced to carefully consider when to engage the enemy, as well as gathering resources to improve your offensive arsenal. The GLOO Cannon was great fun and an example of a more unusual weapon for a first-person shooter. It had a variety of uses, from pinning down aliens, to creating makeshift ledges and putting out roaring flames.
The upside of having aliens knocking about was that Morgan could make use of some of their abilities for himself. Once he had acquired Neuromods and the tech to scan the Typhon, their skill tree would open up and offer many interesting abilities such as Mindjack and Kinetic Blast. Combining different abilities and weapons not only offered key options for how to tackle the bigger battles, but was also lots of fun.
Prey did a great job of creating a psychological atmosphere as opposed to a straight edged horror one. The continuous sense of threat from the Typhon coupled with a genuine hesitancy around trusting other characters kept the tension ramped up. The elegant 1960’s style decor onboard the Talos I space station provided the perfect juxtaposition to the dangers that were slowly surrounding you. It definitely had a strong Aliens vibe, which is my favourite film in the franchise and probably explains why I enjoyed Prey so much.
Two expansions were released for Prey, Mooncrash and Typhon Hunter. The first was a roguelike mode where elements are randomised each time you played through. This was told through the eyes of a hacker who is trying to find out what happened at the Pytheas Moonbase by running a series of simulations.
The second expansion contained two game modes. The first was a single player escape room setup, whereas the second was a multiplayer mode that saw Morgan face off against Mimic Typhons. He needed to eliminate them all within a certain timeframe, however they could use their abilities to blend in with their surroundings and launch surprise attacks. Think of Among Us and you’ll get the idea.
Prey was received really well overall and I certainly enjoyed playing it through. The good news is that thanks to Microsoft flashing the cash in the pursuit of acquisitions not so long ago, Prey is available at no extra cost through Xbox Game Pass. It’s definitely worth your time if you’re after an atmospheric and absorbing single player experience.
Grab it from the Xbox Store and play it on Xbox One or Series X|S if you haven’t yet done so. If you have played it, let us know your thoughts by dropping into the comments.