Prey: PC Versus Xbox 360

Having trouble deciding which version of Prey to get? We break down the differences between the PC and the Xbox 360 versions.

By Staff - posted July 19, 2006

Prey Platform Decision 2006

In the past, the PC versus console debate has boiled down to a few points that almost always end up favoring the PC, especially when it comes to first-person shooters. The mouse-and-keyboard standard simply offers more refined control than a gamepad. And typically, the graphics gap between the console and PC versions used to be awfully substantial. At this point in time, though, the Xbox 360 is doing a pretty good job at keeping up with the pack, and now, more than ever, the line between platforms is quite blurry.

Here, we'll take 2K Games' Prey and break down the differences between the Xbox 360 and PC versions of the game in an effort to help you decide which version is for you. Since the gameplay is pretty much identical in the two versions, the little differences here and there (and the quality of your PC components or your desire to upgrade, if needed) are going to be the deciding factor. Let's start with a quick summary of the good and the bad about each version.

Prey for the Xbox 360
+ Solid performance
+ Utilizes the platform's addictive achievements system
+ Contains Dolby Digital 5.1 sound
- Retails for $10 more than the PC version
- Can't use any user-generated content

Prey for the PC
+ Cheaper retail price
+ Looks better than the Xbox 360 version on higher-end PCs
+ Has more potential for additional content via user mods and maps
- No native support for widescreen resolutions
- Multiplayer designed to only officially support eight players

The PC version is the better bet if you've got a high-end machine, but the Xbox 360 version offers a guaranteed level of performance that's a better choice for people unwilling to upgrade their PC, especially if you already have a home theater system and an HDTV.

Let's Talk System Requirements

Before we get much further, let's talk about the sorts of PCs the developers of Prey had in mind when making the game. Here are the game's official requirements.

Minimum System Requirements
- Windows 2000 or XP with latest service pack installed
- 512MB System RAM
- 2GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent processor
- 8x CD-ROM drive (or DVD-ROM, in the case of the collector's edition)
- 2.2GB free hard disk space
- DirectX 9.0c (included)
- 100 percent DirectX 9.0c-compatible 64MB video card
- DirectX 9.0c compatible sound card
- Keyboard, mouse

Recommended System Requirements
- 2.5GHz Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon XP 2500+ processor
- 1GB System RAM
- ATI Radeon X800 series or higher video card
- Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi series sound card

At the minimum system requirements, Prey runs pretty good--but only on its medium or low-end settings. The recommended system requirements will get you up to the higher levels, but really, there's still even more improvements to be had if you go above those limits. We ran the game on a 3.0GHz Pentium 4 with 2GB of RAM and an ATI Radeon X850 when working on the PC game review, and it ran quite nicely.

As for the Xbox 360 version, all you really need is the 360 and a TV. But let's face it, you're not going to be getting the most out of the game on a standard-definition television. A widescreen TV is going to give you a bigger chunk of the action, and once you start getting into high definition, the overall visual quality really starts to pick up. Additionally, you'll need an Internet connection if you want to play online on the PC, and you'll also need a paid Gold-tier Xbox Live account if you want to play online on the 360.

Sound Options

The system with the better sound comes down to your hardware. The PC version of the game supports OpenAL and has a surround-sound option, but the Xbox 360 version has Dolby Digital 5.1 support. Plus, you're probably more likely to have a full surround-sound setup hooked up to your TV, rather than to your PC. The surround-sound audio is used about as well as you'd expect from a first-person game, which can give you a bit of a tactical advantage in multiplayer, since you'll be able to hear people coming up behind you.

The game still sounds fine through a standard two-speaker setup, but the experience isn't as rich as it is on a full surround setup.


Which version of Prey do you think you'll get? Do you plan on playing Prey online
or downloading add-ons?


Xbox 360 Versus Low-Spec PC Comparison

Keeper Fortress

HD Xbox 360 image shown. Mouse over the image to see the PC version.

Prepare for a host of disappointments if you try to play brand new games on less than stellar PC hardware. A budget 4-pipe video card will require you to disable several graphical features in order get decent frame rate performance. We disabled high-quality specular, sharpened bump maps, high-quality particle effects, glow, high-quality skinning, set texture quality to "low," and set shader detail to "medium" for our Low-Spec PC.

