Review by dwashbur
"All I Can Say Is, WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
This is a first-person shooter like no other I've come across so far. You start out with a monkey wrench. That's it. Along the way you pick up the aliens' weapons and use them. I saw one review on here that said you never get a chance to use the grenades; I guess that person wasn't paying attention too closely, because they saved my bacon more than once.
Your name is Tommy. You're a young Cherokee man living on the reservation, in love with a nice girl named Jen, devoted to your aging grandfather, but you reject their ties to the Cherokee heritage and especially to the reservation land; all you want to do is get the *bleep* out of there and make a life anywhere else. Jen doesn't want to leave, which presents you with a problem. But that problem suddenly becomes a small one compared to just staying alive and finding Jen, when aliens kidnap the whole bunch of you. As you stand helplessly by, they take your girlfriend away and kill your grandfather. Now you have to find your way through an ungodly maze of a spacecraft, and hopefully rescue Jen while finding a way off this thing. It won't be easy, but it can be done through stealth, cleverness, making opportunistic use of items you get off the alien enemies, and, to Tommy's great surprise, a lot of guidance from the spirit of your grandfather. He teaches you how to spirit walk, use the spirit bow, follow various kinds of mystical guides, and otherwise use your Cherokee heritage to keep you going.
The American Indian angle is a fascinating one, and part of what keeps the game interesting. You get to use a wide variety of weapons, but even more crucial is your ability to use the spirit walk. Why? Because there are all kinds of barriers, logic puzzles and conundrums in your way. Many of them can only be solved by entering spirit walk mode. This is not just a rampaging shoot-em-up like many other FPS games; this one has a little of everything.
The graphics are outstanding. The sound is equally outstanding, and the story is varied enough to keep from getting repetitive and dull. The puzzles can be exasperating, but patience, careful examination of the environment and creative thinking will get you through most of them. For the rest, there's a very well-done walkthrough right here on gamefaqs, heh heh. I only had to resort to it four times in something like 21 levels.
The only reason I can't give Prey a 10 is because there's one, count 'em, one, problem with the controls. Most every FPS game has an "action" control that allows interaction with the environment, and Prey is no exception. The problem is, what that control is. For reasons far beyond my comprehension, the designers chose to make the right trigger perform double-duty: it's your primary weapon trigger, as usual, but it's also your "action" control. Huh? When you come up to something you need to interact with, you have to position yourself just so until Tommy's left hand appears, then you can interact using the trigger. The trouble is, the "just so" area is so small, that if you waver even a little, you'll find yourself shooting the item instead of pressing it. Why use the right trigger, for crying out loud? It's even more baffling when you realize that THE X BUTTON IS NOT USED AT ALL IN THIS GAME! Why not let the trigger be a trigger and use the X button for interaction? It doesn't make any sense at all. It's annoying and frustrating most of the time. We know Prey 2 is coming; hopefully this error will be fixed in that one.
That said, Prey is one heck of a ride. Get it, tolerate the control problem, and have fun!
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/08/09
Game Release: Prey (US, 07/11/06)
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