Publisher: 2K Games
Console: Xbox 360
(*Cowbell*) Yes, I’m back. Free from Nickelodeon prison, where I was detained for the comments I made about the Bubble Guppies. (*Cowbell*) Anyway, let’s get on with it. Prey is a unique game because it features a Native American lead character, Tommy, who is at least somewhat realistic (yes, I’m talking to you, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter). (*Cowbell*) All Tommy wants to do is get off the reservation with the girl he likes. But fate as other plans for Tommy. Did I mention Blue Oyster Cult is on the soundtrack? Mikey? Mikey?? More cowbell!
I think they get the reference. As the games starts out, you think that it is just going to be another Silent Hill clone, but when you walk through a set of doors and hear Heart’s “Barracuda” you enter what looks like a real bar. Another song sets the mood perfectly when the game starts to play Blue Oyster Cult’s “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” and Tommy gets sucked into a portal by aliens seeking to conquer the world.
Prey’s graphics are undeniably spectacular. The aliens are eerily realistic. With the flick of a gravity switch, entire levels can be flipped upside down or sideways, instantly giving you a new perspective on your environment.
Tommy also has the ability to leave his body and explore the world in spirit form, which makes for some imaginative puzzles. The player can literally be in two places at once, as the spirit form is able to pass through force-field barriers and throw switches that the physical form cannot reach. When you factor in that you may also be upside down or stuck to the side of a wall on a magnetic walkway, you can begin to see how surreal the action becomes.
The innovations don’t stop there. Prey showcases an impressive portal technology that links different levels together via floating gateways. When peering through a portal, you can see your intended destination, although you can’t always be sure which way is up, meaning a tumble or two as you pass through.
All these features combine for some mind-bending action set-pieces that cleverly exploit the outlandish alien setting. Prey is unique and bizarre, and at the same time familiar. If you enjoy future themed shooters you’re going to love the ride that Prey provides.
(*More cowbell*) And remember, guys and gals, don’t fear the Reaper.