Harvester Complex

The texturing, lighting and ambient effects all take a hit on the Low-Spec PC in this shot. Check out the noticeable lack of piping detail. If you look closely at the far side of the room, you can see that the Low-Spec PC doesn't have that fine environmental mist that's present in the Xbox 360 version. Heck, you can't even see the second wall indentation on the left side at all.


Which version of Prey do you think you'll get? Do you plan on playing Prey online
or downloading add-ons?


Xbox 360 Versus Mid-Spec PC Comparison

Keeper Fortress

HD Xbox 360 image shown. Mouse over the image to see the PC version.

Jumping up to a decently equipped PC with an 8-pipeline video card in the $200 range really helps graphics on the PC side. We enabled most settings, maxed out shader detail, and turned up the texture quality on our Mid-Spec PC, but we left high-quality particles and glow disabled because those two settings eat up significant frame rates. Visit our Prey Hardware Performance guide to find out more about how Prey's various graphics options affect frame rate. Increasing texture settings and enabling anisotropic filtering helps the mid-range PC exceed the 360's texture quality, but we still have to skimp on the lighting effects if we want to raise the resolution to a respectable level.

Harvester Complex

It's easier to see what the Mid-Spec PC loses in lighting effects here in the Harvester Complex. The Xbox 360 has extra light diffusion from the green lights on the screen, and the room also has a pleasant mist missing in the Mid-Spec PC shot. Note that a Mid-Spec PC provides a lot more freedom to mix and match graphical settings, but compromises must be made between frame rates and graphical quality. You can make Prey's graphics on a Mid-Spec or even a Low-Spec PC look just as good as the Xbox 360's graphics, but actual frame rates will degrade accordingly.


Which version of Prey do you think you'll get? Do you plan on playing Prey online
or downloading add-ons?


Xbox 360 Versus High-Spec PC Comparison

Keeper Fortress

HD Xbox 360 image shown. Mouse over the image to see the PC version.

We equipped our High-Spec PC with Intel's newest Core 2 Extreme processor and a 24-pipeline GeForce 7900 GTX GPU. For the purpose of the comparison we kept the resolution at 1280x720, but the hardware can easily handle resolutions of 1600x1200 and higher with full anisotropic filtering and antialiasing in tow. Prey definitely looks better on a High-Spec PC with everything enabled, but keep in mind that a single GeForce 7900 GTX costs as much as a premium Xbox 360. Check out the razor-sharp texturing, and even the additional detail on the outside floor.

Harvester Complex

The main difference between the High-Spec PC and the Xbox 360 shot involves lighting and texture detail, which you can see in the shot in the piping and the weapon. Lighting effects add more substance to the scene, and enabling antialiasing helps to soften up the jagged edges.


Which version of Prey do you think you'll get? Do you plan on playing Prey online
or downloading add-ons?


Saving and Loading

Who needs to save games when you can deathwalk?

As you'd expect from a PC first-person shooter, Prey uses keys for quicksaving and quickloading, which will let you inch your way through the game, if you'd like. It also autosaves at set checkpoints, at the start of every level, and you can also just manually save anywhere you like. The Xbox 360 version lacks quicksaving and loading and only autosaves at the beginning of each level, but you can manually save anywhere here, too.

It's all a moot point, though. The way the game handles death actually makes all of the game's save options obsolete, since dying doesn't actually set you back at all. After a short stint in the deathwalk minigame, you're back in action, regardless of the difficulty setting. So the only time you really need to save is when you're going to stop playing for awhile.

Controls

Ultimately, the control differences in Prey come down to a matter of preference. Yes, the mouse-and-keyboard setup of the PC version allows for more precise, refined control, but the game's single-player opposition doesn't include any fast-moving monsters. So playing with a less-precise gamepad doesn't have any negative impact on your ability to draw down on bad guys and pull the trigger.

In multiplayer, though, things get a little more jittery, making the mouse and keyboard a better choice. In fact, the PC version is just a bit smoother, overall, online. Many Xbox 360 servers seem to lag, especially in a full eight-player game.

