Prey is a mind-bending, science-fiction first-person shooter set on the mystery-filled Talos I space station. This spiritual successor to System Shock features multiple ways to progress through the game, along with options to primarily shoot enemies or stealth past them.
Pro Strong opening
The introduction to Prey's story and setting is intriguing, messing with the player's head and forcing them to question if what they had just experienced was real. There's an unsettling air of sterility and complacency where certain factors of the game expect the player, as the protagonist Morgan, to obliviously go along with the proceedings as if nothing is wrong. These events are ultimately more interesting than the rest of the story, but Prey nonetheless has an unforgettable hook that will keep players invested from the get-go.
Pro Morality system is well-implemented
Prey has a strong focus on the protagonist Morgan's actions to determine his or her morality, The choices in the game deal with choosing to kill a group of mind-controlled enemies or finding a way to save them. spending limited resources to go out of your way to fight enemies who pose a threat to the space station, or even saving groups of people who don't like you and won't appreciate your sacrifice. It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons and do what best reflects your own morals. These types of choices come up throughout the game, and they feel well-executed and implemented in ways that serve as an example for other morality-based titles to follow.
Pro Rewarding exploration
Throughout each level, there are several items to pick up in Prey, in order to save them to recycle into more useful items. There are also computers for the player to browse and read descriptive emails and data logs with new information, or electrical flames acting as obstacles that the player can extinguish with special tools. Environments are dense, telling a story all their own that adds to the intrigue of the main plot. As Morgan levels up, he or she can also unlock new ways to explore earlier locations, such as a feature to glide across locations to reach inaccessible areas, opening up new possibilities to discover.
Pro Options to stealth or shoot
Although the effectiveness of the stealth option leaves a lot to be desired, Prey at least gives the player the opportunity to either focus on straightforward combat or sneaking around enemies instead. Much like in the Deus Ex games, not being locked to either playstyle opens up a lot of freedom for exploration and taking on foes.
Con Overuse of jump scares
The blob-like, ink-black mimics that appear throughout the space station often sneak up on the player by way of jump scares that gradually overstay their welcome, becoming more of an annoyance than anything, especially for players who dislike horror mechanics. The first few instances of this happening can be a complete turn-off, discouraging those who might have enjoyed the game without this particular design decision.
Con Weak stealth options
Because the player isn't forced to choose a dedicated playstyle from the onset, stealth or shooting, it's clear that having both forced the stealth option to suffer, with the primary mechanic being tiptoeing around enemies and hoping that they don't notice. With the dozens of options to mod Morgan's gun and inspire different uses for his or her weapon, the stealth painfully lacks in comparison.
Con Inconsistent graphics
Prey's environments and lighting effects are beautiful, with polished surfaces and fizzling bits of electricity coming from broken wires, but the human models in the game are decidedly average in comparison, their skin looking somewhat bloated or blotched at times that don't seem intentional. Thankfully, the humans in the game aren't as much of a focus as the environments are.