Addictive, dark, requires problem solving, lame ending

User Rating: 9 | Prey PS4

I really enjoyed Prey for a good month or so. Once you get into it, it's an immersive world with lots of things to do.

The graphics were excellent and the gameplay responsive. I really liked how it kept track of all items no matter where you put them. I experienced no lag with this although it always took a long time to load when moving to different areas. In contrast, Fallout 3 on PS3 eventually became unplayable because of lag and large save files (about 15MB) so I never finished it.

I liked the variety of enemies although they all look similar. The fact that mimics can hide as everyday objects adds to the tension and horror, especially near the start. But I like that you develop more and more options as to how to deal with enemies throughout the game, including being able to scan and detect mimics in advance. The shotgun is very effective, once you level it up, but it's easy to run out of ammo. You can use a gloo gun to inhibit enemies and then beat them with a wrench, but this is risky. Each enemy has unique strengths and weaknesses which you learn about later so you can then adjust your approach to be more effective.

There's a comical way to recycle objects that you scavenge into raw materials. And you can then build things using those materials. You can climb to hard-to-reach places by shooting blobs on walls with the gloo gun and jumping on them. There are many ways to get into locked rooms, including hacking, finding the password written somewhere, finding a path through a vent but you might have to move a heavy object, by mimicking a small object and going in through a gap, by shooting a computer screen with a dart, etc. Experimentation is often rewarded - there are a lot of nice little rewards in hidden nooks.

I found the game very hard at first but much easier as I got on top of it. Neuromods were by far the most valuable thing so I produced them as much as possible. You can level up all kinds of skills which make the game more and more fun as you go. It's often worth revisiting areas as you can probably access more parts each time. It can be annoying facing respawning enemies though.

I ended up obsessively collecting everything, exploring every area, reading every e-mail, etc. It's satisfying going from sneaking around corners, scared, not knowing how to play the game, to later confidently going wherever I liked, easily beating the enemies and having so many gadgets and abilities at my disposal.

SPOILERS

The end of the game was a disappointment. Basically, "it was all a dream". It's an ending I can perhaps tolerate, but not get behind. But honestly, I was more in it for the gameplay and that's part of the frustration - once the game ends, it's over. You can't keep exploring. Also, at least one mission was impossible to complete due to some kind of glitch or poor design. It ruins the satisfaction of going through and completing everything. I might do more playthroughs later, to try to fulfil certain challenges, like not using any neuromods, but we'll see.

I really enjoyed the atmosphere and style of this game and the wide range of choices you have in how to explore and deal with enemies. I just wish it had a happier and more meaningful (less of a cop-out) ending. Depressing endings just make the whole thing feel pointless and uninteresting to revisit.