6.1

Good for some easy Gamerscore points and some fun moments, but overall, a humdrum, by-the-numbers first-person shooter

Apparently, the concept of the video game Prey had been tossed around quite frequently throughout the past half-decade or so. The story of the game is certainly interesting, but very cliche, but the game-play itself falls very short of any other games of this ilk. To sum it up, the graphics look great, but the game-play is extremely repetitive and the novelty of the portals wears thin far too soon due to half-baked execution. Fun as a rental, nothing more.

The story of Prey is actually interesting, albeit been-there-done-that material. The main character, Tommy, may not be memorable, but you get the point that developer Human Head was trying to convey about Tommy's stubbornness and opposing strong convictions. His girlfriend, Jen, comes off as mostly boring and not worth saving. The grandfather ultimately overkills his role as spiritual leader. Other characters in the game provide little more than filler NPC roles to further the game along. Mediocrity is unacceptable considering this game has been in limbo for so long.

The graphics are the best thing about this game. Apparently, the Doom 3 engine was incorporated and the engine certainly looks great in this game, with the exception of certain up-close textures that look unfinished. Tommy looks fine, with typical Native American garb, and the same goes for both his grandfather and Jen. The enemies all seem the same during the 23 levels of this game, so you stop appreciating the Hunters and their kind very early in the game. Claustrophobia must have been the feeling that the game developers were trying to convey, because most of the game is nothing but long or curvy hallways with lots of doors between them, with the rare large expansive areas. The gravity tricks are few and far apart, and it feels like a one-trick pony more than anything else, and the same exact thing can be said regarding the portals. It seems like the focus was just on the beginning levels, and then it get's boring and predictable after the first six levels or so. No creativity to be found in this game, save for the first few portal applications.

The weapons in an FPS should really want to make you use them again and again. Not only are these weapons underwhelming (especially in multiplayer), but most are not very useful. The wrench is immediately useless after gaining the rifle. The rifle itself is useful due to its secondary sniper scope function, complete with zoom capabilities. It also slowly recharges up to a minimum ammo count. The next gun, the leech gun, is actually one of the best weapons in the game. With its various types of ammo, from fireballs to lightning arcs, to a powerful blast pulse ray to icethrower, this gun packs a nice punch and is pleasant to play. The only draw back is that the secondary function is useless except for refilling ammo and the power nodes that you leech ammo from are few and far apart at the beginning of Prey. Next up is the spider-like grenades. These have a primary throw function and a secondary proximity mine function, the second being useless in the single player portion and quite useful in the multiplayer portion. Acquiring the alien assault rifle is a treat, with standard shooting function and a secondary grenade launcher firing capability makes this a decent weapon of choice. The acid rifle is the most useless weapon in the game, short of the wrench. Due to the poor aiming mechanism in Prey, you will find it very difficult to properly employ this weapon, except for during the single-player portion, as the enemies just stand there most of the time, trying to aim at you. The acid sprayer weapon is the best weapon in the game, with an acid-ball-shooting primary and a secondary function that provides a shot-blocking mist shield that protects you for a limited time, but also prevents you from shooting through it as well. Not a bad idea. Of noteworthy mention is Tommy's spirit form. This is a half-implemented great idea. Though you leave your human body vulnerable during this state, the spirit form allows you to attack the enemy without putting yourself in harms way (that's not really an issue in this games) , once you've learned the bow and arrow attack. With so many buttons on the X360, more functions should have been added to te spirit form to make it more versatile and useful. It's also necessary to progress in the game, as hidden walkways and rooms are only available in spirit form, in order to reach switch consoles and obtain other puzzle-oriented solutions. The sound in Prey falls in a broad spectrum from "too quiet" to "unremarkable" to "few great moments". Nothing stands out and the weapons sound like they are all muffled and suppressed. Some weapons deserve the understatement (acid rifle, I'm looking at you). The constant astral sound generated during spirit form is enthralling, but get's old very fast. The enemies all share similar grunts and don't really sound all too individual. The robot enemies are devoid of any remarkable sound, not even a robotic grunt, and this is really disappointing considering any attempt would have been appreciated. The voice acting is OK, with Tommy genuinely sounding like a Native American, as well as his grandfather and Jen. Elhuit, the leader of the Hidden Tribe, also sounds genuine.

FORGET THE MULTIPLAYER! I encountered nothing but lag playing this game online, not to mention that there weren't to many hosts online. Perhaps I'm used to Gears of War and Lost Planet having an abundance of servers available with hosts ready to play, but I was not impressed with Prey at all. Lag makes it impossible to put a bead on your enemies, and add to this that the aiming mechanism for Prey is shoddy in the first place. No fun in multiplayer. The weapons are underwhelming, the maps are extremely boring, and with a barebones deathmatch and team deathmatch available, this game is not worth playing for its multiplayer. Seems like it was obligatorily tacked on. Could have left this out, and just put more Gamerscore points into the single player portion. In conclusion, Prey is a game that is best rented and never bought. You can find better FPS games out there than this game. Worth a look at, but you'll never come back to it once you've done all there is in a matter of a few hours.

Poor AI, uninteresting pacing, spirit form is very useful and pretty cool, too easy

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