(Spoiler alert: this post avoids specific spoilers, but don’t read on if you want to go into Prey as a complete surprise.)
If you’re thinking about getting into Bethesda’s Prey®, do it.
I’m not a person who enjoys being on edge—unless that “edge” is from games like Prey. Bethesda and Arkane Studios’ most recent sci-fi has an alluring premise, teasing a kind of tension that promises to tap into your curiosity and audacious side.
Feeling intrigued, I dove into Prey for an hour.
First, let’s agree that your apartment is gorgeous. That incredible view! Add to that the interior design and the sharp, modern furniture, and you’re thinking, “I can’t believe this is my place.” Everything is put together impeccably to instill a sense of wonder in your very own home—a false sense of security. The objective bar is as pleasant as the technician outside your apartment, guiding you through the skies in a sweet helicopter ride.
Nothing at this point seems off, and that’s suspicions. You start to anticipate when things will turn south. Your apartment is too perfect. The skies are too clear. That elevator voice is too… hmm, friendly.
And once you’re in the TransStar facilities, when you realize everything seems too clean, hear the whispers between the scientists behind the glass, you know what you’re in for.
When the illusion set up in the first few minutes shatters (literally) quickly, the sudden turnaround of events is intense. The shock of this shift in tone seizes your complete attention without mercy or delay as everything you’ve seen in the game’s opening disappears. Within minutes, you’re operating on a morbid curiosity, investigating an abandoned spaceship you’ve yet to experience the full perils of.
Prey is paced exceptionally well, setting the mood and dropping you into the feeling it wants you to be in within half an hour—one mixed of that morbid curiosity and a sense of urgency. This urgency, mirrored against the emptiness, is a driving paradox—you think, as you go through, really—what’s the hurry? Nothing motivates you better to push forward in a game than an enigma that knows how to hang over your head while never losing its luster. The disembodied voice is calling on you to get the hell out, but as a player, there’s a stronger impulse luring you to explore every square inch.
The spaceship is intricate, with every hallway indicating this was a full, bustling environment once upon a time… now completely vacant. More than the Mimics wandering the place, that’s what’s unnerving most of all—you, alone, at the mercy of this vast space that can throw anything at you, hidden behind the corners of an entire “society” no longer in existence.
That’s a hell of an environment and the powerful appeal of Prey.
While meaning to play only for an hour, I found myself needing a break after three, addicted to the setting that simultaneously put me on edge and made me want to discover more and more of it. It’s an eloquent balance Arkane Studios gets right, a balance so well-crafted it may as well belong in a Shakespeare play.
In Prey, you’re left behind in the worst way imaginable: fractured memories, Typhon aliens, terrifying Nightmares all packaged neatly in a fight for survival in the infinite, desolate space… all unwrapped within an hour to reveal horror and an existential crisis: what the hell happened here and what exactly happened to me?
Good luck finding out.
Prey is out now, and you can grab the game on Steam for $59.99 USD. Check out our recommended settings on Radeon graphics cards here and how Radeon Software improves Prey’s performance.