Review by kiriyama2

"The third best game to use the Doom 3 engine"

I'm going to be honest, up until early or late July I had never even paid this game much mind. Sure I heard about it on G4 or on Gamespot, but otherwise I couldn't care less. Then the demo got released on the Xbox Live marketplace. I figured "what the hell" and decided to download it. I wasn't exactly floored by the demo, but felt that it was good enough to rent the full version. The game is rather entertaining, but is it worth shelling out sixty bucks? Long story short: No, no it isn't. Onto the review!

In Prey you play as a Native American named Tommy Hawk. Tommy is basically a middle aged curmudgeon, who hates living on the Cherokee reservation and wants to just get out of there. After roaming around a small dive of a bar, and beating down a couple of rabble-rousing drunks, a special news report turns onto the TV. And then the aliens show up, in what has to be one of the best alien abduction scenes in a video game I've seen (as well as the best use of the Blue Oyster Cult song: Don't Fear the Reaper) you end up on board an alien spaceship. After witnessing some of the aliens going about their tasks on board the ship you are eventually freed, and then you go about exacting revenge on your alien kidnappers.

The graphics in Prey are some good looking visuals. Everything has this nice highly detailed look in it. However I would like to point out that the graphics are also very disgusting at points. More than once you'll come across a door, or healing orifice, and just be sickened by how fleshy, and slick they look. It's not nauseatingly bad, but what other word can you possibly use for doors that look like anuses? Oh and let's not forget about the passageways that the Harvesters use. Anyhow... the designs for the aliens look rather cool, and I like the fact that the weapons were also living things (on occasion you'll see part of it squirm around and undulate). But for some reason I just really hated the design of the human characters. They just looked awkward.

The sound design in Prey is sort of your run of the mill first person shooter sound effects. You of course get the grunts and other such sounds when Tommy gets hit by the fire from the aliens. The voice acting leaves much to be desired, on a whole it's pretty good, but the voice acting for Tommy is pretty bad. Also to appease the supernatural/conspiracy-theorist types out there the developers of the game got none other than Art Bell to be in the game. Aside from Art Bell, and the ingenious use of Don't Fear the Reaper, the sound in the game isn't nothing all that extraordinary. The weapons sound good, and suitably powerful. But I found the near constant lack of music annoying.

Basically if you've ever played a first person shooter that has come out within the last few years you've played Prey (especially if you've played Quake 4). The game does mix things up a bit with the included gravity pads that when you shoot them rotates the room and basically puts you on the roof, or wall. The gravity walkways are also pretty cool. One thing that really separates Prey from other first person shooters is the fact that shortly into the game you learn that you basically cannot die. When you run out of health you're taken to this spirit world where you have to kill these red and blue bird-like creatures to regain your health and spirit. While this is an interesting twist on the run of the mill "die, go to a menu, reload your game" formula of first person shooters it does tend to get irritating after a while. Especially later on in the game. More than once I swore at the game or sending a bunch of the blue spirit birds when I needed the red ones to regain my health. The portals in the game do little to spice up the game play. Also the game is short; you could beat it in a rental.

When all is said and done Prey isn't a bad game, nor is it a great one. When it's good it's good, but sadly that doesn't happen enough in my opinion. This game is really the Matrix Revolutions of video games. All style and no substance. If you can find the game for a relatively cheap price then by all means buy this game, but I personally don't think it's worth the sixty dollar price tag.

Story: 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 6/10
Game play: 6/10
Length: 5/10
Overall: 6.4 out of ten

Art Bell gets a ten out of ten!

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 09/12/06

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