Special Features and Modding

While it's possible (in fact, we'd call it probable) that official map packs and other life-extending add-ons will make their way to the Xbox 360 version of Prey via the Xbox Live Marketplace, the PC version of the game is already being modded by players using the game's built-in editor. With enterprising modders already out there working on things like new maps or a pipe wrench mod that lets you manually open portals anywhere you like, the PC version is likely to have a longer, more interesting life span than its console counterpart.

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully this short guide has given you a better idea about the differences between the two versions of the game. But ultimately, many of the answers can only come from within. Are you hopelessly addicted to achievement points? Then the 360 version of Prey, with its relatively easy achievements, is going to hold sway. Is your PC already great, or are you just looking for any excuse to upgrade? The PC version of Prey might just be the catalyst you're looking for. Either way, you're going to get a solid first-person shooting experience with a few interesting new twists.


Which version of Prey do you think you'll get? Do you plan on playing Prey online
or downloading add-ons?


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Discussion

583 comments
Exactlamento
Exactlamento

I hate the feel of a pc, it destroys the intimacy of the game. With a controller it is like an extension of one's self, unlike using keys on a pc. But this comparison is heart breaking. Still wouldn't use a pc since upgrading is so costly and so frequent. Wow, more and more I start to hate that dreadful white box. Curses

NoseWeed619
NoseWeed619

I would only get the PC version here if i had a high end pc. I mean, becase i like the console feel of a game, versus the PC. And i have a mid-spec PC, so i would get it for the 360.

nroms
nroms

Eh, I didn't realise this was a 'tough' game to run - played with everything maxed, 4xAA on 1680x1050 with vsync on - never dropped below 60FPS.... Q6600@ 3.54GHz 8800GT OC 730/1825 Dominator XMS2 1066

Corrosion
Corrosion

PC version FTW!! Play it on max settings with the latest hardware and higher resolutions than any console can ever muster. 1600 X 1200 is the way to go.

mmogoon
mmogoon

Currently own the game for both. It's a great choice for both platforms and looks great on both. At the high end the PC does look a little bit better yes, but it still looks great on 360. All this crap about "FPSes shouldn't be on consoles" is just rubbish. FPSes work fine on consoles.

gh0stm3
gh0stm3

Sorry but i picked up this game for xbox the other day, i wasnt blown away by the visuals and how jumpy the game could be. I got the pc version for a fiver and my pc will run the game on full with pretty much all the bells and whistles on. It looks so much nicer and vibrant. controls wise, keyboard and mouse > controller pad. Im running this on a e6230 cpu overlocked 2.6ghz w/ 7900gt 520m, 2gb ram and xfi XM soundcard. With AA on i get a drop in frame rate when there are lots of models in view. Aside from that the game looks and feels great! pc games like this cant be matched, especially quake 4, that is a pc legeng, no place for a console.

TacticalElefant
TacticalElefant

You can see in the mid spec vs. part that the 360 version has terrible texture filtering. The PC version even at mid spec looks as good as the 360 version, just no special soft ambient lights. The texturing looks better though.

thomas10soa
thomas10soa

anyone notice how this game looked beautiful wen it was first released, now it looks disgusting

waveddiamond
waveddiamond

nicely said 1234ritchie it is better on the 360, but overall its not a great game though...

1234ritchie
1234ritchie

I can run nearly any game on my PC full speced and i have an x box 360 elite and i defo think that my 360 is better for this sort of game as i feel more comfortable playing it on my console and i think i am being fair as i have the game on 360 and PC

T3kNi9e
T3kNi9e

they should have also said something about the price diffence in having a PC able to run this game, and the price of 360. Which is why I say as a former PC player that 360 is worth 10x more unless your a rich kid. They call it "low spec" but its still the same computer as the high spec but with a better video card. The computer itself will cost alot, then add in the good video card thats alot more than a 360 which there's always more better computers out all the time and your computer become obsolete in maybe 2 years, possibly less.

