If you have followed my work at all for the last three years or so, you probably know that I love Prey (2017). I fell in love with Arkane’s immersive sim, calling it my game of the year in 2017, and frankly, the pinnacle of the genre. In short, it presents an incredible, rich world (a sort of corporate dystopia in space), with an awesome, inclusive, many-layered approach to storytelling, a gob-stopping array of player verbs and actions, and intriguing level design that encourages exploration and experimentation. I love it, and I haven’t shut up in almost three years about it.
Well, my partner picked it up yesterday. I had to try to contain myself without vibrating from excitement (and some fear! What if they hate it!)
Viki is playing this game slowly, with the kind of wonder I especially enjoy when jumping into a world as completely realized as Prey’s. They are looking at every email and poster and environmental detail, much to my delight. They are the kind of player testers probably LOVE, verbalizing their thoughts on the world and what they think of it, marveling at that awesome title sequence and giant mindfuck that is the early game reveal in the first 30 minutes.
The big reveal! (At the very beginning) – and also drinking water, because you gotta stay hydrated pic.twitter.com/5pVeA4z4YX
— Danielle Riendeau (@Danielleri) January 7, 2020
Combat… is not going as smoothly though, so I’m a little worried they might get frustrated with those elements quickly. Though, I must say, Viki is having a pretty good time with turrets thus far.
There is a strong desire to backseat drive, with my (probably ridiculous) hours in the game pressing up against a genuine desire to see how they choose to deal with every encounter, every room, every obstacle the game puts forth. It’s exhilarating, and we’re only in the first areas of the game so far.
They may well end up hating it, and thinking I’m full of shit for liking this game THIS MUCH. I do think Prey suffers from having fairly rigid combat (some weapons/powers are the only effective method for certain enemies, in a Pokémon chart kind of way), and the final third, if you aren’t supremely overpowered like I was (from a 50-plus hour first playthrough) can be a slog.
But, as the base game and it’s all-out sandbox Mooncrash DLC prove, for the kind of player I am, the person who DELIGHTS in finding new solutions to problems, it’s heaven. I can only hope my partner feels even a little of that in their playthrough (and that I don’t completely ruin it for them with my enthusiasm).