What is Prey?
Prey is a sci-fi, horror themed first person shooter, set on board a space station called the Talos 1, where a science project to study, research, and harness the powers of a mysterious shape-shifting alien race known as the Typhon has gone horribly wrong. With the Typhon having broken loose and killed most - but not all - of the crew, it's up to you to make your way through the station and uncover its mysteries, as you try to figure out what's going on, how you're going to get out, and who you can trust.
Despite sharing a name with 2006's Prey, this is actually a very different style of game, with a different story, setting, cast of characters, in a totally unconnected universe.
How do you play Prey?
A game from the team that brought you Dishonoured 2, Prey is a similar open ended experience. The sprawling maze of corridors that make up the Talos space station are yours to explore, as you follow the instructions of a number of mysterious figures who talk to you over your headset, and start to unravel the mystery behind the ship. With many an obstacle or locked door for you to bypass, getting around the decaying, and alien infested facility is never all that easy - but you often have a choice of how you progress.
One of the key gameplay ideas here are neuromods, which essentially let you tailor your character to suit your style of play. With a variety of powers to choose from, collecting neuromods will let you unlock certain abilities on a grid of interconnected powers, whether you want to give yourself more health, hack into control panels and turrets, or repair broken machinery you find lying around - amongst many others - which in turn determine how you'll be able to make your way through the space station. If you find yourself taking lots of damage, you can boost your health; if you'd rather not have to hunt down as many keycards, you can upgrade your hacking skills to bypass locked doors; or if you prefer to hide in the shadows, you can buy a number of boosts for your stealth skills. However, that's not to say combat can be easily avoided - in fact, Prey's most common enemies have a habit of sneaking up on you. Known as mimicks, these spider-like Typhon can disguise themselves as inanimate objects - meaning you won't even know they're there until they drop the disguise.
How easy is Prey to pick up and play?
Aimed at an experienced crowd, Prey provides a hefty challenge from the off. While there are four difficulty levels on offer, even on Easy enemies can kill you in only a handful of hits, whilst ammo and health supplies are always in incredibly short supply to increase the tension. Having to take on a giant, powerful enemy with only your wrench and a tiny fraction of your max health is easier said than done.
As the game doesn't make it hugely obvious when you're taking damage (bar the small health bar depleting in the bottom corner of the screen), you'll need to keep your wits about you at all times - even being on fire will sometimes only cause a small icon to appear in the corner of the screen. To make things even trickier, the game even adjusts the contrast whenever an enemy's near, often causing the black enemies to blend in with the now much darker background. While the ability to save anywhere means you can ensure you don't lose too much progress, balancing the limited amount of health packs you have with the many enemies that are patrolling the station is an acquired skill - as is deciding which neuromod upgrades to go for.
While the game does provide plenty of handy navigation icons on screen to show you where to go next, you won't always be able to proceed when you get there. As a station on lock down, the Talos 1 is home to an inordinate amount of key cards - and without the right card, you won't be getting in. Requiring you to scour the belly of the terrifying ship with a fine toothed comb, there's a lot of backwards and forwarding here, and nothing to tell you where the card you're looking for might be located.
Despite its horror credentials, Prey is actually sits somewhere in the middle in terms of mature content. For bad language, the odd use of "sh*t" is as bad as it gets, whilst there's nothing in the way of sexual content to speak of.
Perhaps the strongest mature content in Prey comes from the violence, where you'll often find crew who've literally had the life sucked out of them by the alien enemies, or lifeless bodies with splats of blood beneath them. Some mind-controlled enemies will run at you, with their heads exploding when they get close, although this is actually less gory than it sounds. As they're being mind controlled by an alien, you'll mostly see a burst of alien psychic power/goo, although there is a moderate amount of blood as well, along with a leftover headless body.