Pro_wrestler
Pro_wrestler

Games on the 7900GTX will look worse and worse over the coarse of its life because of something called scaling. Consoles don't have to worry about this..the older the console gets the better the graphics will get before its maxed out in comparison to same-spec PC GPUs.

Paulo1
Paulo1

pc and xbox 360 are both great each are better at different things just cause 1 game is better on the pc doesnt mean another wont be better on the x360 so stop arguing!!!!!!!!!

SBNsebas
SBNsebas

to bad there aren't people on 360 online anymore :(

braqoon
braqoon

I Run Prey on AMD64 3500+, 1GB RAM and GForce 6800GS 256MB. all setings on High and runs ever so smooth. Having SB X-Fi with 5.1 headphones (zalman) creates a very good, not perfect 5.1 but still great. FPS on console is a mistake.

Superfluous2
Superfluous2

My system runs Prey looking like the high-spec PC images (and at a good frame rate) but I have only got 1GB of RAM and a nvidia 6600 video card. Perhaps it's because of the dual-core processor (rated at 4.82GHz lol)...

jangofett88
jangofett88

the game was solid on both platforms. but the stupid easy achievements were the deciding factor.

WoolieWool
WoolieWool

Don't believe the SoundBlaster X-Fi thing in the recommended system requirements. I enabled the advanced sound features with my six-year-old SoundBlaster Audigy Gamer (a veteran of three different PCs) and it works just fine. Also, my $500 headphones + amp setup will utterly destroy the vast majority of home theater systems (don't judge headphones by the cheap plastic crap that comes with MP3 players. A good pair of Sennheisers or Sonys for around $200 (NOT BOSE!) is about as good as audio gets unless you're willing to pay several thousand dollars.

ryokinshin6x3
ryokinshin6x3

my 7600gt runs this game 1280x1024 high, with cards higher ur gettin ginto max settings(even better), it does not cost too much for a gd gaming pc, dont let console noobs try to get u thinking only 3k pcs will work....and im allcomp, so no bs darkneji14, although most of those ppl are on crappy freeware games, more are moving to console/pc retail games=good thing lol i dual moniter, ps3 on one pc on the toher, and i jus switch my 5.1 around, no biggie. racing games are not better on 360, the fact that u can use so many diff controllers on pc is better. hell u can put in a ps3 or 360 controller with drivers.

knigh4000
knigh4000

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

DarkNeji14
DarkNeji14

Computers are the best invention ever created....u know why?? pple use computers to make games on any console. plus theres more than 200 million PC gamers>all the consoles put together still not enough to beat it

Subcritical
Subcritical

I will get the PC version. I love the way Gamespot insinuates that "everybody" has 5.1 theaters on their TV, and most people don't have that on the PC. Gimme a break, Gamespot. The PC is the way to go, as always.

Subcritical
Subcritical

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Subcritical
Subcritical

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

pc cant beat pd0 except crysis but wow 1 game , further more all pc really has is sims bs and who wants to play a wack game like that yes back in the day it had doom duke nukem nfs games and the true gaming console /device is nintendo s own nintendo game cube wii n64 nes snes gb gba gbc gb ds ds lite period nothing comes close to mario zelda metroid ssb goldeneye 007 perfectdark (n64) or mariokart one of the many 1-4 player games available and started multiplayer as we know it now you can thank goldeneye nintendo rare for that

colins5694
colins5694

OH man, PC's ROCK! I have been a loyal pc gaming fan for my whole life. XBOX 360s are only good for fighting, driving games in general. CORE 2 DUO E6400 OC'd @ 3.0 Ghz 2GB DDR2 800 G-Skill RAM ATI Radeon X1800XT OC Gigabyte DS3 MOBO

