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.
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?
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