Alien invasion? Check. Accidental hero? Check. Seemingly undernourished love interest? Check. First-person perspective? Check.
In terms of a first impression, Prey doesn’t make an especially good one. You might be forgiven for dismissing this FPS, first released in July 2006, as derivative nonsense. The type of game we’ve seen so often, and the type of game that never turns out to be any good. It’s even based upon the Doom 3 engine. And that game was a liberal helping of smoke served with a generous portion of mirrors.
But wait! Before you cast your glace aside and go off to read about the latest 400-quid pixel-pushing powerhouse, stick with Prey for a little while longer. You see, it’s really rather good.
Being abducted by aliens with your other half and granddad isn’t a particularly pleasant situation, but it’s the one in which Prey’s central character Tommy finds himself. And you get to play Tommy, the Native American who wants to turn his back on his ancient heritage.
Without wanting to give too much of the plot away, Tommy ends up with special powers gleaned from that heritage, enabling his spirit to leave his body and – for example – go through walls to unlock a door. A nice idea and an original twist, we’re sure you’ll agree. And things like this prevent Prey from being just another first-person shooter. It’s full of good ideas, clever puzzles and neat innovations.
The music is suitably atmospheric, and the voice acting also very praiseworthy. Graphics are good without being spectacular, but the enemy AI is probably the biggest letdown in the whole game. When the enemy (which seem rather close to Strogg in certain ways) do get the better of you, your spirit gets taken to a minigame and then back to the normal game. Another clever idea that prevents the undoing of any progress you’ve made.