Zonner44
Zonner44

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

wasfy
wasfy

yeh, prey might be better on pcs, but that does not mean that pcs are better than the 360, because actually any driving games will be way more better on the 360 :p

cortez1112
cortez1112

@ joe_elwick i have half a brain, and well not a few quid to spend, but i know the PC is far superior. but there are many people out there who are intimdated by opening their rig up (teeheehee)thing is though, not everyone can upgrade their computer, they might not have the money because they mite hav to fully upgrade cos of a mobo and skt. upgrade. (like me >_> grr stupid skt.754 sempron)but id generally have to say, pc rocks compared to anything else. the only good thing bout xbox 360 prey is that u can have a wireless controller and not have to fumble with leads. oh, and it looks like an oversized iPod in that tacky white colour. =D lol

lafreez
lafreez

Amd 3800+ Asrock Pci-E 1GB Corsair XMS 6800 Uber Ultra :) Plaid on max details runs Perfect Excellent game PC for life

joe_elwick
joe_elwick

why do people even bother comparing pc games to xbox 360 games? anyone who has half a brain and a few quid to spend knows that the pc is far superior when it comes to games!! people who have low end pc's just dont know there stuff because of they did , they would all be upgrading them and buying the games for there pc's!! even on medium settings, pc's generally out perform the xbox 360..on higher end pc's, well!!!, they just wipe the floor with them quality wise and also controll wise!!!

joe_elwick
joe_elwick

well having seen the screen shots i am deciding to get the pc version!! i have a fairly high end pc and should be able to run it on full!! the pc wins every time if you have a high end pc!! no comparison at all!

hussein_nahidh
hussein_nahidh

Both of them r gd ... but somehow the X360 versions is better !

coviechieif62
coviechieif62

my pc is kind of wierd, i have 1.5 gb ram x850xtx 16 pipeline@ 550 mhz and a 3ghz HT @4.2ghz (i have an Agp) and this game runs amazingly smooth, except on the last level, but only when you look at Mother, if you look anywhere else, even that spinning portal where that harvester flies through,on one of the previous levels, it doesn't lag, btw, mother's texturing isn't that great anyway

GuMMie_101
GuMMie_101

You Xbox and Ps lovers iv got news......they are pcs! These days they just throw all the latest(at that time) computer part together in a box and call it Xbox! What do you mean it looks better on a Xbox, maybe on your crappy 60hz tv! The facts are that playing a game on a controlle other than pac-man sucks, i cant wait to play agains you xbox players with a mouse and blow u away! All BOW down to the PC

Dantes_Monkey
Dantes_Monkey

I can play FPS perfectly fine with mouse k/board or using the apparantly inferior Playstation controllers. The main thing here is that it will run better online and off on a PC. But if you have a crap Pc and an Xbox 360 get it on the xbox.

nesto423
nesto423

i agree wheez , i have a 7600 gs , 2 gig g-skill ram , amd 3500+ and can play any game 360 throws out at me. "i have 2 360's " i enjoy them , but not for prey. "go w/the pc version" my sis has x200 pci-e onboard 512 ram , amd 3200 and hers starts out on high , but laggs ... but runs fine on medium and low.

whheezzzz
whheezzzz

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

caesars
caesars

What are you talking about? You could easily build a "high-end" PC with a $400 8800GTS, for $1500 or less. The articles that state you need a high-end CPU are complete nonsense (including this one, with a Core 2 Extreme). If you actually look at the graphs, you'll see that the CPU only makes a difference at low-res with settings turned down. As the settings are increased, the CPU becomes irrelevant.

Ravi_1900
Ravi_1900

Ofcourse its best on Pc but not on a high end PC of 1500$. Buy this game for PC if U only have a high end PC. Also if u have a little practice it fps plays good on xbox. I mean its not that hard and for a less challenging game like prey even PS controller would be great.

ZombieDr
ZombieDr

XBOX 360 IS THE BEEEEESSSSSTTTTTT!!!!!!! I don't know about you guys but I have played the 360 and PC versions and I can say that the 360 version is way better due to it's online abilities, graphics, lower price to actually own it if you're new to games(as in having to buy the whole package at one time), gameplay (which I could say is alot better on most consoles than on any PC I've played on), and most of all PC's don't do much better than any other next-gen console so we really shouldn't care about which but about how we're gonna get it.

fastpunk
fastpunk

If you plan on getting this game for the 360 then you should take into consideration that Prey is a FPS game, in other words, it "feels" much better when controlled via keyboard and mouse. And also keep in mind that the quality difference between a mainstream PC and the Xbox 360 is quite low.